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Lawn damaged by moles? How do I fix?

Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

My back yard has become so incredibly bumpy to mow. I didn't realize anything was happening because I usually pay someone to mow. Now that I have been mowing it's become very evident and seems to have gotten worse. In part of the yard it's very shady and grass isn't growing and I can see all of these bumps and seems like very short (maybe 8-10") tunnels where the ground is disturbed from below. These are approx. 1" or more high. They are hard and also won't squash back down to a normal level. My first thought was moles, but I also noticed that when it rains I have tons of worms! So many active I can hear them!! So many worms seems to contridict moles since that's what they eat. Also the worms seem to come out of these same lumps. Do you think it's moles or worms? How can I repair the yard?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Trish, I would think Moles or Voles rather than worms, considering the size of the tunnels. Here is a bit of info on repair.

http://landscaping.suite101.com/article.cfm/lawns_ravaged_by_winter_weather

http://www.greatlandscapingideas.com/lawnproblems.html

For us it is mole damage....and I pay my 15 year old to flatten out the tunnels.....GRIN It can be quite entertaining to watch him "gallumping" around the yard and the price is cheap.

Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

thanks moonhowl, good information, but I really didn't see anything about repairing other than stepping on them, which doesn't do anything. I think the most of this is old work from the moles and hard. It's like mowing over thousands of lumps and bumps, like rocks, of all sizes. I'm thinking I will need some kind of equipment to almost re-grade. Was hoping someone had used something like this. Are their power dethatchers or something that could help? I read a suggestion on another thread to lay new topsoil and kind of re-grade. Oh my gosh, I just need an army of 15 year olds to come fix the mess my yard is in!!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I have found that the repair works best after a rain. There is a roller thing you can rent. It is basically a drum with a handle. I have seen it used to pack down sod and to roll out mole hills.
I will say GSJordan was most inventive....he got an old sheet of plywood and laid it over the areas and rode his bike back and forth over it....but, only after a good rain.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5891371_rent-lawn-roller.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_4891875_use-lawn-roller.html

Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

Ok, I did a little investigating. I've attached the best photo I could get of one of the mounds. I dug off some mounds to see what was within them. They have one or two small holes no bigger than a pencil. (see next post for photo) I don't see how a mole (as small as they are) could fit thru those tiny holes. I do believe it is earthworms. I have seen hundreds of them out there when it rains or is still damp and they are fat. lol. The mounds they create range in size from the diameter of a plum to a grapefruit and are 1-1 1/2 inches high. What in the world can I do about the damage they are causing. I thought worms were good for the soil. Someone please give me a solution.

Thumbnail by crafti_trish
Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

And here's a photo of the little pencil size holes.

Thumbnail by crafti_trish
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Earthworms are good for the soil. Maybe your yard was seriously compacted and some mole/vole/varmint activity loosened things up enough for the earthworms to move in.

I am at a loss to advise you as to who is causing the damage. Personally I would try rolling the yard after a good rain and see what that does.

Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

I found this site from Utah State University that exactly describes my problem (and I think a couple of other people I've seen on here). It is earthworms and why it is the worst in this particular area of my yard where it's shaded & damp alot makes sense. At least I know what the problem is now. Thanks moonhowl for tryin' to help!! Oh, and they say not to heavy roll but you can do a light rolling.
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG_Lawn_2005-01.pdf

More info to correct the problem says: "It is important to re-seed and water any bumpy patches that may appear in the lawn. Aerating the lawn will decrease the gravity of the lumps as well as raking and verticutting".

So, it looks like I have a lot of work ahead. lol

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Glad you found the answer to your problem. Yup, gonna take a bit of sweat, but your teeth won't chatter any more when ya mow. grin

Roanoke, VA(Zone 7a)

lol. My teeth do chatter when I try and mow this lawn!! And my wrists kill me. I have a lightweight electric mower for this part of the yard and it literally bounces.

I'm gonna hit the area without grass with a shovel and rake - this area does need some more dirt brought in and to be graded better, shady and damp all the time. The rest of the yard. . . . I'm not sure how I'm gonna tackle this. Possibly the same way over time and re-seed. And I'll have to keep on top of it weekly now! Who would have thought!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Sounds like a plan Trish. Good luck to you. Let us know how it progresses and how you are holding up....GRIN

Ferndale, WA

Crafti_Trish: Bayer puts out a product that kills grubs, black beetles, and most things that attract moles, and voles. It's not that expensive and probably would work well with your worm problem. I purchase it at home depot or Lowes, but most garden stores will carry it. It has really worked well for me and it is very easy to apply. I apply every six months for the first year and then once a year after that. Good luck to you...Hay.

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