Mounds and tunnels in a yard can bring a terrible feeling. Moles are among the common culprits for holes in yards. They dig tunnels under the soil surface, searching for grubs, worms, and insects to eat.
While moles do not feed on plant roots, their burrowing activities can cause significant damage to your lawn and flowerbeds. The digging typically destabilizes the plants’ roots which may make them wilt and die.
Signs of Moles in Yard
Moles are solitary insectivorous mammals that spend their entire lives below the surface of the ground, digging tunnels in an endless quest for food. They have large front feet with long spade-like claws that dig much like a hoe.
These animals are most active during warm, wet months when the soils are loose and easy to dig.
Moles keep creating new feeding tunnels. The round symmetrical entry and exit mounds always connect to the main runway underground tunnels which are usually not visible.
Sometimes it is easy to mistake mole tunnels for those made by gophers. These are small rodents that also burrow underground and feed on the roots of plants and grass. Their tunnels appear more flattened, with crescent-shaped or semicircular mounds.
Gophers pull plants into their tunnels so that they can comfortably eat the roots and soft stems. They also destroy everything along the way including water pipes and irrigation systems.
How to Get Rid of Moles in your Yard
The following home remedies will help end the mole menace in your yard for good:
1. Cut the food source
Grubs are a great source of food for moles. One of the fastest ways of discouraging moles in your yard is to get rid of grubs in your lawn. Although good for soil microbial activity, grubs and other soil-dwelling insects attract moles and other animals that end up tearing up your lawn and gardens.
Buy beneficial nematodes, from some nurseries and garden centers and put them on your lawn. Nematodes are microscopic parasites that kill grubs. Although it may take time, the population of grubs in your yard will decrease to a level unsuitable for moles.
2. Minimize watering
Watering creates a soft damp earth suitable for moles and earthworm activities. Limiting watering reduces the number of earthworms as well as makes the soil hard for a mole to dig. Applying one inch of water per week is enough to keep your lawn healthy and discourage mole tunneling.
3. Use castor oil
Castor oil is a natural repellent that does not kill moles but irritates their digestive systems. Mix three parts castor oil and one part dish soap. Add five tablespoons of the mixture to a gallon of water and soak the entry and exits points of the tunnels.
Safe liquid or granule repellents are also available at gardening stores. Most of them contain castor oil as part of the ingredients. Use according to the label directions and you will not see those mounds and tunnels in your yard again.
4. Keep your yard tidy
Moles like operating in dark areas. Mowing your lawn short and keeping your flower beds neat will keep moles away. Avoid using thick layers of mulch in your garden as well. Wet areas in your yard should also be drained to limit insect activities in your yard.
5. Grow mole-repellent plants
There are some plants that deter moles and you should consider growing them around your lawn or in your flower beds. They include marigolds, daffodils, alliums, fritillaries, garlic, and shallots among others.
6. Create a physical barrier
Dig a trench roughly 5 inches wide and 2 feet deep. Then line it with wire mesh or galvanized hardware cloth that has holes not wider than 3/4 inches. Fill in the trench with dirt, and leave six inches of the hardware cloth or wire mesh above the surface of the soil.
7. Set a trap
Moles can be eliminated from your lawn, garden, or yard by the use of a trap. While many traps will instantly kill the mole, there are those that safely capture the mole and you can release the animal away from your home.
Using poison to get rid of moles in your yard should be a last resort after all the other methods have failed. Poisonous products will also endanger other lives in the yard including your family members. Be sure to follow safety guidelines and use it away from children and pets.