How to Get Rid of Moles in a Garden


Moles are small insectivores, ranging in size from 6 to 8 inches long and weighing 3 to 6 oz. North America is home to six species of mole, and although all of them eat worms and insects instead of plants, their burrowing tunnels cause unsightly damage to lawns and other garden areas. The tunnels can harm the roots of plants and they also give other bothersome small animals such as gophers hiding places and ready-made travel lanes. Cultural methods, traps and toxicants can help to rid your garden of moles.

Step 1

Begin your mole eradication project as soon as possible after you first notice their tunnels and are able to determine that moles are responsible. Because moles reproduce and spread quickly, it's best to "nip them in the bud."

Step 2

Mow your lawn low to the ground and make it a less hospitable environment for moles by watering it less. Because lawns are one of the primary habitats for moles, you might consider turning some of your lawn into flower or vegetable beds.

Step 3

Insert mothballs into the moles' runways. The strong smell will deter these animals but will not kill them. A commercial repellent called "Thiram" can also be useful in protecting flower bulbs from moles.

Step 4

Place one trap in each tunnel. The types of traps that are effective against moles are harpoon, scissor-jaw or choker-loop traps. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you use such devices in a safe manner.

Step 5

Use a toxicant if your mole problem is severe. The only type of toxicant the U.S. government has approved is zinc phosphate, which usually is added to grain as a bait.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not attempt to shoot moles. This can be a dangerous activity and you'll probably miss them.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn mower
  • Mothballs
  • Thiram
  • Traps
  • Toxicant with zinc phosphate


  • Ohio State University Extension: Effective Mole Control
  • University of Missouri Extension: Controlling Nuisance Moles

Who Can Help

  • The Mole Man: Mole Control
Keywords: garden pests, mole control, lawn traps

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.