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Curl grubs in pot plant

Budding Contributor

Curl grubs in pot plant

Hi there! I have never had a home or garden until about 6 months ago, and have been delighted by a little cumquat tree I got from bunnings the week we moved in. It went from flowers to an abundance of fruit for its 3 tiny branches - but recently started looking a bit sadder and leaves were spotted with yellow. I decided to repot it (finally) and got some citrus potting mix. 

 

When I took it out of the original pot I discovered 4 fat curl grubs munching away on the roots! I was horrified - but after checking there were no more, continued to put it into the new pot and soil. I later read on google that maybe I should have rinsed the roots to make sure there was none of the 'infected' soil left attached, and discarded the original soil. Is that right?

 

TLDR: Curl worms discovered when repotting - should I chuck the whole lot out now and get new soil?!

Photo on 2-7-20 at 12.48 pm.jpgPhoto on 3-7-20 at 12.07 pm.jpg

 

Would love your help with this! 

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Curl grubs in pot plant

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @EllaCourtney. Many thanks for your question, I'd be happy to assist.

 

It's great to have you join us and I'm sorry to hear about your curl grub issue. I am not aware of any chemical treatment on the market that is tested and suitable for use with food crops. My advice would be, as you have mentioned, to bare root the plant and change the soil out completely. The issue with leaving the soil is that the juvenile stages of larvae can be undetectable. This year Queensland is having a horrible season of curl grub infestations and our suppliers have been having trouble keeping up with the demand for lawn products. 

 

Let me mention the wonderful @Noelle to see if she might have some alternative methods for control to share.

 

Please let me know if you need further assistance or have questions.

 

Mitchell

 

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Super Contributor

Re: Curl grubs in pot plant

Hi @EllaCourtney and @MitchellMc 

 

Because it is a citrus, I would be reluctant to 'bare root' the plant to ensure there are no grubs or eggs remaining around the roots. Citrus have surface fibrous root systems and deeply resent root disturbance. So rather then remove all traces of potting mix from around the roots, I'd try a soil drench of ecoOil or neem oil, both of which can be safely used for the treatment of edible plants. Read the labels for instructions on how much to use per litre or bucket of water, mix it well and pour into the potting mix until excess drains out the base of the pot.

 

The curl grubs possibly found their way originally into the pot through drainage holes - stand the pot up off the ground on pot feet or some bricks to prevent this happening again.

 

The other way they can enter potting mix is if an opened bag of mix has been stored outdoors or on the ground where the grubs or the adults may have access. If you have to keep an opened bag for short period, make sure to put it in a shed and up off the ground and fold the top over securely.

 

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Budding Contributor

Re: Curl grubs in pot plant

Thanks so much @Noelle for this advice (and @MitchellMc for the referral!)  - I ducked up to bunnings this afternoon and got some eco-neem oil, so hoping I'll be able to decipher how to use it tomorrow. On the back it seemed to focus on just spraying the leaves, couldn't see any soil-drench instructions but i'll google it :smile:

 

And great tips on the curl grubs. I felt so invaded when I saw them! Will be doing my best to fend them off from now, cheers!

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Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Curl grubs in pot plant

Hi @EllaCourtney,

 

The product is predominantly used for insects on leaves, so they are concentrating on that for the instructions. @Noelle has given some great advice and I would follow the directions for the drench she has given. I believe she was mentioning the concentrated version of Eco oil which you mix up with water so you can pour it through the potting soil.

 

Mitchell

 

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