Out of all the creatures that can inhabit your garden, moles are some of the trickiest to deal with. Their presence is admittedly a mixed bag of blessings and curses, though most lawn owners would prefer to have them gone. Learn more about these creatures and how to either live with or without them in your terrain.
The Signs and the Damage
Those small mounds of dirt and ridges of raised earth around your yard are the telltale signs of these tunneling rodents. They tend to uproot plants and grass roots, leaving unattractive brown spots in their wake. (They should not be confused with pocket gophers, another burrowing rodent with similar habits that does not leave trails.) Worms are great for the soil and unfortunately they are a mole’s favorite meal. Moles love rich, loamy, wet soil because it’s easy to tunnel through so the better your soil the more likely a mole will call your garden home.
Traps are the most effective of these as they leave no uncertainty about the fate of the vermin. The good news is that moles are generally solitary creatures so once you’ve caught or killed the culprit you’ve solved your problem. Lay traps during Spring and Fall as that is the time they are most active.
Poisons can be effective in eliminating your mole issue, but are a bit heavy handed in that they can cause just as much harm as help if applied incorrectly. Be aware that anytime you use chemicals in the garden it can disrupt the balance of your yard.
Repellents are a good choice for those who dislike moles, voles, and a host of other pests but prefer a natural, less lethal solution. Mole repellents are safe, effective, and you won’t have to call a professional or personally dispose of a dead mole at the end of the day.
Barriers are a good long term solution to your mole problem which is both humane and eco-friendly. Using a metal mesh beneath your favorite plants can protect them from many tunneling creatures and save your time and money in the long run.
Live and Let Live
Moles drive some gardeners crazy, but in reality defining them as all good or all bad is more easily said than done. For example, while it may be unsightly, all that digging they do is actually beneficial because it provides natural aeration for the soil. Moles also disrupt and consume the larvae of insects which can be destructive to your plants. Having a mole is also a kind of compliment – it means your garden is lush and your soil is nutrient rich and high grade. Moles only live a few years so if all else fails just wait them out.
Love them or hate them, moles are a natural part of the ecosystem and should be handled with care and with understanding that they play an important role in keeping the balance of nature.