Written by Ryan Such, President

Voles in my lawn – what do I do?

This is a super common question in the spring after the snow has melted and the damage appears.

The 1st part of this is how to avoid the damage in the first place.  Yes, you can use traps, poison, mow your lawn short in the fall… BUT it is impossible to completely avoid the problem in areas of the country where there is snow cover most of the winter. 

In my opinion, Voles cause (2) types of damage.  The type that will naturally fix itself and the type that will not.

In both scenarios, the dead grass will have to be raked out.  In picture one, the voles have only eaten the top of the grass and the roots are still there.  Also, because the trail is narrow, it will fill in naturally just like grass grows over your sidewalk and needs to be edged https://www.allterrainfargo.com/june2016blog/.  Scenario two will not fix itself.  The damage is too severe and you will want to follow these steps:

  1.  Rake out the dead grass with a plastic rake (dethatching and power raking will also accomplish this step)  https://www.allterrainfargo.com/march2016blog/.   You can also use a blower to blow out dead grass.  In all cases, dead grass should be bagged up and removed.
  2. Dirt and Seed.  Add ¼” of dirt after applying seed to these areas.  Do not apply too much dirt as it will prevent roots from growing into topside grasses.  See our watering blog to explain watering in detail.  Basically, keep it moist for 3-4 weeks.  If you see cracks in the dirt, it is not getting enough moisture where as standing water and soupy dirt is too wet.

OPTION 2 – (Better) Aerate before doing step 2. 

Please do not just throw seed on top of the affected areas.  With no seed to soil contact, you will have little to no germination.  Basically, it is a waste of time and money.

Voles are a pain and you can do somethings to minimize their frontend impact, but sooner or later you will feel their effects.  The good news is the fix is not found in a rocket science book, and will just take some TLC.  Keep in mind that is why All Terrain is here – we take care of the stuff you don’t want to. 

Now, after reading this blog you can’t claim to your spouse you don’t know how to fix it. 

Sorry about that!