May long weekend is upon us and the yard has long since expose the ravishes of our Winnipeg winter. Every year I find myself having to patch up my lawn and this year had the added surprise of the racetrack damage from voles.
Highways is a good name for the tracks too, as what other homeowners were seeing on their lawns from the under-snow travel tunnels of voles. Voles are tiny animals, usually found in fields, ditches and newly constructed areas. They’re vegetarians so there is no way they would even look at a grub; what they’re after is the grass itself for food and shelter.
These little guys loved winter 2017 because of the large amount of snow we had. A thick layer of snow is a great place to hide under and stay warm. There’s lots of food, and the snow insulates the tunnels, especially when the voles line the tunnels with dead grass and thatch.
I start by having some good quality grass seed. A mixture of Kentucky Bluegrass with Fine Leaf Fescue is a preferred combination for cold climates and will also grow well in shaded areas.
Next I like to order a load of 4 way mix that can also be used for potting or adding to the garden. Screening is important part of the process when soil companies mix so that you don’t end up with big chunks of topsoil. It helps to actually see and feel the mix to be sure of the quality.
Once I rake or thatch out the dead grass I start the process of mixing the seed into the soil mix. Using a good size wheelbarrow, I will shovel in soil and layer a sprinkling of grass seed as I fill the wheelbarrow to about half or 2/3 full. Using about 6 shovels of dirt to one quart of seed (about a 40-1 mix) I can then turn the mix over with a hoe or the shovel until it turn into a nice even mixture.
Simply spread the mixture at about a ¾” to 1” depth over the patches. I will sometimes walk or run the wheelbarrow over the mix to pack it down. It them becomes a time factor to cover this layer with another ½” to 3/4:” layer of soil mix only over top. This to some extent will keep the birds from eating all the grass seed, and get you to the point where a good rain or watering will get the seeds to germinate. As you can see here , I am all done and hoping for rain today!
Have a Great May Long Weekend!