The Garden Saver: Good Bye To Moles?

by Polly

moleIf you have moles in your garden don’t panic, they aren’t going to kill your lawn or anything like that.

While this looks bad, are moles really harmful to your lawn? The answer is absolutely not. The fact is that their co called “damage” is purely cosmetic and temporary.

In the long run their digging is actually quite beneficial to your lawn. As they dig, they are actually aerating your grass, allowing air and water into the soil.

They are also ridding your lawn of harmful pests like grubs.  Since for the most part they are strict insectivores, they do not disturb your grass’ roots.

Mostly, they eat insects, and among their favorite foods are fat, juicy grubs. Those grubs are so fat because they are dining on the roots of your plants, mostly lawn grass. And,

I have yet to see a lawn turn yellow or die from moles digging beneath it. On the contrary, I have seen grass come back stronger, greener and lusher in areas where they dig.

Another benefit is fewer pests such as Japanese Beetles.  We had moles on our land for the first time this year and miraculously, had the fewest Japanese Beetles we have ever had since moving into this property.

For the even slightly natural-inclined gardener, the fact that moles eradicate sundry sorts of turf-nesting moth larvae, beetles & mealworms which would otherwise destroy the roots of everything, makes a single resident mole an ok tenant.

They eat slugs, beetles, moth larvae, snails, earthworms, millipedes & centipedes, — contributing greatly to a garden’s healthy balance.

They also create “storage bins” of beheaded worms & other emergency food resources packed away underground with leaves. These hoards contribute to deeper-soil compostings.

They do eat a bit of vegetation & are known to horde seeds, but they do not nibble healthy roots. Moles do not eat flower bulbs or flowers.

They do sometimes disrupt ornamental plants with their excavations but this is rare & often the result of grub & mealworm infestations that the moles are cleaning out to the flowers’ benefit.

In short, the best way to control moles is to do nothing at all! About the only problems you will run into is your lawn mower blade hitting some of their runs or mounds.  This is a simple matter of just stomping those down right before you mow.

Just live with them. So there’s a mole mound in your lawn. Grab a metal rake and rake the spot smooth. There. It’s gone.

You’ll have to repeat the operation every time you see a mound, but if you’re going to insist on having that huge lawn, you’re going to have to face the fact that it’s the greatest mole-attractor of all.

If you can come to terms with letting them have the below-ground part while you enjoy the above-ground part, you can both share the same habitat in peace.

The quirkiest cure of all for moles is baiting a tunnel with gum. Touching only the gum wrapper, drop the gum into a tunnel. Moles presumably like the taste, but after they eat it, their innards are gummed up. Should we wish such a fate upon a grub killer?

If you find that you really cannot live with them, consider trapping them live instead of killing them. A scissor-jawed trap placed in a main run will most likely catch a mole. Moles are somewhat territorial.

You can also repel them. The only safe repellent that has been tested and found to be reasonably effective on moles in the eastern U.S. is castor oil. This can be poured into mole runs. It has not been tested in the western U.S., so results may vary.

Want  to know more  about moles? Then, post your question below.

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Yours truly, Polly – Organic Gardener

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison June 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I’ve noticed mole tunnels in my perennial border and see some stunted hemerocallis, shriveled cleome, and wilting echinacea. You think it’s the grubs the moles are feeding on that are doing the damage. Doesn’t tunneling through a perennial garden destroy the flower roots???

Thanks,
Alison

Polly June 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

The grubs are sure bad guys. Moles eat them. Its hard to say without the picture.

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