Moles vs. Voles: What They Are and How to Conquer

Posted by nutrilawn

6/4/14 9:19 AM

Do you think you're struggling with rodents in your lawn, but unsure of how to identify them? Moles and voles may have similar names, but the damage they do to your lawn is quite different. Identifying these differences is the first step in combating the problem. Don't be fooled by their fuzzy appearances, either. Moles and voles can do extensive damage to your lawn and mess up your lawn maintenance program. Fixing your mole or vole problem is possible with determination, precautionary steps, and Nutri-Lawn Ottawa lawn care services. Read on for tips from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa to identify the difference between voles and moles, and how to resolve the issue.

Defining moles

Everything about the appearance of moles hints to their subsurface habitat. Their bodies are cylindrical, like small furry submarines. They have paddle-shaped paws at the front for digging, as well as elongated, narrow snouts. Because a mole lives underground, it has little use for hearing and seeing. As such, their eyes and ears are most often entirely invisible because of their blindness. Their hind legs are considerably smaller than their shovel-like paws at the front.

What is mole damage?

Moles may look adorable because of their soft fur, but don't let them trick you into thinking they can't do any damage. Mole damage is both visible and invisible.

The invisible damage comes in the form of deep subterranean tunnels that will damage your grass's root system, and subtracts from all of the TLC you have given to your lawn care services. These are the tunnels through which the moles burrow to find their food – grubs, insects, and so on. While it's nice that these creatures help out with your lawn maintenance in getting rid of grubs, there are easier ways to practice grub control without damaging your lawn.

The visible damages are small mounds around your lawn. These are areas where moles have popped up to the surface of your lawn and brought soil with them.

Defining voles

You may never have heard of voles – at least not by that name. Voles are also known as, and more commonly referred to as, field mice. These little rascals look a lot like mice, but can cause significantly more damage to your lawn. They're a bit chubbier, but with a smaller tail, than other mice.

What is vole damage?

Voles damage your lawn by tunnelling through them, just like moles, except that voles create their tunnels on the surface of your lawn. Throughout the winter, they burrow through your lawn, munching on the grass, and creating deep travel pathways. Once the warm weather hits, your little furry friends will make their way over to taller grass and shrubbery, leaving your lawn with souvenirs from their stay.

Sometimes voles will also feed on your trees. In this case, you'll find damaged bark and chewed up trunks.

How to fix the damage

In the case of vole tunnels, you'll just need a bit of topdressing from Nutri-Lawn Ottawa and some compost to fill in those gaps. You may want to try overseeding if the grass isn't coming back in naturally.

With both voles and moles, you can use traps if you so choose. These can kill the little creatures, though, and can cause quite a nasty job for you to clean up later. There are lawn maintenance techniques that can be used to eliminate moles and voles without killing them.

Keep your grass shorter to provide fewer areas for voles to hide in. Mulch is another habitat for voles, so allow your trees and shrubs a perimeter of 3 feet of mulch-free ground.

It's time to get rid of any areas of shelter for voles. Tall grasses, woodpiles, and other friendly shelters should be removed for best effect. You can make tunnelling difficult and uncomfortable, as well, by adding gravel into your soil.

For moles, use castor oil in your soil, and make sure your soil isn't overwatered. Overwatering creates a soil that is perfectly adapted to digging paws, as it is softer and easier to tunnel through.

Fix your mole or vole damage this year with the help of Nutri-Lawn Ottawa. Receive your complimentary quote on lawn care services today to begin your lawn maintenance program.

Topics: The Grass Expert, Ottawa

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