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Joan from New Brighton says:

05/02/11 06:10 PM

I have used Guaranteed since the early 90's and I have enjoyed watching there company grow without compromising the service they have provided to us! we love supporting our local companies


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Refer a Neighbor... or a Friend

Receive one free Fertilizer and Weed control application on your next service when you refer a neighbor or a friend to Guaranteed Turf Care and they sign up for our Nature Green or Weekender Mowing program.

With the winter snows melting away many are often surprised to find a series of tiny trails on the surface of their lawns. This is where voles have been active over the winter. 
Voles are often called meadow mice or field mice. While they are similar to a house mouse in general size and shape, they have some important differences.  Voles have small eyes and ears, stocky bodies and short tails, when compared to other mice, but even more important is that they very seldom invade homes.  Rather, they prefer to live in grassy fields or landscape beds.
Voles are herbivores. They eat seeds as well as leaves and stems of grasses and sometimes other green vegetation and occasionally, roots and bulbs. Often voles are attracted to, and take up residence under bird feeders where the seed is scattered and litters the ground. Removing or limiting this food source will, in turn, limit the voles in that area.  Some have found that moving the bird feeders to areas that are less susceptible to vole damage is the preferred approach. 
Voles do not hibernate during the winter months. They are active even during the winter and when snow is on the ground they are perfectly happy and actually do very well under the protection of the snow cover.  They eat grass as the make their way between the snow pack and ground.
When the snow retreats what is left is a series of surface runways through turf areas. These measure about 2 inches wide and sometimes many feet in length.  The reality is that even though these are an eye-sore now, they do not significantly damage the turf grass.  Just rake up the loose grass and discard. With the spring growth, these paths will fill in and the voles will soon be forgotten. 
Even more damaging than the trails that they make in turf grass is the injury to other plants.  Voles can seriously injure trees, shrubs (and sometimes plastic irrigation lines) when they gnaw on them.  If controls are required it is important to remember that voles are a major food source of many vertebrates including birds of prey.  Their main protection from these predators is dense cover.  An effective way to manage voles is to reduce their cover.
Mow tall grasses in the fall so that they do not fall over and create vole habitat during the winter.  Trim trees and shrubs including low lying plantings plants such as arborvitae, yews, and junipers such that they are up off the ground, if voles are active in the area. When possible, use rock mulch rather than bark mulch in the flower gardens and beds because this is much less favorable to voles.
Mouse snap traps, baited with peanut butter and placed in the vole run, also can be used to control small, pesky, populations.
When major infestations have to be controlled immediately, rodenticides may also be effective.  Extreme caution must be exercised when using them. 

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