Your Minnesota lawn isn’t looking the way it did in the fall due to springtime issues? Continue reading to learn what might be happening.
The temperature is rising, the snow is melting, and your lawn is beginning to emerge. Regrettably, many people no longer enjoy the sight of that lovely, lush lawn they recall from the fall. Voles, dog damage, and snow mold all become quite noticeable once the snow melts throughout that once-beautiful lawn. It’s no accident that as soon as this occurs, calls from current customers asking what the heck is going on start to come in. Do not worry; the majority of these problems are merely cosmetic and won’t need any assistance to recover.
As soon as the snow melts, a cool-season fungus called snow mold grows and primarily harms cool-season grasses (like our MN grass). The two primary kinds that have an impact on us are gray and pink snow mold. This two share a lot of the same qualities. The lawn has various gray or pink spots that, when viewed up close, resemble spider webs.
Gray Snow mold will typically disappear as quickly as it came once everything has dried down fully, causing little actual harm to the lawn. On the other hand, pink snow mold, which affects the crown of the grass plant, will also go away soon but may harm the turf.
What is attainable?
Cultural techniques used in the fall can be beneficial; because long grass, leaves, and other detritus are breeding grounds for disease, it’s crucial to get the lawn ready for the winter.
1. When you mow the lawn for the last time, cut it shorter than usual—say, 2.5″ tall.
2. Before the snow falls, make sure to clear the lawn of all leaf litter. Snow mold is a major worry when it comes to matted down leaves. Usually, I advise burying leaves until you can no longer see them. But, there are occasions when bagging is necessary, particularly if you have a tree with thick leaves, like a Bur Oak.
Fungicides While there are fungicides that can aid in the fall, there are virtually no fungicides that can stop it after it has started. That said, since it is typically a cosmetic issue, I wouldn’t advise using these.
The main goal is to aid in the drying out of your lawn. These regions will receive more airflow if you softly rake them, which will speed up the drying process. The lawn should only be lightly raked; otherwise, you risk damaging it.
It’s not simply snow mold that can develop if there is a particularly thick layer of thatch between the grass roots and shoots. Dethatching the lawn is something I would advise if the thatch layer is greater than 34″. Please be aware that very few lawns actually require this.
They are referred to as VOLES, not MOLES!
They are referred to as VOLES, not MOLES!
Vole Damage to Lawn
In the spring, vole damage is frequently the most serious problem. Moreover, it frequently gets mistaken for a mole. In the winter, voles—small rodents that resemble mice in appearance—feed on grass blades and tubers. It’s crucial to remember that voles rarely harm the lawn in a way that requires repair. They occasionally consume the roots or tubers of flowers and other landscaping plants, but they mostly merely consume the grass shoots. It’s crucial to understand this! The lawn has little, grey, lifeless-looking runs all over it as a result of their devastation. Moreover, there will be dead grass on the runs and in piles.
Your lawn will probably recover just fine once it begins growing again as they only eat the grass shoots!
Mole versus vole
One typical error is to assume that moles are to blame for this harm. The fact that moles tunnel through the turf and leave voids rather than actively eating it is a key distinction between the two. You can clearly see this because when you step on them, they crumble. Moreover, their activity is not very noticeable in the spring. Throughout the growing season, mole damage is frequently seen. On the other hand, voles primarily cause damage over the winter, so you’ll notice the damage in the spring.
What is attainable?
Cultural customs are really beneficial once more. Prior to the first snowfall, shorten the lawn’s cut by two to 2.5 inches to lessen vole attraction. Your property won’t have as much grass for them to nest with or consume, making it undesirable for them to stay there.
Please. Please. Please! Using insecticides to control voles is not recommended. Voles often do not inflict long-lasting harm, and grass is their primary food source. So what makes someone advise using an insecticide? Most frequently, it’s because they mistake moles for voles. Because moles frequently eat insects like grubs, applying a pesticide is frequently advised when someone has a mole problem. That still isn’t a good advice. Using insecticide is not advised until you have really discovered grubs. Just a Small portion of a mole’s diet consists of grubs, and many of the other things they consume, including earthworms, won’t be affected by an insecticide.
Indeed, when the snow melts and you have vole damage, it looks awful, but it only lasts a short while. The dead grass can probably be raked up, but that’s about all I would suggest. If it helps, you can spread some fresh soil and seed, but by the time it germinates and flourishes, your current lawn will be beginning to recover.
This one is certainly quite evident if you own a dog. In addition to the springtime duty of cleaning up after Fido, there are a ton of sizable yellow spots lurking just beneath the snow. This is because your closest friend urinated throughout the winter. Before anything starts melting, all of it accumulates in the snow, which then gives the lawn a great dosage of it. In terms of how they harm lawns, urine burns and fertilizer burns are actually extremely similar; frequently, the damage is irreparable.
How can you help?
The quality of your lawn and the type of grass you have greatly influence this. In addition to the enormous gifts my 100 pound Malamute leaves behind, springtime brings a lot of urine damage. Fortunately, I have a remarkably robust lawn with plenty of Kentucky bluegrass. After approximately a month, the lawn looks as good as new because the bluegrass will gradually fill in.
Some folks are not as fortunate, and it might not entirely fill in. In these situations, reseeding might be a wise decision. The ideal way to do this is to first softly rake the dead grass out, topdress with some quality seeding soil, and then scatter some seed. Use seed that is very good quality (expensive), fits the sort of grass you currently have, and be sure to rake it in. Three words: water. It will rapidly begin to germinate and fill in.
Previous Grub Damage
This one requires a skilled eye or a watchful homeowner to diagnose. In comparison to previous years, the previous year (2022) wasn’t too horrible for grubs. But they never stop munching on lawns all across the Minneapolis region. You may see some dead areas in your lawn in the late summer, which is when grub damage typically begins. Your lawn should typically wake up around the start of September, and everything should be lush and green. These lifeless areas persist throughout the fall and even get worse.
No issues, right? After the winter, everything will look nice. Wrong. If it’s grubs, you’ll essentially have a giant bare patch that will get worse the next spring.
A skilled eye can assist in diagnosis in this situation. When the lawns emerge from dormancy and the grubs return to the surface to feed on the turf roots, only then can you check for them. Peel back where the dead meets the growing and check once the grass has begun to grow good. When we notice bare places, if you use our service, we do check for these. But, we are only on the property for a short time when grub activity is occurring, so it’s crucial for homeowners to exercise caution when they notice bare patches deteriorating, particularly in the late summer.
What to do?
Two actions should be taken if grubs are discovered: insecticide and reseeding.
In the event that you discover these and their damage in your grass, you should definitely acquire a spring grub control. Although I’m not a huge fan of fungicides and insecticides, grubs can really mess with your lawn. When utilizing a season-long control, like the one we employ, spring grub controls have by far the highest success rates. It won’t eliminate what is already present, but it won’t let the following batch of June Bug or Jap through. In July or August, beetle larvae will transform into grubs. It is a waste of resources to try to destroy an overwintered grub using chemicals. As before. Spending money trying to eradicate what is present in the Spring is a waste. Instead, be sure to purchase a product that will last the whole of the season. Generally speaking, these grub controls are the priciest, but they also perform the best.
When grub damage is discovered after the snow melts, I advise folks to reseed to cover up those exposed spots. Such spaces are typically rather large and would take a very long time to fill in naturally. Rake the barren spots to make the soil more pliable before adding a small amount of seeding dirt (approximately 1/2′′). Finally, use the rake to lightly bury some very high quality seed that has been placed into that new soil.
The new seed, though, won’t those grubs merely eat? Nope. The grubs will have evolved into Japanese by the time that new seed has a strong enough root system. Beetles or June bugs, so there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.