Every year as the gardening season arrives, the thought of moles that you may have to battle with is of great concern. Through their underground burrowing activities, heavy European mole (Talpa europaea) infestation will cause valid concerns for your vegetation if not resolved.
Know the early signs of moles and be ready with all-natural solutions to resolve and drive them from your garden and lawn early.
Signs of Infestation
The earliest sign that you have moles in your yard or garden will most likely come from the dirt hills showing up. These mole hills appear all over, as they 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.
Plant damage can be a more advanced sign of issues related to the displacement of roots, or exposure through their tunneling activities.
How to Get Rid of Moles in the Garden Naturally
Utilizing your preferred choice, or a combination of these natural methods can help rid your garden of them and prevent recurrences.
Most of these are household items while the others are safe and natural commercial mole repellents. These products contain only natural ingredients that are safe for use on your organic farm.
1. Eliminate Grubs
Grubs being one of the moles’ favorite snacks, follows that eliminating this food selection can deter them from new homes.
This does not eliminate their food choices, but enough that you should see a decrease in them.
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.
2. Castor Oil
By far, one of the most noted repellents of moles is castor oil. Applied to the soil, the smell and taste turn them off.
When ingested, castor oil will upset their digestive system 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 the critters will burrow to get away from this. The result would be more damage if not appropriately controlled.
3. Plant Barriers
Known plant deterrents for moles include:
- Mole plant (caper spurge)
- Castor beans
These can be planted around gardens and lawns to deter them. They also can add beauty to your yard, and control pests below the soil to other plants in turn.
4. Holy Moley
One ready-to-use option to repel the critters is Holy Moly by St. Gabriel Organics. This mixture of castor oil and fuller’s earth has a taste and smell that repels the critters.
Fuller’s Earth is used in many 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.
5. Victor M & G Repellent
This is another natural product containing 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.
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 them. Move out slowly, systemically applying it to drive them away.
Victor Mole can be bought in resealable bags for ease of use and is tested safe around children and pets.
6. Chase Granular Repellent
This is a granular castor oil compound that will be ingested, and cause them to want not to repeat this snack.
Driving them away will again cause a temporary uptick in activity as they try to find untreated areas to retreat to get away from the granular.
Chase Granular is spread much like other repellents by hand or spreader and should be watered after application for absorption into the soil.
7. Root Guard
If looking for mole traps, this deterrent for use in flower or vegetable gardens is a basket for your plant and stops them 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.
8. Dig a Trench
Another pretty simple solution is to dig 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 they 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.
9. Coffee Grounds
Applying coffee grounds directly to holes found in your yard or garden, deter them 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 it, 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 by creating a more common food source.
Moles are tiny mammals that are labeled insectivores. They spend their lives burrowing for food (insects) underground.
They 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 them, 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?
These creatures are mammal-labeled insectivores for their choice foods of grubs, earthworms, centipedes, and insect larvae. All choices are found deep within the soil of gardens, lawns, and the like.
It 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 is what can cause concerns for roots.
They 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.
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 are about the size of a squirrel with moles, about an equivalent in height to a human thumb. Their holes are more substantial, generally set at an angle, and they prefer dry soil.
- Gophers have excellent eyesight and readily seen eyes, where moles are blind, and eyes are hidden. They are comfortable above ground and sometimes are seen away from their homes.
- Moles will gravitate toward moist soil and only leave their home to burrow for more delectable snacks.
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 control methods and you will enjoy all the benefits of a garden free of those eyesore burrows, dying plants, and holes.