How to Apply Milky Spore Effectively on Plants?

how to apply milky spore
12 min reading time

If you want a natural and safe method for controlling grubs in your lawn, milky spore is an excellent option. However, applying it correctly is crucial to achieve maximum effectiveness. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of how to apply milky spore on plants, from understanding what it is to choosing the right product, calculating the dosage, and timing the application. We’ll also cover how to care for your lawn after the treatment to guarantee long-term results.

Key Takeaways:

  • Applying milky spore is an organic and effective way to control grubs and maintain a pest-free lawn.
  • Proper preparation is essential for the best results, including mowing the lawn, removing thatch, and addressing any existing grub infestations.
  • You can choose between milky spore granules and powders, depending on your specific needs and preferences.
  • Calculating the appropriate dosage based on your lawn size is vital, as well as timing the application to coincide with the grub’s lifecycle.
  • After applying milky spore, maintaining good lawn care practices is essential to maximize its effectiveness and promote long-term results.

Understanding Milky Spore and Its Benefits

If you’re looking for an effective and natural way to control grubs in your lawn, milky spore is an option worth considering. This organic control method targets the larvae of Japanese beetles, June bugs, and other beetles by infecting them with a bacteria called Bacillus popilliae. As the bacteria multiply, it releases a toxin that kills the grub within days.

While chemical pesticides can also kill grubs, they can harm other beneficial insects and pollinators, as well as pose a risk to human health and the environment. Milky spore, on the other hand, is safe for pets, wildlife, and humans.

One of the main advantages of milky spore is its long-lasting effect. After the initial application, the bacteria remain in the soil for up to 15 years, providing a continuous control against grubs.

How to Apply Milky Spore: Milky Spore Application Methods

There are two primary methods for applying milky spore: granules and powder. Granules are usually recommended for larger lawns, while the powder method is more suitable for smaller areas and spot treatments. Both methods are effective, but the granule application tends to be easier and more efficient for most homeowners.

Milky Spore Treatment Process

When applied correctly, milky spore can significantly reduce the grub population in your lawn. However, it’s important to note that it may take several seasons for the full effect to be noticeable. This is because the bacteria need time to spread and establish in the soil.

Additionally, milky spore is not a preventive measure, but rather a curative one. It works best when applied to lawns that already have a grub problem. To maintain a grub-free lawn, it’s recommended to reapply milky spore every 2-3 years.

Overall, milky spore is a safe and effective option for controlling grubs in your lawn. By understanding its benefits and application methods, you can choose the right product and apply it correctly for maximum effectiveness.

Preparing Your Lawn for Milky Spore Application

Before applying milky spore, it is important to prepare your lawn properly to achieve the best results. The following guidelines will help you prepare your lawn for the milky spore application.

Mow your lawn

Mow your lawn to a height of approximately 2 inches before application. This will ensure even distribution of the milky spore product across the lawn.

Remove thatch

Thatch is a layer of dead grass and roots that accumulates on the surface of the soil. This layer can prevent the milky spore granules or powder from reaching the soil and roots where grubs thrive. Therefore, it is important to remove thatch before applying milky spore. You can use a rake or mechanical dethatcher to effectively remove thatch.

Address existing grub infestations

If you have an existing grub infestation, it is recommended that you address it before applying milky spore. This will ensure the treatment is effective in preventing further infestations. You can use chemical or organic methods to control grubs, depending on your preference. Consult with a lawn care professional if you are unsure about the best approach.

Follow product instructions

Always follow the product instructions for milky spore application. This information will help you achieve the best results and avoid over-application or product wastage.

Choosing the Right Milky Spore Product

When it comes to selecting a milky spore product, you have two options: granules and powder. Each form has its pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully.

Milky Spore Spread Techniques:

Granules are usually spread using a drop spreader or a handheld spreader. This type of application is more precise and provides even distribution of the product. It’s also easier to control the amount of granules you apply to each area of your lawn. However, granules need to be watered in thoroughly after application to activate the bacteria.

Powder forms of milky spore are usually spread by hand or with the use of a handheld spreader. This method is less precise, and it’s harder to control the amount of product that’s applied to each area of your lawn. However, the powder form doesn’t require watering in, which makes it more convenient for some homeowners.

Milky Spore Granule Application:

More precise applicationRequires watering in after application
Easy to control amount of product appliedMay be more expensive than powder form

Milky Spore Powder Application:

Doesn’t require watering inLess precise application
More convenient for some homeownersHarder to control amount of product applied

Ultimately, the type of product you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re concerned about precision and cost isn’t a factor, granules may be the best option for you. If you value convenience and don’t mind a slightly less precise application, the powder form may be a better choice.

Calculating the Milky Spore Dosage

Applying the correct amount of milky spore is essential for effective grub control. The dosage you need depends on your lawn size, climate, and the level of grub infestation.

Start by measuring the square footage of your lawn. Most milky spore products come with dosage instructions based on square footage, so having an accurate measurement is crucial.

Next, determine the recommended dosage for your chosen milky spore product. This information can typically be found on the package or on the product’s website. Follow the dosage instructions carefully and avoid over-applying, as this can be a waste of product and money.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the dosage or have a larger lawn, consider consulting with a professional lawn care provider for guidance.

When applying milky spore, it’s important to distribute it evenly across your lawn. Uneven application can lead to uneven grub control, which defeats the purpose of using the product. Use a spreader or shaker to apply the milky spore evenly, following the instructions on the package.

Remember that milky spore takes time to become effective, usually up to two years. The initial application builds up a reservoir of spores that will gradually spread throughout your soil, leading to long-term grub control.

By carefully calculating the milky spore dosage and following the recommended application instructions, you can ensure maximum effectiveness in controlling grubs and promoting a healthy, pest-free lawn.

Timing Milky Spore Application

Timing is critical when it comes to applying milky spore to your lawn. It’s important to apply it at the right time to ensure maximum effectiveness.

The optimal time for milky spore application is in late summer or early fall when the grubs are actively feeding and the soil temperature is above 60°F. This is generally between August and October, depending on your region.

It’s important to avoid applying milky spore too early in the year, as the spores will not be activated until the soil temperature reaches the optimal range. Similarly, applying milky spore too late in the fall may not provide enough time for it to take effect before winter arrives.

Additionally, avoid applying milky spore during periods of heavy rain, as this can wash away the spores and reduce its effectiveness.

By timing your milky spore application correctly, you can ensure that it is most effective in controlling grubs and promoting a pest-free lawn.

Applying Milky Spore to Your Lawn

Now that you have prepared your lawn for milky spore application, it’s time to get started. There are two primary application methods: granules and powder.

  • Granule Application: This method involves spreading the granules evenly across your lawn using a spreader. The ideal time of year for this method of application is late summer or early fall.
  • Powder Application: The powder method involves mixing milky spore powder with water and applying the solution to your lawn using a spray bottle or hose-end sprayer. This method is best for small lawns and spot treatments. It’s important to note that this method should not be used during periods of high wind, as it can be easily blown away.

Regardless of the application method you choose, make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully. Apply the milky spore evenly and avoid clumps or piles.

After applying milky spore to your lawn, water the area thoroughly to help the spores reach their intended destination. The spores will multiply over time and should provide long-term control against grubs.

Remember, it’s important to follow up with proper lawn care practices to maintain the effectiveness of milky spore. This includes regular watering, fertilizing, and mowing at the appropriate height.

Caring for Your Lawn After Milky Spore Application

After applying milky spore, it is essential to follow the instructions carefully to ensure long-term grub control and maintain a healthy lawn. Here are some post-application guidelines to follow:


Water your lawn immediately after applying milky spore to help activate the spores and ensure they reach the soil. Water the area thoroughly, avoiding any pooling or run-off, for at least 30 minutes.


Wait at least a week after applying milky spore before mowing your lawn. This will help the spores establish in the soil. When mowing, keep the grass at a recommended height of 3-4 inches, as longer grass helps to shade and protect the soil, promoting healthy root growth.

Grub Monitoring

After applying milky spore, monitor your lawn for any signs of grub activity, such as brown patches or wilting grass. If you notice any, apply a second dose of milky spore to the affected area. It is also recommended to check for grubs in the soil in the spring and fall to stay on top of any potential infestations.


To promote healthy lawn growth, fertilize your lawn regularly. However, avoid using any fertilizers containing insecticides, as they can harm the beneficial microorganisms, such as milky spore and other natural predators, that help control grub populations.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the effectiveness of milky spore and maintain a beautiful, pest-free lawn.


Controlling grubs and maintaining a healthy lawn doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals. By choosing to use milky spore, you’re opting for a natural and effective solution that’s gentle on the environment and safe for your family and pets.

To ensure you get the most out of your milky spore application, it’s important to follow the steps outlined in this guide. Start by preparing your lawn for the treatment process, selecting the right product, calculating the dosage carefully, and applying at the optimal time of year.


How often should I apply milky spore?

Milky spore is a long-lasting control method for grubs. It is typically applied three times, spaced two to four weeks apart, during the grub season. This ensures maximum effectiveness in controlling the grub population in your lawn.

Can I apply milky spore in the rain?

It is best to apply milky spore when the lawn is dry. Rain can wash away the granules or dilute the powder, reducing its effectiveness. If rain is expected, it’s advisable to wait until the weather clears up before applying milky spore.

Will milky spore harm beneficial insects?

No, milky spore specifically targets grubs, the larvae of Japanese beetles. It does not harm beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. Milky spore is a safe and natural alternative to chemical pesticides.

How long does it take for milky spore to work?

Milky spore takes time to establish and build up in your lawn. It can take one to three years for milky spore to reach its full effectiveness in controlling grubs. However, you may start seeing a decrease in the grub population within the first year of application.

Can I apply milky spore in the winter?

Milky spore is most effective when applied during the active season of grubs. It is recommended to apply milky spore in late summer or early fall, when grubs are actively feeding near the soil surface. Applying milky spore in winter when grubs are dormant may not yield optimal results.

Can I apply milky spore to a small area of my lawn?

Yes, milky spore can be applied to a specific area of your lawn. However, for optimal control of grubs, it is recommended to apply milky spore to the entire lawn, as grubs can move between areas. Applying milky spore uniformly across your lawn ensures a more effective and comprehensive control of grubs.

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