Mole Damage during a Michigan Winter

Mole-in-snow

A common myth among home owners is that moles hibernate during winter.  Unfortunately, moles are active even throughout the colder months.  Here’s what you can do to control them.

Moles are one of the most common lawn pests in West Michigan.  Although one might assume they hibernate over the winter, they typically just bury deeper down in search of food during the colder months.  As we encounter brief thaws between snow accumulations, you might notice indications of mole damage (hyperlink “indications of mole damage” to: https://www.aaalawncare.com/blog/spring-time-moles ).  Your first instinct will probably be to address the issue immediately.  However, the most effective mole treatments (including the bait AAA Lawn Care uses) are not much use until the ground thaws.

So, what can you do?  Once the weather warms up and the ground thaws, flatten out the mole runs and mounds throughout the lawn.  This is an important step, because that damage could have been from the late fall or early winter (and the moles may have since moved on).  If new damage appears after the initial mounds were flattened, it may be time to invest in a solution.  AAA Lawn Care’s mole control program is guaranteed to get rid of your lawn moles.  Our program runs all the way through the end of the year and includes any additional visits for new moles at no additional charge. 

If you would like to know more about this program, please call (888) 374-7336 to speak with a AAA Lawn Care representative. 

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How to deal with vole damage on your Grand Rapids lawn

How to deal with vole damage on your Grand Rapids lawn

Spring has arrived!  For AAA Lawn Care that means more calls about vole damage in Grand Rapids lawns. 

Voles, often called field mice, are small rodents that resemble a mouse but a stouter and shorter.  They are plant-eaters that primarily feed on grass and perennial-flower roots.  Vole damage looks like little trails or surface tunnels that are lined with dead grass.  Voles create these tunnel systems under the blanket of snow throughout the winter. As the snow melts, their little kingdoms become uncovered.  However, damage will disappear as soil temperatures rise and your lawn starts to grow again. The voles will always be there, but you will have a harder time seeing evidence of them.

A good rule of thumb in dealing with Spring vole damage is to rake up the dead grass and, if needed, throw down some grass seed.  Rarely is the damage so severe that you would have to do lawn restoration.  All-in-all, just be patient and your lawn will recover!  Voles will always be running around in your lawn but a lush, healthy stand of grass does a good job of hiding vole trails.   

If you are not sure if voles or another critter is damaging your lawn, you may want to check out our Voles vs. Moles blog post.  Please also feel free to call AAA Lawn Care at (888) 374-7336 and your lawn technician will be happy to assess your lawn.

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Thirteen-lined ground squirrels lawn damage.

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels lawn damage.

One of the most destructive critters we see in West Michigan lawns are Thirteen-lined ground squirrels. These squirrels can cause structural damage due to tunnels under patios, stairs, and foundations. However, their burrows are the most common type of lawn damage caused by Thirteen-lined ground squirrels.  These burrows are unsightly and can cause injury if you happen to step into one.  They also damage gardens and landscaped areas when they consume seeds, flower bulbs, and young plants.  

Identifying Ground Squirrels

Although often referred to as chipmunks, these creatures are actually burrow-dwelling squirrels.  They are small, weighing only a few ounces and measuring about six to twelve inches long. 13 lined ground squirrels get their name from their tell-tale thirteen alternating brown and whitish longitudinal lines and spots on its back and sides.  

Ground Squirrel Activity

Ground squirrels are active during the daytime, especially in early morning and late afternoon.  They prefer to burrow near covered areas, such as stumps, buildings, and brush piles.   Their tunnels are usually about two inches in diameter and will not have any dirt mounds nearby, as they move dirt to minimize the risk of predators finding them.  The main tunnels are typically 20 to 30 feet long and include a number of chambers and smaller, additional tunnels. 

How to Control Damage

You can minimize the chance of damage from ground squirrels by making your property less desirable to them.  First, make sure your home is properly caulked and sealed to minimizes areas where they could get in.  In gardens, you may consider covering seeds and bulbs with hardware cloth.  It is also a good idea to reduce the amount of ground cover (such as shrubs and wood piles) near the home and affected areas, as ground squirrels prefer those areas.   If problems and damage persist, you may consider trapping or baiting as a method of elimination.

Are you unsure whether or not you have damage due to ground squirrels?  Although AAA Lawn Care does not offer a service for this critter, we are happy to give you recommendations.  Call us at (888) 374-7336 and we will be happy to have your lawn technician assess your lawn

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Spring Time Moles

Spring Time Moles

If you want to make your lawn a "No Mole Zone", AAA Lawn Care has the solution for you!

We at AAA Lawn Care are already hearing a lot about mole activity, largely due to the mild winter we had.  You can easily identify mole activity if you have piles or “volcanoes” of soil on the surface (caused by star-nosed moles) or raised lawn from tunnels just under the surface (caused by eastern moles).  AAA Lawn Care offers a great mole control program that utilizes the only mole bait proven to kill both types of moles.  This bait resembles an earthworm, which makes up moles’ primary diet.  Our program includes two initial visits during which we bait active mole runs with that look alike worm.  After that, we will come back as needed to reapply the bait at no additional charge.  Another great benefit of AAA Lawn Care’s mole control program is that it is guaranteed all the way through December 31st!  If you would like more information about this program, please call us at (888) 374-7336.

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Voles vs. Moles – Which One Is Damaging My Lawn?

Voles and moles are two of the most destructive creatures to lawns this time of year in West Michigan.  Although they have similar sounding names, they are quite different animals.  Voles are very mouse-like in appearance, small and reddish to dark brown in color.  And, similar to mice, they can reproduce and colonize rather quickly.  Moles, on the other hand, are known for their long noses and long, webbed front feet which help them tunnel quickly.  They are typically six to seven inches long and gray to dark brown in color. 

Voles and moles also cause very different types damage to lawns due to their different appetites.  Voles are plant-eaters who primarily feed on grass and perennial flower roots.  They will also munch on seeds, bulbs, and even bark.  This activity leads to surface pathways that lead from one hole to another.  Damage is especially apparent after the snow melts, as the voles will be active under the snow and on top of the land.  Moles, on the other hand, are insectivores with a primary diet of earthworms.  They will also occasionally much on grubs and insects when they come across them.  The damage they cause is due to tunneling around the lawn in search of more worms. 

The most commonly used method for eradicating voles is snap-traps or poison, both of which are often marketed for mice.  Other prefer more natural approaches to control vole activity, such as planting trees to encourage predators (like hawks and owls) or adopting an outdoor cat.  Killing moles is also typically regarded as the most effective lawn-term control.  Others prefer to trap and relocate them elsewhere. 

Once you have your mole or vole activity under control, it’s time to repair any lawn damage they caused.  Fortunately, lawns can typically recover pretty quickly on their own after this type of damage and rarely require reseeding.  After the snow melts and the lawn starts to grow, you should see grass growth in the areas where voles made their pathways.   Similarly, as it starts to warm up, you can spread dirt piles and push down runs caused by moles and the grass should simply grow like normal.  This also makes it easier to later identify new, active mole runs so you can control the activity.   If you have any questions, your AAA Lawn Care technician will be happy to give you recommendations, as well.

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Vole Tunnels

We starting to get some phone calls about little tunnels running across people's lawns. In some cases, these tunnels are pretty extensive and look terrible.

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Vole Damage Revisited

We have already had a number of questions from customers about lawn damage from voles. Here in West Michigan, February was a heavy snow month and the snow is just starting to melt away. This heavy snow cover tends to enhance damage from voles (field mice).

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Vole Damage


This is typical vole damage seen in the Spring after
the snow has melted away.

It is very common for us to receive calls from concerned homeowners about vole damage this time of year.

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Mole Control Program

There seems to be a lot of mole activity this year. Mostly due to the mild winter. If you want to make your lawn a "No Mole Zone", call our office and request an estimate. Our mole control program works great!

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Mole Control Service

Moles are busy right now.  If you have a mole ripping up your lawn right now, consider our mole control service.  Sign up now and receive free service calls through the end of the 2012 season!

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AAA Lawn Care14202 Ironwood Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
616-677-4000