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Do Voles Damage my Lawn?

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Posted on: Mar 29, 2023Raunie

When the snow starts to melt and we start to see the grass below, you may notice a number of tracks throughout your lawn. These tracks are often made by a small critter called the Vole. Voles are not turf-damaging rodents; however, they do create pathways under the snow to get around and stay protected from their predators. It can be a frustrating moment when the weather warms up, the snow melts, and  BAM! There seems to be a network of tunnels throughout your lawn that can rival a big city transit system. Don’t panic though, this is an easy problem to fix!

Identifying which creature you might be dealing with

Firstly, a Vole is a small rodent that is like a field mouse and often burrows under the snow in the wintertime and creates small tunnels. Often times people mistake them for either a mouse or a mole so it is important to distinguish the differences in order to identify what animal is on your property.

The field mouse is the smallest of the three and only become a real nuisance if they somehow get inside your home. They have long tails and seek out the warmth and shelter of an enclosed space.

A Vole is a small rodent that is grey in colour and breeds about twice to three times per year. Their tunnels are shallow and are often on the surface of the grass. Their ears are small and rounded and it has a short tail. They tend to stick to the outdoors, unlike the mouse.

In contrast, Mole is not a rodent and is slightly larger than a vole. The biggest differing factor is the large feet that they use for digging their deeper tunnels found under the soil.

Vole Damage on an Ontario Lawn

How to Repair Your Lawn this Spring

If your lawn looks like the picture featured above, don’t worry! By following a few instructions you’ll have your lawn looking great again before you know it!

The first thing to do to help your lawn is rake the lawn with a stiff rake to remove any debris that the voles might have pushed around within their tunnels. These tunnels can create an uneven surface of the grass that is full of lumps and bumps which can be frustrating.  The best thing to do next is fill any areas that were affected with black earth topsoil.  When filling the holes – you will want to add enough topsoil to fill approximately 1-2 inches above the rest of the grass. The reason for this is that as the soil settles it will absorb water and become heavier. By going slightly over where you want the grass to be will help reduce the chance of those lumps becoming divots.


Voles tend to love the thatch that can be present in our lawns after a season of cutting your lawn. A helpful tip to keep them at bay is to bag your clippings and keep debris from collecting on the lawn. The soft cushion of a season of grass clippings can be a delightful home for these little guys once winter begins. So, by keeping your lawn free of that with regular raking can help deter them from gathering on your property. Keep reading for more helpful tips!