The trails on the surface are from voles. Those are trail that they used over the winter to search for food under the snow. They will disappear once you rake the lawn and it starts to grow. The mole repellent Mole-Max will keep the voles away as well as the more destructive moles. Crows pecking at the lawn is often an indication that there are Japanes Beetle grubs in the soil. Those grubs eat theroots of your lawn and can cause the lawn to thin out if there are enough of them. Here’s the scoop on grub control: Controlling Grubs As usual every spring, there’s a lot of interest in how to kill those nasty grubs that have had a hand in wiping out some lawns. And, as usual, I have to tell folks that, if they had treated their lawn before the grubs hatched last August and September, they could have saved their lawn from all this damage. There’s so much confusion about grub control that garden centers will sell a much larger percentage of grub control in the spring than in summer when, logically, it should be the other way around. I’m sure that much of this has to do with the fact that the damage that the grubs do in late summer and fall isn’t visible until the following spring. The first step is to understand the life cycle of the Japanese Beetle. Let’s start at the beginning. The female Japanese Beetle, after feasting on your beans and rose bushes all summer then lays her eggs into warm sunny areas of healthy grass. The healthiest grass around is probably the sunny areas of your beautiful lawn that you’ve worked on all summer. She won’t lay her eggs in the shade since soil temperatures are too low to keep the eggs alive. Each female is capable of laying a couple of hundred eggs. These eggs will all hatch within four days after they’re laid. Are you listening? There are no grubs hatching in the spring. None. They ALL hatch in late August or September. After the grubs emerge from their eggs in late summer, they must eat and what they eat are the roots of your lawn. They eat and eat and eat and eat until they are the size that you are familiar seeing when you find them in your garden while you’re planting. As the soil’s temperature drops in the fall the grubs must burrow down below the frost line to avoid being frozen over winter. Naturally, there is nothing for them to eat down that deep in the soil so they survive on all that body fat they put on by eating the roots of your lawn. Finally in spring, the soil’s temperature begins to rise and the grubs (who are ravenous after months in hibernation) burrow their way back to the root zone of your lawn. Now the feast begins all over again. After putting on another round of body fat (compliments of your lawn) they pause and pupate; that is: they form a hard shell and begin the transformation into the adult or beetle stage of their life. They will enter this pupae stage during Early to mid-June. In mid-July the beetles emerge from the soil and the cycle begins again. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve realized that by the time you get out there in spring with your grub killer three quarters of the damage the grubs cause has already occurred. This is a classic case of closing the barn doors after the horses have run off. There’s no way we’ll ever convince the Japanese Beetles to change their habits so, we must try to change ours. The best time to wipe them out is during the hatching period in late August or early September. If you have a severe grub problem you may need to treat this spring just to save your lawn from extinction but you should try to time your grub control application so you can prevent the situation from happening again. If you find that you need to apply a grub control as an emergency measure in spring, you should pick one that is fast acting. The best choice for spring applications would be Dylox (Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus). It kills quickly and on contact then breaks down quickly once it’s killed the grubs but, since there are no new grubs hatching in spring, it is of no concern. As with all grub controls, it is imperative that they get watered-in for a couple of hours IMMEDIATELY after application. DON’T COUNT ON RAIN TO DO THE JOB! Rainfall is never hard enough to get the chemical off the surface of the soil and down to the roots where the grubs are. You must realize that all grub control chemicals begin to break down as soon as they are out of their bag. Sunlight and air both begin to strip the chemicals of it’s potency the instant it’s out of the bag. Left on the surface of the soil, it will lose about 33% of its potency every 24 hours. As soon as you put your spreader away after you apply your grub control, get the sprinkler out and soak the area with an inch of water. Use an empty tuna fish or cat food can.