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Reports of a Pitch Invasion at Bootham Crescent

By Richard Adams | 30th April 2021

The Club must report a serious pitch invasion at Bootham Crescent, an invasion that will affect the plans to sell off pieces of turf to supporters as we vacate the ground.

The invaders are the European chafer (Amphimallon majale classified as Rhizotrogus majalis) a beetle of the family Scarabaeidae. The large, white grubs feed on the roots of most cool latitude grasses, both wild and cultivated. This has made the European chafer an enemy of lawns. Larvae are white-coloured and C-shaped, with a yellow-brown head and six jointed legs.

The damage caused by chafer infestation to residential lawns is exacerbated by the fact that its grubs are an attractive food source for local fauna such as crows and foxes, who relentlessly dig up the turf in search of the morsels. Homeowners often find themselves bewildered by the speed and extent of the destruction which may ensue.

European chafer grubs feed most heavily on grass roots from August to November and from March to early May. Even during the winter months, grubs may resume feeding during warm spells. Turf damage caused by grub feeding injury to roots is most severe under drought conditions when water-stressed grass plants cannot grow new roots to replace injured ones. The damage is typically observed when the turf fails to turn green in early spring. In heavily infested areas, entire lawns may turn brown and die during prolonged periods of dry weather in fall or spring. Damage may also occur when crows feed on the grubs.

Many of you who have lawns will be aware of this problem within the city and the suburbs and we cannot allow further infestations.  The club sought advice and guidance regarding chafer grub infestation and with regret has therefore taken the decision to limit any spread of the larvae within the city or to other areas by cancelling their plans to offer ‘For Sale’ pieces of the turf. The damage to the current playing surface created by the grubs and crows and possibly foxes is extensive.

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