February 25, 2009
The snow melts and then we get more snow and ice. The snow will melt again and maybe, just maybe, we won’t get any more snow. Garden center people are eternal optimists.
We did have a lot of melting during the past week. As the snow melted off the lawns, a sign of things to deal with started to become apparent. In the areas where the snow was at its thinnest, you might have seen meandering tunnels across the lawn. The fall stayed relatively warm and the snow began early in the winter. The early snow cover insulated the soil and the lawns didn’t freeze to a normal depth. This allowed the moles and voles to tunnel through the soil in search of food. Moles and voles would look like mice to many people. Their main goal in life is to tunnel through soil looking for food. Moles and or voles in your yard may be an indication that grubs are in your lawn. It may also mean that there are other insects that are living in your lawn. It may also mean that the earthworms are active in the soil. No matter what the source of food, as long as the moles and voles are finding food in your lawn, they will keep tunneling through your lawn. The tunneling can lift up the lawn and give the lawn a lumpy consistency. In severe enough cases, the tunneling can destroy the roots of the grass. Destroyed roots usually translate into dead grass.
The question is what you can do to get rid of the moles in your yard. In a yard covered with snow, there isn’t a heck of a lot you can do to get rid of the little critters. Once the snow melts, there are a number of repellents that you can apply to the lawn to drive the moles or voles out of your yard. The most common repellents use castor oil as their base. The castor oil creates a smell that the moles and voles do not like. Some companies also claim that the castor oil causes, shall we say digestive problems. However it may work, you can buy either a spray or granular form of the repellent. As soon as you can safely walk on the lawn without you causing ruts, you can apply the repellent all over the lawn. Some of my customers have told me that applying the repellent to the part of the lawn with the most problems causes the moles to move to another section of lawn. By applying the repellent to additional sections of the lawn, you can eventually drive the moles or voles out of your lawn. This may drive them into your neighbor’s lawn, so be sure to send them in the direction of the neighbor that you like the least!
Moles and voles would appear, at this time, to be a problem waiting to be solved. My advice to you is to keep an eye on your lawn and if the problem is there in the spring, apply a repellent as soon as you can.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.