Until we end our love affair with the perfect lawn, there will be people wanting to find out how to get rid of moles and mole holes. For some, the desire to get rid of moles is as strong as that to have turf fit for the cover of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine.
What is a mole, and his hole?
Moles are not rodents, but an insectivore that belong to a family of their own. There are seven species that live in North America, with the star-nosed and eastern moles being the most widespread. They spend most of their lives underground eating earthworms, grubs, snails, cutworms, and other insects. The holes, or more correctly, the mounds, are created as a result of these little creatures tunneling through the soil in search of food.
What moles do for you…
Since moles feed underground, they eat insects (such as beetle grubs) that can harm your lawn. Removing the moles may result in problems with those insects. Moles also mix and aerate the soil as they dig, improving it for plant growth.
Cures for the common mole…
Here is what you can do to control moles and the damage they may do to your lawn:
- Don’t water so much. People tend to overwater their lawns, keeping earth worms and other mole-food close to the surface. Usually one deep watering a week is sufficient for most lawns, but check with your local extension office for what is recommended in your area.
- Castor oil – yuck! If you’re of the generation that was given castor oil as a treatment for one condition or another, you know how foul tasting it is. Moles find it equally unappealing. Visit your local garden center for a commercially-made castor oil repellant and advice on how to use it efficiently.
- It has been reported that garden pinwheels will transmit vibrations into the ground, scaring the moles away. It is a cheap, easy fix and worth a try.
- Damage will occur when the lawn mower blades hit mounds of turf, causing the grass to die in those areas, so use your feet or a lawn roller to flatten the mounds before mowing. It may be unsightly for a while, but with a little TLC and divot replacement, your lawn will recover.
Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill…
Just because they may disrupt your lawn a little does not mean one should become a mole killer. People are known to put all kinds of things down mole tunnels. Moth balls, flavored glue, and even gasoline are all toxic to the environment, incredibly inhumane, and are unlikely to work.
Moles are not an enemy that you have to conquer. They are fascinating, interesting, and amazing critters. A few mounds here and there can be easily tolerated and remedied.