Moles might seem like cute, curious creatures from afar, but once they establish a sizeable presence in your lawn, they can become annoyingly ugly!
The main problem is the intricate network of tunnels and mounds that moles make underground. Not only can they kill or damage the plants, grass, and trees in your yard, but they can also cause problems with your irrigation system!
While poison is often the easiest answer, it isn’t always the safest or most humane option. So, we decided to dig a little deeper into the life cycle and habits of moles to find alternative ways to prevent them or remove them from your lawn.
What Are Moles?
Moles are small burrowing rodents that look a little like mice and rats. However, moles tend to spend most of their lives underground, digging burrows.
This also means that their eyesight is poorly developed, which they compensate for with their sense of touch. All moles have very sensitive snouts and long, clawed digits that they use to dig tunnels. They even have fleshy protrusions on their star-shaped nose mole’s snout that are more sensitive to touch than a human hand.
The fact that they live underground means that moles are very efficient diggers. They can hollow out a 160-foot-long tunnel in a single night.
It’s worth noting, that moles don’t eat the roots of plants and trees, although they do tunnel around and underneath them. Moles are actually insectivores and make their intricate tunnels to locate the worms and other insects that live in the soil around plants.
What Are Common Signs of Mole Damage In a Yard or Garden
There are a few key signs that warn of a serious mole problem lurking in your yard. This includes
- Dead Grass
- Mounds That Are Far Apart
- Chunks Of Dirt
How To Know If It’s Moles or Gophers
When a gopher digs, it tends to pulverize the soil into a smooth powder. Whereas moles tend to leave clumps or chunks of dirt behind.
Also bear in mind that moles are insectivores. This means that they don’t chew plants or root systems. Rather they prefer to eat earthworms, grubs, and centipedes.
If you find significant gnaw marks on your garden plants or vegetables, it likely means that voles or mice are present in your yard.
Things That Attract Moles To Your Yard
Moles spend the majority of their lives in their tunnels and care very little for what is going on in the world above them. This also means that they are more likely to frequent areas that offer the ideal habitat for things like feeding, breeding, and burrowing. Moles are attracted to lawns that have:
- A Lot of Insects
- Cool Soil Temperatures
- Landscaping Elements
As strange as it might sound, your landscaping, like retaining walls and fences that are buried a few inches into the ground can serve as barriers or highways that direct digging moles to your yard. They simply continue burrowing along with the obstacle, until there is a gap.
This can create both a highway to bring a high number of moles to your yard, or a bottleneck where you might be able to trap or block them later.
Easy Tips For Getting Rid of Moles & Keeping Them Away
If you are seeing early signs of a mole problem, or you are up to your ankles in a full-on mole invasion, the time to act is now. You can use the following tips to help get rid of moles or to discourage other moles from wanting to occupy your lawn.
Remove Their Food Sources
Moles are insectivores, and their favorite food is grubs. When you take steps to eliminate the grubs and other insects in your yard, the moles will naturally relocate looking for better food sources.
Apply Mole Repellent
Organic mole repellents can be an effective solution for an infestation. Something as simple as castor oil will not kill moles directly. However, it will cause digestive upset, which makes your lawn a less appealing place to live.
This calls for mixing 3 parts castor oil with 1-part dish soap. Then fix this concentrate with water at a ratio of 4 Tablespoons per gallon.
Once mixed you want to apply copious amounts of your homemade mole repellent at the tunnel entrances in your yard. If you found a bottleneck location in your landscaping you should also soak that area to discourage more moles from following the highway to your lawn.
You will then need to reapply this solution at least once a week or after a significant rain event.
Use Fragrant Plants As A Barrier
Moles have sensitive noses and they dislike strong smells, such as daffodils, marigolds, and anything in alliums like onions and garlic.
Planting these aromatic plants around the edges of your garden to form a natural barrier or plant them in raised beds to protect root systems. If you prefer, you can also purchase ready-made mole barriers at a hardware or garden store.
Dig A Trench Barrier
Digging a trench that is roughly 2 feet deep and six inches wide around the space you’d like to protect will go a long way toward discouraging moles. Fill this trench with rocks or line it with wire mesh or hardware cloth with holes ¾ wide or smaller. This is a time-consuming but effective, long-term solution to keep moles from burrowing their way into your yard.
Maintain a Lawn Tidy
Safety is a critical priority for moles and they prefer an environment with plenty of cover. By eliminating thick vegetation and removing mulch your take away their shelter to encourage them to go elsewhere. This is especially handy in dry conditions when moles start prioritizing moist, cool soils.
At the same time, mowing your lawn frequently to keep it short not only helps eliminate the cover the moles want. It also creates disruption. Moles don’t like a lot of loud noises of things like lawn mower engines, string trimmers, and footfalls overhead. They prefer the peace and quiet of an unkempt lawn..