Every year as the gardening season arrives, the thought of pests that you will do battle with must be considered.
Moles are one such pest that, through their under-soil burrowing activities, will cause valid concerns for your vegetation if not resolved.
Know the early signs of these pests and be ready with all-natural solutions to resolve and drive them from your garden and lawn early with this information.
What are Moles?
Moles are tiny mammals that are labeled insectivores. They spend their lives burrowing for food (insects) underground.
Moles live only about three years and have a strange body shape consisting of extended snouts, hairy bodies, and paws that appear to flap.
Additionally, when looking at a mole, they appear to have no eyes and will be approximately 4 to 6.25 inches long.
They can have babies inside of 42 days before giving birth. These babies then take about 33 days to mature, ready to begin burrowing on their own.
What do Moles Eat?
Moles are a mammal labeled insectivores for its choice foods of grubs, earthworms, centipedes, and insect larvae. All food choices are found deep within the soil of gardens, lawns, and the like.
A mole burrows deep in the ground in search of its food and will consume its body weight daily in insects. This sounds like good news, and they do serve a purpose in their culling of the insect population.
Unfortunately, the incessant burrowing to find their food is what can cause concerns for roots and, in turn, gardens.
Moles will not snack directly on plants but rather cause root issues with burrowing. If the plant exhibits direct damage due to being bitten; this will be possibly a gopher or vole and not a mole.
Signs Your Garden Has Moles
The earliest signs you have a mole infestation will most likely come from the molehills showing up. These dirt hills appear all over your garden, as the moles begin their descent underground to build feeder tunnels.
Feeder tunnels where they find the food necessary for their survival can run in erratic patterns. This will become noticeable from grass that starts dying as the roots are injured beneath the surface by moles.
Plant damage in gardens can be a more advanced sign of issues related to the displacement of roots, or exposure through moles tunneling activities.
Voles vs Moles
Voles will eat roots and the bark of trees above and below soil lines.
Unlike the damage of displacement and burrowing caused by moles, vole damage will be much more pronounced in the appearance of plants they have used to munch on.
Voles look like field mice with short tails, while moles don’t have eyes and ears that are clearly visible. Moles also have digging claws and a pointed snout, while voles do not.
Gophers vs Moles
Gophers are about the size of a squirrel with moles, about an equivalent in height to a human thumb. Gopher holes are more substantial, generally set at an angle, and they prefer dry soil. Moles will gravitate toward moist.
Gophers have excellent eyesight and readily seen eyes, where moles are blind, and eyes are hidden.
Finally, gophers are comfortable above ground and sometimes are seen away from their homes. Moles only leave their home to burrow for more delectable snacks.
How to Get Rid of Moles Naturally
Utilizing your preferred choice, or a combination of these natural methods can help rid your garden of moles and prevent recurrences.
1. Eliminate Grubs
Grubs being one of the moles’ favorite snacks, follows that eliminating these mole’s food selection can deter them from new homes.
This does not eliminate their food choices, but enough that you should see a decrease in moles.
Tilling soil, adding beneficial nematodes, or even lemon juice are ways to ward them off.
These other natural remedies can get rid of grubs and hopefully you’ll see a diminishing amount of root damage from moles.
2. Plant Barriers
Known plant deterrents for moles include daffodils, marigolds, alliums, and others can be planted around gardens and lawns to deter moles.
Other plants such as mole plant (caper spurge) and castor beans, containing castor oil known to be one of the best mole deterrents, are excellent.
Also, they shouldn’t be used if pets or children are present.
This natural deterrent method can add beauty to your yard, and control pests below the soil to other plants in turn.
3. Dig a Trench
Another pretty simple solution to the mole invasion in your garden would be a trench.
A barrier of rock or wire lined six inches wide, and two feet deep will help keep burrowing animals away.
Ideally, filling this with gravel, along with a lining at the bottom of the mesh can add stability, and a wall moles frequently will turn.
When they hit this wall in their tunnel space, they will be forced to retrace or head another direction. This will give your plant roots a reprieve.
4. Castor Oil
By far, one of the most noted repellents of moles is castor oil. Applied to the soil, the smell and taste turn moles off.
When ingested, castor oil will upset their digestive tract which leads to an upset stomach.
Whether applying through compounds such as those discussed below or to smaller areas diluted in homemade solutions, this is a fabulous natural deterrent.
Ensuring you apply in concentric patterns and methodically is essential, as moles will burrow to get away from this. The result would be more damage if not appropriately controlled.
5. Safe and Natural Commercial Mole Repellents
These mole control products use natural ingredients and are all safe for use in your organic garden.
One ready-to-use option to repel moles in your garden is Holy Moly by St. Gabriel Organics. This mixture of castor oil and fuller’s earth has a taste and smell that repels these critters.
Fuller’s Earth is used in many mole repellent products as it is the clay material that helps preserve the smell.
When bound with castor oil, it will last longer than if the oil alone was applied directly to the soil surface.
This compound is safe to use in organic vegetable gardens. A 10-pound bag can treat 5,000 square feet for up to six weeks.
Victor Mole & Gopher Repellent
This is another natural mole repellent made of castor oil and fuller’s earth.
The mixture is applied to a garden or lawn area in stages. It repels burrowing animals such as moles, voles, and Gophers from the space.
It is important to remember this mixture that repels through smell, and taste should be applied in stages to your garden.
Application in one fell swoop can cause them to burrow more frenetically to try and escape the smell and cause additional concerns.
Start in a healthy part of your garden, not looking to have already been impacted by moles. Move out slowly, systemically applying this mixture to drive them from the area.
Victor Mole can be bought in resealable bags for ease of use and is tested safe around children and pets.
Chase Granular Mole & Gopher Repellent
This mole repellent is a granular castor oil compound that will be ingested, and cause them to want not to repeat this snack. It works on gophers too.
Driving them from a garden with this will again cause a temporary uptick in activity as they try to find untreated areas to retreat to get away from the granular.
They are eventually leaving the garden being treated to other areas away from your garden.
Chase Granular is spread much like other repellents by hand or spreader and should be water after application for absorption into the soil.
If looking for mole traps, this deterrent for use in flower or vegetable gardens actually is a basket for your plant and deters moles from chewing on roots.
This works by use of 20-gauge wire that is galvanized to help eliminate rust.
Choose a basket one size more significant than the root bulb of the plant it protects, which will allow for growth while keeping pests away.
Simply shape the basket when removed from the packaging and place it in the pre-dug hole.
Plant, water, and fertilize as you usually would and let root guard go to work.
6. Coffee Grounds
Applying coffee grounds directly to holes found in the garden, deter moles from returning to the area.
Unfortunately, this method does require you to find all holes and applying the grounds. Also, when rain dissipates the effectiveness of the grounds, it needs to be reapplied.
One thing to note is that grubs, which are the primary food source for moles, actually enjoy coffee grounds.
So this remedy, if not carefully monitored, could backfire in your garden area by creating a more common food source.
Diligent application to hills, though, can make this a cheaper natural resource for mole repelling.
As the first molehill appears and you know this subsoil mammals have arrived, be prepared to deter naturally.
Smells such as castor oil applied in a variety of ways, or plant barriers that also do not appeal to their noses are an excellent natural repellent.
Insects can be kept in control by these pests, and thus they do serve a purpose. Balancing them with healthy gardens will make a plan of attack.
Try these natural mole traps and control methods and you will enjoy all the benefits of a garden free of those eyesore burrows, dying plants, and holes.