Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How Do I Know If I Have a Mole in My Yard?

taupinières image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com

A network of raised tunnels just under the surface of the soil is your first indication of a mole problem. Follow the raised tunnels to see where they lead and you may find additional evidence that furry critters are living in your landscaped areas. Because of the damage moles can do to plants, most homeowners seek to eradicate moles when they discover them.

Examine your lawn and other planting areas for evidence of moles. Moles characteristically create a network of raised tunnels snaking in and through a landscape area. In fact, according to the North Carolina State University Extension website, moles are capable of tunneling as far as 15 feet per hour. With these tunneling capabilities, moles can quickly create an extensive network of tunnels throughout a gardener’s landscape.

Look carefully at the entrance areas of the raised tunnels. If you see a soil mound that resembles a volcano (a coned molehill), this indicates a mole is responsible for the landscape damage. If you see a soil mound that looks like a mine dump and the soil is off to an edge of the tunnel entrance, this indicates a gopher is responsible for the landscape damage.

Step your foot down onto one of the raised tunnels. If it is a mole tunnel, as you press your weight down on the tunnel, it will return to soil level. This is because moles make these temporary tunnels just under the surface of the soil as they travel looking for food. Moles also have deeper tunnels between 1 and 2 feet beneath the soil, and the temporary raised tunnels connect with the deeper tunnels.

Rid Of Moles

It can be a shocking experience to look out the window and discover that your pristine lawn has been ravaged by ridges extending in every direction and punctuated by mounds of dirt. The animal responsible for this type of damage is probably a mole. Unlike other burrowing pests like gophers and voles, moles are territorial and prefer to live alone, but even a solitary mole can deface the lawn with molehills and undermine it with tunnels. Unlike gophers, shrews and voles, moles are not rodents, and they don't eat plant roots. The damage is a byproduct of of their incessant tunneling activity in search of food. It's difficult to get rid of a mole. It has a long snout, paddle-like front paws and no visible eyes. Cats and dogs love to dig for moles, and if your pet delivers one to your living room, you'll note its somewhat pudgy body, short tail and luxurious fur. Farmers and homeowners have, over the years, tried all kinds of innovative ways to deter moles. The idea is that, when placed on molehills, the noise will scare the mole away. Flooding the tunnels: The only things worse than a yard riddled with mole tunnels is a yard riddled with tunnels full of water. There's a good chance of a cave-in, and the mole will probably just move somewhere else until things dry out. Fumigating: People have tried smoking out moles with car exhaust, and you can even attempt to do the job with store-bought smoke bombs. Poison: You can spread poison on the lawn to kill grubs, which are a mole's favorite food, and the animal will then probably start eating worms. Brute force: Some people recommend watching the tunnels for signs of movement and stabbing the ground with a shovel. Any damage they do is inadvertent. You can also buy live traps for moles. One such trap is cylindrical and fits inside an active tunnel. It catches any mole that passes by in a compartment so you can transport the mole elsewhere and release it. Exclusion: Surround the roots of plants you want to keep with gopher screen or hardware cloth. Use the smallest mesh available, because moles can squeeze through small openings. Spray the mixture on the lawn with a garden sprayer.

Garden Guides
×