Last Updated on February 3, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Your beautiful, landscaped lawn is your pride and joy. And, if you notice some parts of your lawn sinking because of shallow tunnels or if there are small circular hills, then it’s a sure sign that you have moles in your yard.
While, in general, moles are quite harmless, their mounded tunnels can spoil your landscaping and make your otherwise flawless lawn look unsightly.
And apart from the many mounds on your lawn, the tunneling causes the roots to separate from the soil, killing all the vegetation and grass.
What Are Moles?
Moles are small brown, black or gray rodent-like mammals, around 4 to 11 inches long. They have tiny eyes and ears, large forefeet that they use for digging and small hind feet. Moles are insectivorous and feed on earthworms, centipedes, millipedes and insect larvae.
Generally, moles dig where the soil has plenty of organic matter and this tunneling can wreak complete havoc on your lawn and garden, making it easier for voles, mice and other pests to feed on your plants.
Mole tunnels are around 10 inches under the soil, which can scar your lawn and garden and also damage the roots of your plants and grass, causing them to die.
Signs of Moles in Your Yard
Typically, moles live underground and most of their tunneling activity goes unseen. However, as the moles keep digging for food, the soil removed from the channels gets pushed onto the surface.
A sure sign of moles in your yard is the presence of volcano-shaped piles of loose soil at the entrance to the tunnels.
These tunnels and mole hills create soft areas in your yard and when you walk over them, you tend to sink into them. The tunnels are characterized by raised ridges in the soil, crisscrossing your lawn.
Typically, most of the damage caused by moles can be seen in the early summer, spring and in fall again, when the moles are very close to the surface.
The digging is at a much deeper level during the warmer, summer months.
How to Get Rid of Moles from Your Yard
There are several home remedies that you can use to remove moles from your garden; however, most of these are temporary.
There are traps that can help to catch and kill the moles; however, this method is inhumane and even considered illegal in several states.
Getting rid of moles without causing harm to them can be tricky.
And you may have to try several different methods and even repeat your efforts to get rid of them successfully.
Here are some methods to get rid of moles:
Using Castor Oil
Castor oil is quite an effective way to get rid of moles because it makes the soil quite unpleasant smelling for them. Castor oil upsets the digestive systems of the moles.
These castor-oil based mole repellents do not poison or kill the moles but force them to leave the area.
You could look for a mole repellent containing castor oil in a granular or liquid form; however, ensure that the product you purchase is safe for your kids and pets.
You can spread the granular repellent on the surface of the soil with a drop spreader or by hand. Liquid repellents are easier to spread and you can simply attach the hose-end sprayer bottle to the garden hose and spray the area.
Growing Plants For Mole Control
Certain types of plants such as alliums, marigolds, daffodils, garlic, shallots and fritillaries are natural mole repellents.
Planting them around the perimeter of your lawn can help to deter moles effectively, while also making your garden look attractive.
You could also consider planting castor bean plants; however, they are poisonous and may be dangerous if you have kids or pets.
Watering your lawn excessively attracts grubs and worms to the surface of the soil, which in turn, attracts moles that feed on the grubs and worms. While you can water your lawn, you must take care not to overwater it.
Tidying up Your Yard
Moles like to hide and so keeping the beds manicured and grass mowed, will help to deter moles.
Avoid using thick mulch layers and don’t pile them against plant stems and tree trunks, because they can attract insects and pests and also cause decay.
Make sure that your yard is clean and keep it free of piles of leaves, wood and other debris.
Flattening Mole Tunnels
Flattening the tunnels made by moles with your foot or a shovel can help to temporarily deter moles. However, if you’re using this method, you will need to be patient and do it repeatedly because the moles are likely to dig tunnels again and again until they give up.
Eliminating Wet Areas
Make sure that water does not collect in the yard or garden after you water it or it rains. Waterlogged or moist areas attract insects, which in turn, attract moles which feed on them.
Also, the moist soil makes it very easy for the moles to dig into. You can either level the wet areas in your yard on your own to improve the drainage or you can get a professional landscaper to do it for you.
Eliminating Their Food Source
Usually, moles enter your yard in search of food such as grubs, earthworms, ants and other lawn insects.
And, if the moles don’t find food in your garden, they are bound to go elsewhere.
You can get helpful nematodes from garden centers or nurseries and put them on your lawn.
These kill grubs, which are food for moles.
However, killing grubs using nematodes is a very slow process and it can take up to 3 years for the nematodes to form a colony that is large enough to kill all the grubs in your yard!
Milky spore powder is also effective in getting rid of grubs so it may be a good idea to use a combination of nematodes and milky spores.
You could also use a chemical insecticide to kill the grubs.
Using a Physical Barrier
Moles dig very deep into the soil and so putting up a regular fence will not deter them.
However, putting a barrier around the garden or yard can help.
You can make a barrier by digging a 24-30-inch deep trench and line it with a 36-inch aluminum sheet or 1/4th-inch galvanized hardware cloth. Then fill the trench with soil or dirt and leave around 6 inches of the aluminum sheeting or hardware cloth above the soil’s surface.
Making Your Garden Attractive to Predators
Hawks and owls eat moles, so you could make your yard inviting for these predators by installing a 10-15 feet high post with a 1-2-inch diameter perch that allows them to sit on.
If you have a pet dog or cat, they may dig up the moles and kill them. Snakes and foxes are some other natural predators that can help to eliminate moles from your yard.
Using an Ultrasonic Device
Some gardeners believe that high-frequency sounds can help to drive away moles. Most often, these ultrasonic mole devices are solar-powered and are usually pushed into the soil to hold them.
However, there are no studies to show how effective these devices are.
Using Mole Traps
If you find the above solutions ineffective or expensive, then you could consider mole traps to get rid of the moles. Harpoon traps or scissor traps are usually pushed into the ground along the active mole runs. The trap is triggered when the mole comes into contact with it and kills it instantly.
However, many people feel that this is an inhumane way of getting rid of moles and the use of mole traps are considered illegal by certain states.
Using Mole Baits
Often, mole baits infused with bromethalin, a neurotoxin, shaped as grubs or earthworms are used to trick moles into thinking that they are food sources. These baits are inserted into the active molehills or tunnels and when consumed by the mole, it will kill them in a couple of days. However, this can be toxic to your pets and other wildlife too.
And, mole baits are considered inhumane and illegal by several states.
In conclusion, while moles may not eat the plants in your garden; however, the tunnels they dig and soil piles they raise can be a nuisance and make your yard look unappealing. And pushing down the piles of soil and reseeding all the bare areas left by the moles can be a tedious, never-ending task.
So, if you want to eliminate the moles from your yard, then you can use any of the methods we have discussed in our article and reclaim your beautiful green lawn.