Moles and voles don’t hibernate over the winter, they simply dig deeper tunnels to escape the cold. The Minnesota snow cover combined with our tendency to go outside less often in the winter makes their tunnels much harder to see; giving the illusion of hibernation. You can avoid the nasty surprise of tunneled lawns in the spring and prevent winter damage from burrowing pests by taking a few precautionary steps this fall.
Signs of Mole or Vole Damage
Determining which pesty pest is tearing up your lawn will dictate which preventative measures you should take.
- Mole Damage Signs:
- Mole hills: mounds of dirt that mark where a mole excavated dirt.
- Feeding tunnels: long tracks of slightly raised earth.
- Vole Damage Signs:
- Tracks of dead grass: voles will eat some grass roots, and roots from flowers and veggies.
- Small holes in the ground: small holes about an inch across, in your yard, or at the base of shrubs indicate a surfacing vole.
Three Ways to Prevent Mole and Vole Damage During the Winter
- Don’t mulch too early: mulch is a great tool when you’re trying to protect plants from cold weather. Mulch is also, unfortunately, popular with voles. Instead of putting mulch down in early fall, wait until the first frost to apply your mulch. Waiting a little bit may convince an interested vole to set up home somewhere else for the winter.
- Install barriers: common barriers include lining the bottom and sides of your beds with hardware cloth to prevent moles and voles from getting in from the ground.
- Apply repellents: Applying an effective mole and vole repellent is a safe and reliable way to prevent winter damage. You can find repellents at your local lawn and garden center. Cedar oil is also another option to drive harmful bugs away from your lawn in addition to controlling the moles and vole’s food source.
We hope these tips will help protect your lawn this winter but if spring appears and you find your grass damaged from moles or voles, reach out to B&B Hoffman sod for low-maintenance kentucky bluegrass that is resistant to disease! Whether you need to replace a small section of grass or your whole lawn, we can help!