When we first moved into our home, we knew we had extensive damage and mole hills in our yard. If you’re wondering “what do moles do to your lawn?”, let us explain.
In this post, we’ll cover all you need to know about what moles do to your yard, flower beds, or garden, good and bad.
We’ve also got an effective solution if you want to get rid of moles in your yard or garden plants.
Do you suspect that you have a mole problem? If so, you might have seen or heard about mole hills and you’re probably wondering “what do moles do to your lawn?”
Moles are small little mammals that are often mistaken for rodents, because they have similar burrowing habits.
Despite their appearance and habits, they aren’t related to rodents like mice or rats. You can rest assured that having moles in your yard will be a different experience than dealing with mice.
Moles are actually pretty cool little creatures that live entirely underground in mole tunnels. They only come up to the surface to look for food when the soil is dry or to collect nesting materials.
These creatures don’t multiply quickly, having only one liter of 3-5 pups at a time, once a year. Moles have small eyes and pretty poor vision, they can only see light and movement.
Even though moles are small, they can get a lot done below the surface of your yard.
What do moles do to your lawn?
Moles may be small, but they are capable of causing a lot of damage to your yard.
Most of the damage is aesthetic, though. Their primary food source is insects and grubs and they tunnel through the dirt to catch them. They basically tunnel everywhere they go which creates raised ridges and mounds of dirt.
Moles can also damage the roots of plants and may introduce harmful parasites to your soil.
Moles have hairless snouts, tiny eyes, and paddle-shaped feet with long claws. They use those paddle-shaped front feet to dig their feeding tunnels while their hind feet push them forward.
They can tunnel at a rate of 15 feet per hour. Clearly, they are very fast diggers and cover a lot of ground.
When soil is soft and moist dirt shallow surface tunnels can be built even faster, at a rate of 12 inches per minute.
Shallow tunnels are much more visible in your yard.
Below are some of the issues and damage moles can cause in your yard.
- Damage the roots of your plants
- Create weak spots in your yard
- Make way for secondary pests like mice and rats
- Cause walking hazards in your yard
Signs of moles in your lawn
There are a few hints that you have moles living in your yard.
Not all of them will be all that noticeable, but a couple should stand out pretty easily.
Take a walk around your yard and look for the following signs:
These are small volcano-shaped mounds of soil that are pushed up from below the surface of the ground. They can be found in your lawn and/or gardens.
Mole holes or hills are the most obvious sign that you have moles in your yard. But just because you’ve seen a molehill, doesn’t mean it’s an active tunnel. Moles move on after a while to more fertile soil, so look for other signs as well.
Moles dig long and shallow tunnels that run just beneath the surface of the ground. These tunnels can often be seen in the form of raised ridges or furrows in the soil.
Even if they’re shallow, moles prefer to do all their moving around in underground tunnels, so there could be a lot of these.
Moles will also dig deep tunnels or burrows that can reach up to two feet below the surface of the ground.
These burrows are on a much deeper level than tunnels. They can only be seen as small openings in the ground with mounds of soil around them.
Burrows are where your mole populations live, but not together. They are antisocial little animals so if there are multiple moles in your yard, there will be multiple burrows.
In some cases, you may be able to spot small footprints left behind by moles in the soil.
This is definitely a rare sign to find, just because it will take a lot more effort to find those tiny little footprints.
Moles often feed on grubs and other insects, leaving behind small bits of food in the soil. This is another one you may not notice unless you’re intently looking for it.
Signs of Moles in Your Lawn
- Mole footprints
- Food remains
Benefits of moles in your lawn
Before you curse the pesky mole in your yard (like we did), you should know there are benefits to their presence.
If you can get past the mess they make with mole hills and tunnels, you might like these benefits:
Natural Aeration and Erosion Control
Moles actually help aerate the soil in your yard by tunneling and shifting soil particles around as they are going after their food. This helps dry out sod.
Natural aeration can help your plants grow better and be more productive.
Moles dig tunnels and chambers which can help to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion.
Moles eat insects like grubs, which can be a nuisance in your yard. This helps to keep your lawn and garden healthy.
Moles can help improve drainage in your yard by creating tunnels and passageways underground.
These tunnels allow water to move more quickly and efficiently through the soil. This can be especially beneficial if you have a pond or other body of water in your yard.
Improved Soil Structure
The tunnels and chambers created by moles help to improve the structure of the soil. This can help to create better growing conditions for your plants.
Benefits of Moles in Your Yard
- Natural aeration
- Erosion control
- Pest control
- Improved drainage
- Improved soil structure
What attracts moles to your lawn?
Moles are attracted to yards that have a lot of earthworms and other insects. They are also attracted to areas that are moist and have soft, loose soil.
Other factors that may attract moles include piles of organic debris, such as leaves, grass clippings, and mulch; a lack of vegetation; and an abundance of grubs and other small insects.
To prevent a mole infestation in the first place:
- Keep your yard sprayed for bugs, essentially cutting out the moles’ food supply
- Don’t allow standing water in your yard or in your garden
- Keep your yard neat and clean, and dispose of any yard waste on a regular basis (dead grass, leaves, etc)
How to get rid of moles in your lawn
If you see a tell-tale sign of moles in your yard, you have options!
These small rodents are actually not that difficult to get rid of if you just follow a handful of simple steps.
Overall, the best solution for getting rid of moles in your yard is as simple as making it an unappealing environment for them and they’ll move on.
Personally, we chose not to kill the moles, but to try and displace them. However, you are free to get rid of them however you wish. Here are the options available:
Use a repellent
There are a variety of repellents you can get that are designed to deter moles from your yard.
These repellents typically contain castor oil, garlic, or other natural ingredients and must be applied regularly to be effective.
You can also get things like a solar-powered sonic spike.
Eliminate their food supply
Moles feed on grubs, so eliminating the grubs in your yard will help deter them.
To eliminate the grubs, use an insecticide that is specifically designed to kill grubs. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label for proper application.
Moles prefer to travel along edges. You can create barriers that will make it difficult for them to travel in your yard.
Place a metal or plastic mesh along fence lines, garden beds, and other areas that might be attractive to moles.
Fill in tunnels
If you notice mole tunnels in your yard, you can fill them in with soil or sand.
Filling the holes will make it difficult for the moles to re-establish their tunnels. It won’t hurt them, but it will make it frustrating for them to keep having to dig out their tunnels again. Eventually, this will encourage them to move somewhere else.
Trap the moles
Purchase a mole trap from your local hardware store, and set it up according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Check the trap at least once a day. You can relocate the moles as you catch them.
If you prefer to trap moles and kill them, there are different types of traps and poison baits that work that way as well.
To recap, moles are not the worst thing that could happen to your yard, but they can create some challenges.
This is true, especially if you are particular about the appearance of your yard.
Moles are solitary mammals. Just because you see one molehill it doesn’t mean there are a lot of moles running around.
Moles are much different than mice.
If you notice a lot of mole activity in your yard, and you’re worried about having them around, the best approach is to first attempt to drive them away rather than kill them.
Moles have an important part to play in our ecosystem and killing them should be a last resort.
Mole repellents and plastic or wire mesh around your property are effective options for mole control.
Overall, prevention is the best way to deal with moles before they become a problem for you.
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