Backyard Grass

Asked March 1, 2016, 7:12 PM EST

As the snow in my yard has disappeared I notice something was going on with the grass. Can you help identify the problem and recommend a solution from the attached photos? I re-graded the entire backyard in September 2014 to make it more level. This required bring in a lot of dirt from several sources because I needed to raise the level some 24" at the end on my yard. I didn't know at the time but some of the dirt included rocks and junk mixed in. I also installed about 12" to 15" down a drain tile form my roof downspouts across the yard to the end of the property. An in ground sprinkler system was installed, then new grass was Hydro-seeded. Last spring/summer everything looked find! I didn't put down any fertilizer last year since because I am still building a fire pit patio area and vegetable garden area in the yard.

Hennepin County Minnesota lawn and turf

1 Response

Hi, and thanks for contacting AaE!

All of these photos looks like Vole activity. These small, mouse-like critters are vegetarians. They create lots of runways under the snow during the winter.

They can present a problem during gardening season, and they can cause damage to perennial plants over the winter. The lawn will recover, especially if you do some deep raking and possibly spot seeding where grass does not seem to want to come back.

Here is a publication that will tell you more about these illusive creatures (who are actually very common in our area!)
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/wildlife/voles-in-the-landscape/

And, although this publication is from California, the Voles M.O. is the same all around the country, and you can find some good cultural tips in this link:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7439.html

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.