Common Lawn Problems and Solutions

Common Lawn Problems cont… Moles and gophers are two of the most troublesome animal pests that can invade a lawn. Gopher tunnels are distinguished from mole tunnels by the crescent-shaped mound of soil around the entrance of a hole. Neither of these animals wants to eat your grass, but the tunnels they use to find food and plow through your yard, definitely detract from its appearance. Gophers Gophers range in length from 6 to 12 inches. They have thick bodies and small eyes and ears. If gophers invade your yard, you’re going to see a small force invasion. One acre can feed and house sixteen to twenty gophers.

Gophers are found from Indiana west to the Pacific Ocean. Gophers push soil out of their holes, creating distinctive fan or crescent shaped mounds on the surface of the ground. After digging a mound, they may close up the entrance of the hole with a soil plug. Their tunnels are about two inches in diameter and follow no pattern. They can be few inches to two feet below the soil and can run significant lengths. The best way to control gophers is to drive the pest away. In order to do that, you must find all the entrances to its tunnel. Tip To identify all the entrances to a gopher hole you will need a lawn mower and a hose. Step 1: Place one end of the hose in the gopher hole, then seal the entrance. Step 2: Place oil in the end of the exhaust to create smoke. Step 3: Place the other end of the hose on the exhaust This will cause smoke to fill the trails, allowing you to see all the entrances. You may also see gophers emerging from these holes. Once all the holes are identified, you can seal them with piles of soil while you continue to blow exhaust from the power mower into the tunnel. This will kill the entire inhabitant with poisonous carbon monoxide fumes. You can also put sulfur into the holes and seal all the entrances. Gophers will also abandoned holes with ammonia soaked sponges. Moles Another common animal pest is the mole. They do not eat plants, but they do eat lots of grubs, beetles, earthworms and other soil dwellers. Although that aspect of the mole is attractive, unfortunately, it damages the root systems in lawns by burrowing close to the surface in its search for food. Moles can also spread disease among the plants and grasses. Moles are found throughout the entire United States. In their search for food, the mole will make an extensive network of tunnels. Believe it or not, only a couple moles probably make all those molehills in your yard.

This is where they differ greatly from the gopher, where you may have dozens. To control and rid your yard of moles, you must first know which lanes in your yard are used as travel lanes. The following describes the best way to make this determination. Tip Determining Travel Lanes for Moles Step One: Mark all molehills in your yard with stones or stakes. Step Two: Gently step on several places in all the hills just enough to disturb the hill, but not crush it. Step Three: Mark all the places that you disturbed the trail with a stone. Step Four: Check the areas again the following day, and every day thereafter to determine which spots you disturbed are restored. This will tell you exactly which lanes are the travel lanes for the mole. Once the lanes are determined, you may begin trapping the moles for eradication. To trap a mole, place a trap only in the travel lanes. You can restore your lawn by using a lawn roller or similar device to flatten the hills back flush with the ground. Dog Urine Another common problem that cannot be controlled by general lawn care and maintenance is the presence of dogs that enter your yard and use it as a restroom. Outside dogs cannot be controlled, but if it’s our own dog, make sure it has a designated place to relieve itself, other than on your neatly manicured lawn.

Female dog urine is especially harmful to lawns. This problem can be distinguished from other diseases and insect invasions in that there will be a large brown spot, surrounded by bright green lawn. Once a dog begins urinating in a particular spot, they’re likely to continue to do so until trained otherwise. If yours or someone else’s dog is urinating on your lawn, killing your grass, the best remedy is to first, take care of the problem, then secondly, water that spot thoroughly to wash away the urine residue. Eventually the grass will rejuvenate itself. If it doesn’t, you may need to reseed the lawn in that area. Repairing Bare Spots in the Lawn Disease , insects , and lack of prior maintenance, as well as many other reasons can cause bare spots on your lawn. Once you have decided to take the steps in maintaining your lawn properly, it is important that you repair any bare spots that remain after the treatments begin.

Also, it may be necessary from time to time to repair bare spots that were created by disease or an invasion of pests. It’s important to repair the bare spots to prevent more damage to your lawn. Your lawn holds soil in place and when grass is not growing, weather and foot traffic will create ruts. These ruts may increase the size of the bare spot. Also, if grass is not growing in an area, weeds will probably thrive there. Weeds are much more adaptable and can thrive in the worst of conditions. Even the conditions that caused that bare spot in the first place. Eventually, the weeds will seed themselves and spread into other areas of your lawn. This will cause you additional work in the long run. An actively growing lawn is your best defense against weeds.