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speedster1 03-12-2010 05:40 PM

First time ever taking care of a lawn. What do I need to do?
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I bought my first house in December and with spring quickly approahing I want to get a jump on the lawn. I love the look of freshly manucured lush green grass. Right now mine looks like crap. I have a couple of issues.

1) There appears to be mole damage all over the yard. How can I get rid of moles? They are tearing the crap out of my yard.

2) There are a few pine trees that have a "mat" of dried needles underneigh them. I'd like to have them cut down. But in the mean time I'll have to make due.

3) The current grass itself just looks bad. Like it might be a mixture of several different grass blends. Admittedly it's kind of hard to tell right now since the snow just thawed.

What should I be doing right now to make this lawn as nice as possible come spring. Weed and feed? Lime? etc? There are several bushes around the house that I have no idea what they are. I may tear out some of them where I'm not happy with placement. ANd I plan on making a small corner garden to grow tomatos and peppers. I may also try planting a few blueberry bushes.

Bob Mariani 03-12-2010 05:55 PM

in early spring (now) apply fertilizer with a preemergent weed killer. This will kill the weed seeds getting ready to sprout. Apply lightly. Next month rent a thatcher and remove all the dead grass. Then rent an areator to make plugs in the lawn to allow the fertilizer to get deeper into the ground and allow air to get into the deeper roots. after board leaf weeds just start showing up apply a boadleaf weed killer. Add lime if needed. Now is the time to send dirt samples to your local agency to have the soil tested. This is the only correct way to select the correct fertilizers.

Scuba_Dave 03-12-2010 06:34 PM

Where are you located ?
I use the Spring fertilizer w/halts like Bob said
I've used it on the front & one side
These 2 sides VS the back & other side are like night & day

I also use grub treatment...this after skunk ripped up an 8x10 area out front
I also have a 2nd bag that I use in late Spring
I haven't used a Summer or Winter fertilizer yet

I also use a prong to manually pull weeds
We only have 1/2 acre & I have added a lot of gardens to cut down on grass to mow
Plus with pool/patio area, large veggie garden, new addition & play area not a lot of grass

chrisn 03-13-2010 05:02 AM

If we do not know where you are,it would be impossible to answer.

speedster1 03-13-2010 06:17 AM

Sorry. I'm locating in northern WV. Actually right up Interstate 68 from you :)

Thanks for the tips so far. Any idea what the best way to deal with ground moles are?

Bob Mariani 03-13-2010 07:37 AM

for moles: castor oil in the primary hole in an active tunnel.. Tow pieces of chewing gum (do not touch with hand or mouth) in entrance has worked well. Traps are the best way. Repellents seem to only work to prevent them from moving in.

speedster1 03-14-2010 12:29 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Went out today and walked around the yard. It's soaking wet due to the snow melt and recent rain. It looks absolutely terrible. I noticed some odd looking tracks. My first thought was that I've got a substantial mole problem. But these recent tracks appear to be broken at the surface. Almost like the creature never went underground. Just kind of couged out the ground surface. Yesterday I stopped at the hardware store and picked up one of these traps. But after looking at all the tracks in my yard I'm unsure as to weather these are from moles. I did find several areas that were abvious burrow tunnels. I set the trap on one of those so we'll see if I get anything. I've included some pics of the odd looking tracks.

Bob Mariani 03-14-2010 12:36 PM

these are from moles. They run along the surface more in the late winter under the snow and are closer to the surface since the digging is easier in the frozen ground.

speedster1 03-14-2010 12:44 PM

Thanks Bob. While doing a google serach for Mole tunnels I came across some interesting pictures of identical tunnels. The website in question suggested that those type of tunnels are created by "Voles". Never heard of them. But they are apparently similar to moles but are herbavors and primarily create above ground runways.

Bob Mariani 03-14-2010 07:54 PM

this is true, but you treat them the same. I did not mention this since it may confuse things. Voles follow the tunnels made by moles. They are lazy. this is why the tunnels are on top. (moles are not active in the winter). To help prevent voles, treat the lawn with grubX since the grubs is what they fed on.

Leah Frances 03-14-2010 08:01 PM

Speedster - if you were closer I would loan out my dogs for the weekend. My neighbor's cat is also an expert mole hunter. But I prefer a non-chemical solution when possible.

Scuba_Dave 03-14-2010 08:48 PM

Dig a hole & bury a 5g bucket below the top
Fill partially with water
My inground pool claimed 14 moles/voles whatever they were the 1st year I dug a 3' garden near the pool & removed the grass
My cat has alos killed a few

DO NOT do this if there are any kids (or possibility of kids) or small animals in the yard that you do not want dead

piste 03-15-2010 10:14 AM

Welcome to 2010..The Year of the Vole. Seems they are enjoying a population explosion....though not sure exactly why. Tough to get rid of. I'm going with a multi approach of mouse traps, sonic spikes, and some chemical called Mole Away or something like that. Grubex is always good to deal with grubs...but to my knowledge only removes the food of moles...On the contrary ....voles eat plant roots and such...not grubs. Your pix show classic vole routes. Good luck.

Bob Mariani 03-15-2010 11:27 AM

yeah you are right... but the voles use the mole tunnels,so use the Grubex.

downunder 03-17-2010 06:13 PM


First time ever taking care of a lawn. What do I need to do?

Hire a good landscaping maintenance contractor for one year. Find out what you need to do. Decide what you want to do.

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