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Pickelfarmer

Dead spots in lawn?

12 posts in this topic

Late last summer I began seeing dead spots in the back yard. I watered these spots but for some reason they just didn't come back and they died. The funny thing is I noticed a bunch of small holes all over the dead area. The holes were about the size of my index finger and about as deep as my finger???? They were all over. Someone told me that it might be skunks digging?? Anyway I noticed that once these holes started the dead spots got bigger and bigger no matter what I did. Any thaughts as to what I need to do this spring to get my lawn back to normal?? Thanks in advance for any help you may have.

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I've read that if you have a problem with moles, skunks, etc. digging, it's because they are looking for grubs in the soil.

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I've read that if you have a problem with moles, skunks, etc. digging, it's because they are looking for grubs in the soil.

How do I get rid of them? Is it the skunks that killed the lawn or the grubs that the skunks are after that killed it? Or are the skunks and grubs just a side affect of a dead patch in the lawn?

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I'm no lawn expert, but I believe the damage your describing is caused by "voles". They burrow under the snow and do tremendous damage come spring. I had a problem with them about 5 years ago and not again since. The grass took about 2 years to come back to normal in the affected areas because they actually eat the root structure beneath the surface.

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Its the critters after the grubs killing the lawn.

In the spring you can get a granular that will kill the grubs at any garden center. You use the fertiliser spreader to spread it.

Be warned if you have a yard you like to pick nightcrawlers out of you wont after this.

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Well I might have a solution for you. Any chance this damage is being done near a bird feeder? Due to dropping seeds (and decaying seeds and shells) this is often a haven for voles, field mice, skunks, and, possums. This far north we really don't have too many issues with grubs, they are down there, but usually not concentrated enough where voles would want to repeatedly same in the same spot. But if there are small holes than it is probably voles. Often you can see them during the daytime on a warm day. Like dellfin said they indeed are in the ground seeking grubs (at this time of year) or in the summer earthworms, centipedes, etc. To quickly get your grass growing again in this location, you have several things you will need to do. First you want to get rid of the voles, this can be done through either repellent or through a mouse trap. If the disturbed area is under 5 sq ft, than it is probably just one or two voles. A mouse trap with some peanut butter will do the trick. I haven't had much success getting rid of voles through poisons, they just won't touch it. Or your local hardware store or garden center will have a varmint repellent. Second, once the snow cover is gone in the early spring take a hard tined rake and really scrape the dead grass out of there (this area of dead grass can lead to mildew problems that could spread later in the year) get down a few inches and work up the soil. Then around the 1st of May put down some good topsoil to level the area with the rest of the lawn (if needed), then sprinkle some grass seed on the topsoil and gently rake it in.

It would be my advice to just do it this way, the grass will probably come back slowly over the next few years, but a quick solution would be the above. As for the voles returning, I really haven't had problems with that, they seem to go through my lawn in waves, I haven't had problems the last few years, but a couple years ago I had several spots where they had dug in! Good Luck

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"VOLES"??? Do they have a long nose and are they about the size of a feild mouse? If thats the case then I'm screwed. I got alot of those things around my house.I've always called them shrews?? I'm not sure I can trap them all and if poison doesn't work I'm not sure what I can do.Thanks for the help guys I think you have figured out my problem. Now if I can just get rid of them darn Voles (shrews)? It would be good!!!!!!

Thank you kstruck and every one else for your advise with the regrowing of my grass. I guess its just going to take a little elbow greese to get it back to good.

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Shrews, voles, whatever they're called, we are definitely talking about the same thing. They might be a little smaller than a field mouse, but they have the dark coat, small beady eyes, and the long snout.

You wouldn't happen to have a couple cats around would you? My cats wouldn't hassle them, but then I brought one of the cats over to their holes and made him sniff the ground, that got his attention. And that might be why I haven't had any problems since. On pure coincidence one of the cats had got a vole this morning and put into on the front stoop!

If you think there are too many to trap than I would suggest the repellent or poison. But then again if you have cats you don't want the cats eating the poisoned critters.

Best of luck, and this problem is pretty easily solved, we know that you aren't dealing with any disease problems which can be much harder to control!

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To you lawn care gurus out there, what do you recemmend to do to repair the damage that these little bassterds cause? And when should I be doing this? Whould I remove the dead grass right now?

They got my lawn pretty good this year in areas under the snow drifts.

Also, where did they go? My problem is that I have a creek in my back yard so they have vcover near there giving them a nice haven to live in, but are they still in my lawn?

Thank you,

Coach Dog

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I would just lightly rake up the dead grass, mix some seed with some soil and spread out over the bare spots. The seed won't start growing until it warms up but it won't hurt to have it down early.

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But would it do harm to start this process now? Or should I stay off that area for awhile yet?

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You're going to do more harm than good with any raking for another month, if you rake anything other than the dead grass.

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    • New World Order

    • 6 hours ago, Uncle Bill said:

      Where you get that B.S. from ?

      Bush signs North American trade pact Clinton says he won't renegotiate

      December 18, 1992|By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite | Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,Washington Bureau

      WASHINGTON -- President Bush signed the North American Free Trade Agreement yesterday, and his successor-in-waiting Bill Clinton immediately announced that he would not seek the treaty's renegotiation.

      Mr. Clinton, in a statement issued in Little Rock, Ark., said the signing represented "an important step" toward the economic integration of North America. He repeated his campaign assertion that there would have to be new job and environmental protections, and safeguards against sudden trade "surges," but these could be settled without renegotiating the treaty with Mexico and Canada before he submitted implementing legislation.

      "I will pursue those other things that I think need to be done in the public interest, then I will prepare implementing legislation and try to pass it in Congress," he said.

      pixel.gif
      pixel.gif

      His new administration would also take domestic action on assisting workers, protecting the U.S. environment, helping farmers, encouraging public participation in consideration of the agreement and closing loopholes for foreign workers, he said.

      "I believe these steps do not require renegotiation of NAFTA," said Mr. Clinton, promising to work closely with the two neighboring governments and with congress to "move this process forward."

      By putting his name to the pact that will open the borders of the United States, Mexico and Canada to a market of 360 million consumers with a joint annual output worth $8 trillion, Mr. Bush took some of the heat from the agreement's critics off the president-elect.

      "I think probably Bill Clinton is relieved that Bush signed it today," said Thea Lee, trade expert at the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute. "Clinton is on record as saying he does not want to renegotiate the basic agreement. Now Bush has tied that up for him but has left him quite a bit of room for maneuver in drafting implementation legislation."

       

      Quote

      Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1990 among the three nations, U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed the agreement in their respective capitals on December 17, 1992.[5] The signed agreement then needed to be ratified by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch.

       

      5 hours ago, delcecchi said:

      Just for reference, Clinton was elected in 1992 and took office in January 1993. 

       

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    • I'm saying be more aware then the average "well my doc says" person. Also educate yourself on the human body a little bit. Not saying that you can cure cancer but going to a doctor and walking out with a bottle of pills isn't always in your best interest. 

      I'm glad you know surgery will fix things and not create additional issues, cause severing tissue never has a backlash.

      Insinuate much though, wow.

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    • You take a trip to the city lights
      And take the long way home

      Last week’s torrential rains provided a real test for the scurs and the Weather Eye. Will our break come soon or will we continue breaking records? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the low 50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, partly sunny with modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm.  Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny becoming mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. The normal high for October 1st is 67 and the normal low is 43. Now that the flood waters have subsided, they will be confined to swimming in their own backyard.

      What a weather week last week turned out to be. Early harvest activity came to a screeching halt as heavy rains raked the area in the overnight hours of the 21st and 22nd. At the ranch the storm total was 5.42” although .35” had fallen the day prior. Another .55” followed over the weekend. In town it was even more generous with 7.91” of rain falling on the 21st and 22nd, being supplemented with another .47” over the weekend. It’s just wet all over as of this writing and while sunny, breezy, low humidity conditions prevailed on Monday, the temperatures only reached the mid-60’s after starting out in the in mid-40’s. Not a rapid drying day although at least it wasn’t raining. Some crop remains in standing water after everyone had been banking on no holes in fields due to a near storybook growing season in terms of rainfall locally. There will be some loss in those areas due to crop unable to be recovered mechanically and perhaps some damage to the grain itself.

      The rains probably left their most noticeable mark in area towns where flooding caused road closures, evacuations as well as business and school closures. It became extremely difficult to get around with all the road closures with the flooding of 2010 already being a distant memory. As it turned out, we were more fortunate this time around. Rainfall in the eastern part of the Le Sueur River watershed was less than it was in 2010 allowing waters to recede perhaps a little more quickly. Some were quick to point that it was drier in 2010 so this episode should’ve been worse. However, when it rains with the kind of intensity that it did in either event, the water isn’t going to infiltrate these soils very rapidly. If anything this time the already full soil moisture profile in the top 5’probably allowed surface runoff to occur at even a little more rapid pace than in 2010.

      After the storm at the ranch there was some debris to pick up in the yard but not to the degree those in town had to deal with. That said, it was time to attempt to fish the vine crops in the garden out of the mud before they started to rot. It was extremely wet to say the least. The Gator left some nasty ruts but at least the gourds, squash and a few pumpkins were salvaged. Most of the Indian corn also made it into some buckets so fall decorating can commence once and for all. Be nice if it dried up before attempting to harvest corn stalks for the corn shock. Getting stuck harvesting the garden would be a little embarrassing.

      The sheep have made some contribution to the decorating cause as well. The leftover gourds, squash, pumpkins, etc., from the year before find their way over the pasture fence. Some of the seeds in turn manage to make their way into the soil. The vines then became huge this summer with all the rain and warmth. The sheep do a good job of keeping the stuff weeded. Only trouble with the sheep is if there’s something out there you might want to use for decorating, best claim it before they decide it’s time to start eating it. It’s too late when you look out at the vines and it suddenly looks like a stampeding herd of elephants has trampled them.

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      See you next week…real good then.  



  • Posts

    • Bush signs North American trade pact Clinton says he won't renegotiate December 18, 1992|By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite | Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,Washington Bureau WASHINGTON -- President Bush signed the North American Free Trade Agreement yesterday, and his successor-in-waiting Bill Clinton immediately announced that he would not seek the treaty's renegotiation. Mr. Clinton, in a statement issued in Little Rock, Ark., said the signing represented "an important step" toward the economic integration of North America. He repeated his campaign assertion that there would have to be new job and environmental protections, and safeguards against sudden trade "surges," but these could be settled without renegotiating the treaty with Mexico and Canada before he submitted implementing legislation. "I will pursue those other things that I think need to be done in the public interest, then I will prepare implementing legislation and try to pass it in Congress," he said. His new administration would also take domestic action on assisting workers, protecting the U.S. environment, helping farmers, encouraging public participation in consideration of the agreement and closing loopholes for foreign workers, he said. "I believe these steps do not require renegotiation of NAFTA," said Mr. Clinton, promising to work closely with the two neighboring governments and with congress to "move this process forward." By putting his name to the pact that will open the borders of the United States, Mexico and Canada to a market of 360 million consumers with a joint annual output worth $8 trillion, Mr. Bush took some of the heat from the agreement's critics off the president-elect. "I think probably Bill Clinton is relieved that Bush signed it today," said Thea Lee, trade expert at the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute. "Clinton is on record as saying he does not want to renegotiate the basic agreement. Now Bush has tied that up for him but has left him quite a bit of room for maneuver in drafting implementation legislation."      
    • I'm saying be more aware then the average "well my doc says" person. Also educate yourself on the human body a little bit. Not saying that you can cure cancer but going to a doctor and walking out with a bottle of pills isn't always in your best interest.  I'm glad you know surgery will fix things and not create additional issues, cause severing tissue never has a backlash. Insinuate much though, wow.
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    • You take a trip to the city lights
      And take the long way home Last week’s torrential rains provided a real test for the scurs and the Weather Eye. Will our break come soon or will we continue breaking records? Starting Wednesday, sunny with highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s. Thursday, mostly sunny with highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Mostly sunny Friday with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the upper 40’s. Saturday, mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the low 50’s. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a slight chance of an evening shower or thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, partly sunny with modest chance of a shower or thunderstorm.  Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. Partly sunny becoming mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. The normal high for October 1st is 67 and the normal low is 43. Now that the flood waters have subsided, they will be confined to swimming in their own backyard. What a weather week last week turned out to be. Early harvest activity came to a screeching halt as heavy rains raked the area in the overnight hours of the 21st and 22nd. At the ranch the storm total was 5.42” although .35” had fallen the day prior. Another .55” followed over the weekend. In town it was even more generous with 7.91” of rain falling on the 21st and 22nd, being supplemented with another .47” over the weekend. It’s just wet all over as of this writing and while sunny, breezy, low humidity conditions prevailed on Monday, the temperatures only reached the mid-60’s after starting out in the in mid-40’s. Not a rapid drying day although at least it wasn’t raining. Some crop remains in standing water after everyone had been banking on no holes in fields due to a near storybook growing season in terms of rainfall locally. There will be some loss in those areas due to crop unable to be recovered mechanically and perhaps some damage to the grain itself. The rains probably left their most noticeable mark in area towns where flooding caused road closures, evacuations as well as business and school closures. It became extremely difficult to get around with all the road closures with the flooding of 2010 already being a distant memory. As it turned out, we were more fortunate this time around. Rainfall in the eastern part of the Le Sueur River watershed was less than it was in 2010 allowing waters to recede perhaps a little more quickly. Some were quick to point that it was drier in 2010 so this episode should’ve been worse. However, when it rains with the kind of intensity that it did in either event, the water isn’t going to infiltrate these soils very rapidly. If anything this time the already full soil moisture profile in the top 5’probably allowed surface runoff to occur at even a little more rapid pace than in 2010. After the storm at the ranch there was some debris to pick up in the yard but not to the degree those in town had to deal with. That said, it was time to attempt to fish the vine crops in the garden out of the mud before they started to rot. It was extremely wet to say the least. The Gator left some nasty ruts but at least the gourds, squash and a few pumpkins were salvaged. Most of the Indian corn also made it into some buckets so fall decorating can commence once and for all. Be nice if it dried up before attempting to harvest corn stalks for the corn shock. Getting stuck harvesting the garden would be a little embarrassing. The sheep have made some contribution to the decorating cause as well. The leftover gourds, squash, pumpkins, etc., from the year before find their way over the pasture fence. Some of the seeds in turn manage to make their way into the soil. The vines then became huge this summer with all the rain and warmth. The sheep do a good job of keeping the stuff weeded. Only trouble with the sheep is if there’s something out there you might want to use for decorating, best claim it before they decide it’s time to start eating it. It’s too late when you look out at the vines and it suddenly looks like a stampeding herd of elephants has trampled them. Alas it appears we may have seen the last of the hummingbirds at the ranch for the year as of the 21st. They apparently were getting out while the getting was good ahead of the storm. They’ve suddenly been replaced by the marauding group of giant blue jays that shows up in the fall. There were eight of them hopping from limb to limb, making them bend downward with each movement they made. The jays gobbled down the ear corn and greedily helped themselves to the sunflower seeds. For the time being the goldfinches are back to being their nomadic selves again. Just a smattering of them now versus a few weeks ago. In all likelihood, there is an abundance of seed that should be ripe in the CRP so that’s probably where some of them are spending their time. And finally, fall along with the wet weather has caused some of the four-footed critters to start moving about looking for places to hole up for winter. On Sunday morning we smelled strong skunk odor in the barn when we did chores. Then after playing in the Studebaker much of the day, upon our return Mrs. Cheviot came to the house with news that a skunk was sleeping under the trailer. I quickly loaded my trusty blunderbuss and trod barn-wards to do battle with the stinky striped squatter. Found it in a good spot where it was easy to dispatch and then dispose of the body. One thing about it, if you’re a skunk, raccoon or a possum, odds of your living to a ripe old age are pretty slim at the ranch. See you next week…real good then.  
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