Moles are one of those odd outdoor pests we don’t often pay a lot of attention to until you suddenly see a raised trail through the grass and your foot sinks into the ground. Moles can ruin your grass while they live under it and are eating grubs, worms and other insects. If left on their own, moles can do a lot of lawn damage in an exceedingly small amount of time.
Ground moles are part of the shrew family. They are small animals that grow to about 7” long from snout to tail and weigh anywhere from 2-4 ounces. They are so small that they won’t even be noticed until you see the results of their tunnelling and mounds. They are not going to hurt your lawn by eating it as they are insectivores. They eat up to 90% of their weight in worms, grubs and other insects each day but during this feasting, they create issues in the lawn itself by tunnelling. They have poor eyesight but can hear well and dig with large claws on their front feet.
Moles have good points as they aerate the lawn and reduce insects,but their tunnels become an issue. Their tunnels are almost a foot underground and can damage the roots of grass and plants as well as attract other smaller vermin such as mice and voles that will enjoy your lawn and plants as a meal.
Signs that moles are in your yard
Molehills are a sure sign that you have a mole problem.This is a little dirt mound that looks like a small volcano. They are burrowing creatures, and a molehill is an entrance to their mole tunnel. You will also notice that there are soft areas in your lawn where the tunnels are, indicating mole activity. You will see raised ridges and if you step on them,your foot will sink.
How to get rid of moles in your yard naturally
There are traps and poisons that can kill moles, but not everyone is comfortable with this way of getting rid of them. Some states will also not allow traps and poisons, so finding a humane and natural mole repellent is helpful. Humane ways don’t always work the first time around, so change it up if it doesn’t work. With some natural repellent options, you’re sure to manage the mole problem in your backyard without trapping moles or using mole poison.
Castor oil is a vegetable oil that is used for many things and one of those is getting rid of moles. When applied to the ground, the soil smells bad to them. The oil will not kill them, but it will upset their stomach. The oil can be found in different forms and will have directions on the label. It must be labelled non-toxic and pet and child safe. For easy application just use a sprayer on your hose to make sure it is evenly applied.
Moles are not big on daytime light and love to hide, so if your grass is long and your flowerbeds are a mess, then they are going to be happy. Big amounts of leaves and grass that are left as mulch can give them great hiding places. Don’t pile up leaves and cuttings or have other debris near your lawn. These piles are the perfect place for moles and other unwelcome outdoor guests to hide.
Grow Plants Moles Don’t Like
There are plants that moles do not like. Putting them around in your gardens or around the lawn area looks nice but also repels moles. Marigolds, alliums, and daffodils are some flowers that work, as do garlic, shallots, or the castor bean plants. However, the bean plant can be poisonous to pets and kids, so it’s best to avoid that one.
While water can help your lawn when it is dry out, overwatering is a problem. The more you water, the more worms and grubs will appear near the lawn’s surface. If there is an easily accessed food source, then moles are going to appear.
For that same reason, make sure that there are no areas of the lawn where water tends to collect. If an area isn’t draining properly then insects who like moisture are going to live there. Excess water also makes soil easy to dig in so make sure drainage on the lawn is good and get rid of any drainage issues.
Flatten the Tunnels
This method of mole elimination takes patience. Use your foot or a tool to flatten the tunnels. Do this carefully if you don’t want to hurt the mole. The tunnels may come back, so repetitive squishing may be needed before the mole will leave.
Create a Natural Area for Predators
Owls and hawks are just two of the flying predators that can help control moles. Install posts that are between 10-15 feet high with a couple of perches to give them places to sit and watch. Foxes and snakes are also helpful if you are in a more rural area and they are around.
Remove the food Source
Since moles like insects, so getting rid of that food source can help. Buying Marigolds or nematodescan help eliminate grubs. This is not a fast process and can take time for the colonies of nematodes to take hold, and the milky spore only targets grubs of Japanese Beetles. But when used together, you have a good chance of winning the battle over the mole’s food source.
Some say that certain sound waves will repel moles. The high frequency bothers them, so they leave the area. Be aware that some of the frequencies can be heard by dogs, so make sure your pets are not bothered by it.
Using active traps
If none of the prior ideas seem to be working, you may be forced to try trapping.
- Find where the moles are traversing underground through their tunnels. Flatten them and watch if they raise back up.
- Dig a hole down to the floor of the tunnel and set the trap so it fits in the tunnel.
- Check the trap regularly so you can remove the mole when caught and relocate it.
Understanding how to get rid of moles in your yard naturally takes a little research and work but should be successful. Just make sure to be patient and switch methods if you find one is not working. Perseverance will help you be successful in your mole deterrent plans.
Source of featured image: canva.com