OYO: Repairing winter lawn damage

In this week's owning your Outdoors our yard and garden expert, Doug Schroeder from Lewis, has tips for repairing some of the damage your lawn might have received over the long winter.

Vole damage looks like a lightning bolt in your yard.

Voles
If your lawn has little trails that look like a lightning bolt, you likely have voles. Voles are little, root eating rodents that look like mice. The best way to prevent voles from moving into your yard over the winter months is to make your yard less desirable. Voles like moisture, so don't water as much later in the fall. Voles also like tall grass, leaves and debris that can be used as shelter. Be sure to mow your grass short and clean up any leaves or debris before the first snowfall.

If you have voles, there are over the counter vole repellents you can buy. Another quick home remedy is to mix three ounces of castor oil and a tablespoon of dish soap with a half gallon of water. Spray that mixture along the vole trails to get voles to move out.

To repair vole trail damage, rake the trails and apply fertilizer. Fertilizer, sun, a little moisture and time will cure your yard.

Rabbits
Doug says another big problem this year has been damage from rabbits. If you had damage to your shrubs and perennials, simply trim them back. With a little fertilizer, sunshine and time, those plants should bounce back.

Damage from Road Salt
Another problem many are having this year is lawn damage from road salt. Salt draws moisture away from the root system of your grass, leaving brown spots. Doug says the best fix for this problem is to leech or heavily water areas damaged by road salt. For more significant salt damage, apply a light coating of gypsum. Gypsum will break down the salt and the grass should come back. If you do have to reseed, plant fescues and/or perennial ryes. These grasses do better along a street because they can better withstand salt from the road.

pet Damage
Doug says that the process used for repairing road salt damage can also be used for repairing pet damage. Doug says that because animal urine contains a significant amount of nitrogen, you should avoid fertilizing areas that receive heavy animal traffic.