It’s officially spring! In other words, it’s time to start thinking about getting your yard ready for the summer. Proper spring MN lawn care will establish a healthy, thick, beautiful lawn and garden throughout the whole summer.
Now that the snow has finally cleared, did you look out your window and see large sections of dead grass or extensive lawn damage? Or are there patches of bark missing near the base of your small trees and shrubs?
This yard damage is caused by voles. Voles, aka field mice, are small brown rodents that nest in the grass or dig small burrows and tunnels. Throughout the winter, they feast on the roots or stalks of your grass causing dead patches or a series of crisscross trails in your yard. Voles will also make small holes to get to tubers and bulbs or they will leave ¼-inch gnaw marks in the bark of your shrubs.
This past winter was perfect breeding climate for voles, causing lawn damage for many homeowners throughout Minnesota.
Repairing Your Yard After Vole Damage
Restoring your yard involves repairing damage, protecting plants, and making your yard inhospitable to these pests. Contact Rock Solid for a free quote on these lawn care services!
Rake up the dead grass in the patches or trails left by the voles. Then reseed the area and as the new grass grows, it will cover up the trails and patches.
- Tree Guards
Encircle your trees or shrubs with a light colored tree guard that reaches above the snowline in winter. Make sure to embed the guard within the soil to prevent the voles from digging under. As with all tree guards, ensure that the tree or shrub has room to grow within the guard.
- Trapping and Natural Deterrents
At Rock Solid, we don’t recommend poison or pesticides as these are toxic for children and pets. We suggest using traps or repellents. Ensure that any snap traps are hidden from children or pets. Use vole repellents such as Shotgun Deer, Rabbit Repellent, or Fox/Coyote urine around the base of shrubs or near runways or tunnels.
- Minimize Available Nesting Sites
Keep your ground cover, such as creeping junipers or mulch, a safe distance from your trees and shrubs. Elevate wood piles and debris off the ground to eliminate hiding places. Remove bird seed from your feeders or diligently clean-up near the base of your feeder.
Spring Lawn Care Checklist
On top of restoring your yard after vole damage, here are some important maintenance tasks to tackle this spring. Contact Rock Solid for a free quote on these lawn care services!
Thatch is the old, dead debris matted around grass roots. Dethatching after the snow has melted lets air, water and nutrients permeate the soil, and promotes growth. Dethatch by lightly raking the dead patches of grass in your yard to loosen up the debris.
- Apply Pre-emergent Fertilizer
Your grass requires three important nutrients to grow strong and lush: nitrogen, sunlight and water. So, once the snow has melted and before the soil warms up to 55 degrees,, apply pre-emergent fertilizer. A pre-emergent fertilizer contains a herbicide that prevents the growth of crabgrass. Killing the crabgrass before it comes up means that you’re not battling this pesky weed all summer. Re-apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer throughout the spring.
- Mow Early and Often
Make sure your lawnmower is in working order and the blades are sharp to prevent damage to your grass. In the spring, mow at least once per week, keeping your grass 3 to 4.5 inches long. For thicker and fuller lawns, cut only the top third off your grass. Leave the clipping on the grass to be reabsorbed as fertilizer.
Other Spring Yard Care
Once your lawn is cared for, it’s time to apply mulch around your shrubs and plants. Mulch helps minimize the growth of weeds and enables your soil to retain moisture throughout the summer months.
- Planting & Pruning
Hold off on planting until Mid-May, so that your plants are protected from any unwelcome frost. If you have the gardening itch, start your seeds inside. Likewise, refrain from pruning your trees until the summer, otherwise you will stunt your tree growth.
Rock Solid has a free-downloadable calendar that provides tips for year-long lawn care and landscape planning. This guide will help you keep your yard healthy in all seasons.