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Rodents that Destroy Lawns in the Winter Months

How Safe is your Lawn this Winter? 

Is your lawn safe from rodents and other pests in the winter? While many animals might choose to hibernate in the cold, some others stay active, hungry, and ready to wreak havoc in your beautiful lawn. Meadow voles, moles, and gophers are a few such pests that can destroy parts or the entire lawn if not stopped in time. However, there are tell-tale signs that they leave behind that can help you identify the culprits and remove them from your yard. 

How to Identify and Protect Your Lawns from Rodents and Pests 

  1. Meadow Voles – Rodents that look like small field mice with short tails. They are around 5 to 7 inches in length. They have yellowish orange teeth.

Vole Infestation Signs: You know you have voles if you see the following: 

  • Quarter sized holes all over your lawn 
  • A network of tunnels just under your lawn’s surface 
  • Gnaw marks on tender tree barks, and young trees 
  • Gnawed and destroyed plant roots and bulbs 
  • Uneven patches of grass on your lawn


  • Keep your garden free of clutter to make it impossible for the pests to hide. This includes clearing away snow, mowing your lawn, and keeping light mulch. 
  • Voles dislike the tastes and smells of castor oil, pepper, and ground coffee. Sprinkle some castor oil or ground coffee (in limited quantity as it can drain nitrogen from the soil) in your lawn to keep them at bay. Mix dish soap with pepper and spray it on your lawn. 
  • Protect young trees by wrapping the base of their trunk with a wire mesh or plastic tube. 
  • You can also use chemicals known to control their population, or set traps, but refrain from these methods if you have kids and pets in your yard.
  1. Moles are not rodents but mammals having sharp teeth and long claws. They are carnivoresthat eat insects, caterpillars, and earthworms. They love to burrow in the lawns in the winters and create deep tunnels to trap their prey.

Mole infestation signs: 

  • Empty brown spaces in the lawn due to mole tunnels 
  • Volcano shaped mole hills all over the lawn 


  • Grow strong-scented or toxic plants as barriers like daffodils and marigolds.
  • Eliminate grubs and other pests that they eat.
  • Install hardware cloth liner barriers around flower beds and trees to avoid digging and damage around them.
  • Avoid a thick layer of mulch.
  • Keep grass short.
  • You can also lay mole traps or use chemical baits but again, these methods can be risky, especially for children and pets.
  1. Pocket Gophers are rodents that burrow underground but stay active during winters. They eat the roots of plants and trees and kill them within hours. They are larger than moles and voles. 

Gopher infestation Signs: 

  • Big piles of dirt in a crescent or semi-circle shape mound.


  • Fence the lawn with a wire mesh or a hardware cloth to make it impossible for them to reach plants. Bury the fence about 3 feet underground while still having over one foot over the ground. 
  • Keep gopher traps and then release them in the wild. Do not use if your pets and kids will be running around in the yard 
  • Spray gopher repellent on plants to keep them away.

Save Your Lawn from Winter Pests

Whether you want to protect your lawn from pests and rodents this winter or it needs repair due to previous rodent attacks, get help from lawncare professionals to identify and resolve the problem.

Greenskeeper provides versatile lawn care solutions while always using safe products. Check out our service programs or contact us for more information on rodent and pest control services.

Call GREENSKEEPER at (215) 938-8440. You can also contact us using our online form for a free quote.