Though ground moles eat insects that may be pestering your garden, they are a nuisance and can cause extensive damage to your home landscape. Unfortunately, common word-of-mouth, short-cut advice about controlling moles is often ineffective. Create a well-planned strategy to rid your landscape of this problem to avoid a damaged home lawn.
Three species of ground moles are responsible for inhabiting and damaging your home lawn. The star-nosed mole, eastern mole and hairy-tailed mole are the active culprits. Moles produce two to six offspring annually, according to Ohio State University Extension. These pests are partial to moist soil of lawns and wooded areas where they dig underground tunnels, according to University of Missouri Extension.
Moles measure approximately 6 to 8 inches in length and weigh up to 6 ounces, according to OSU Extension. Though they spend most of their time in their underground tunnels, when they surface, they display brown to gray fur with a metallic sheen and long heads with extremely small eyes. Moles appear to lack ears as well as prominent necks, but their strong legs boast large toenails for easy soil navigation, according to Missouri Extension.
The most prevalent damage you will notice to your garden is the presence of tunnels as well as hills of soil. If you see the raised edge of dirt around a hole, you have a mole problem as this is the only animal species that creates this evidence of infestation, according to Missouri Extension. Though ground moles do not cause extensive damage to the health of your home lawn, they cause cosmetic damage, make mowing a challenge and posing a minor threat to plant life when they damage roots while digging. Determine treatments that work for your landscape to avoid damage.
Preventive treatment does not guarantee that ground moles will not show up in your garden, but reducing the likelihood of their presence makes controlling those that do appear up much easier. Options include applying an insecticide like diazinon to control the grubs ground moles feed on, packing soil to lessen moisture content that moles prefer and the use of repellents. Use a repellent that contains the active ingredient castor oil to prevent damage to your landscape, advises Missouri Extension.
The only tried and true solution for ground mole treatment is the use of traps. The available trap types include choker loops, scissor-jaws and harpoons. Your best bet for effective treatment with traps is to locate freshly dug burrows and set your traps on these sites where ground moles are still active. Each trap has very specific instructions that must be followed precisely for humane trapping, according to the OSU Extension. When in doubt, contact a licensed professional for assistance.