There are few things as annoying as seeing mole hills pop up in your otherwise immaculate lawn.
Moles can cause serious damage to your landscape and their mounds can soon damage your grass and plants, even the trees and foundations of your home.
You may wonder which steps you can take to get your lawn back from these pesky critters. There are several effective and humane methods, but also some tailor-made ways to get rid of them.
Without taking some wholly drastic measures, you can rid your lawn of moles for good.
In this guide, we will look at how to identify mole damage, why moles are considered pests, and the many methods you can use to get rid of them from your lawn and backyard.
What's In This Article
How To Determine Damage Caused By Moles
Many methods can help you identify and determine damage to your backyard that has been caused by moles. It may seem similar to the effects of voles, mice, or other rodents yet moles create damage that contains their own characteristics.
There are four signs that you should look out for which include molehills, mounds, dead grass, and chunks of dirt.
Yes, molehills are not that big, and certainly are not mountain-sized, yet they can cause serious disruption to your lawn.
The molehills are a result of the moles digging their tunnels and as the dirt is extracted it accumulates on the surface.
Effectively, the molehill will indicate the entrance to a mole’s tunnel and is evidence of the excavation of dirt from under the surface, such as your lawn or garden beds.
You should be aware that gophers also create entrance and exit mounds. The key difference between their mounds and that of a mole is the distance between them.
A gopher will create mounds that are close together, but molehills should be around six feet apart.
You may also notice that the lawn seems slightly raised and there are underground ridges or trenches caused by their digging.
The actual appearance of the mounds can also help you differentiate between whether it was a mole or a vole. Voles tend to leave quarter-sized burrow entrances and not large mounds of soil.
They tend to appear during early spring when the temperature rises and the snow melts.
If you do fear that voles are causing the damage then this may be a bigger issue as, while moles tend to act alone, voles live in large colonies.
Dead Grass Patches
In constructing their tunnels, moles will disrupt the root systems underneath your lawn.
You may not see any mounds, yet the grass on the surface will be affected by the tunnels and if you do see dead patches of grass then this is a strong indicator that moles have been around.
The damage caused to your lawn is largely evident in spring, early summer, then again in fall. You may not notice it during the heat of summer as the moles will excavate at a deeper level.
Chunks Of Dirt
Due to how moles excavate the dirt in your backyard, you should be able to tell whether it was them or another type of creature.
For instance, moles dig the ground up in chunks whereas gophers turn the soil into a smooth powder so make sure you check the consistency of the dirt.
Then again, if you wanted to make sure it was not voles or mice you can check the root systems or plants for nibble or gnaw marks as moles only go for earthworms, grubs, and centipedes as they are insectivores.
Why Moles Are Considered Pests
For the simple reason that they cause so much damage to a lawn, you can consider a mole to be a pest.
The tunneling through the soil that lies in your backyard can cause havoc with your lawn and garden beds.
Through a particularly heavy infestation, the ground in your backyard can become unstable and even damage your property’s foundations.
Not only can the backyard of a home suffer, but moles can cause extensive damage to golf courses by digging up to four meters every hour.
Within no time at all, there can be an intricate tunneling system underneath the ground that can severely damage the surface. Before they create some serious damage, you should be looking to rid your backyard of moles.
How To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Backyard
Several home remedies can help you rid your backyard of moles, and they can range from eliminating their source of food to creating natural barriers.
You may even enjoy the plants that effectively repel moles and keeping your lawn and garden beds in pristine condition is only going to be a good thing.
Apply Mole Repellent
There is a homemade recipe that you can concoct to act as a mole repellent that can be effective when facing an infestation.
You only need three parts of castor oil to a single part of dish soap which you can then mix in with a gallon of water.
If you do have mole entrances, mounds, and tunnels then you can distribute this repellent to soak them. This is a humane option as the castor oil merely causes a digestive upset for moles, so they will soon be put off visiting your backyard again.
Other types of mole repellent include granular and liquid products. Granular mole repellent can be distributed over a soil surface using a drop spreader and also includes castor oil as well as several other ingredients chosen to get rid of moles.
These create taste cues and generally an unwelcome environment that is tailored to repel moles. While it should not kill or poison them, the moles will feel forced to leave your backyard.
You could also opt for liquid mole repellent which is also based on castor oil.
You can make your own using the recipe detailed above, yet you can also buy some that comes already prepared and with a hose-end sprayer.
This may be easier to distribute than granular mole repellent, and you could cover a larger area quickly.
You can check out mole repellents here.
Eliminating Their Source Of Food
Moles are likely visiting your backyard to feast on the grubs that inhabit the ground. If you get rid of the grubs and those insects that the moles love to eat then the moles will head off to somewhere else.
Find yourself some milky spore or beneficial nematodes that can kill off grubs and mitigate their populations. However, for an even more effective result just use an insecticide.
Use Certain Plants As A Repellent
Certain plants act as natural repellents to moles due to their strong smell. You may also enjoy how planting some marigolds, daffodils, and a plant from the allium family spruces up your landscaping.
Simply arrange these plant species to surround your garden or have them in raised beds if you want to look out for your root systems.
Of course, you will have to look after the plants themselves, yet this is a safe, humane, and beneficial addition to your lawn.
Regularly Tidy Your Lawn
That’s right, by keeping your lawn in excellent condition you can also prevent moles from invading it.
This is largely because moles feel at their safest when undercover, by trimming the lawn and keeping your garden beds nicely manicured you can prevent moles.
To make this an even more effective method, try to avoid using particularly thick layers of mulch to cover garden beds and remove any lingering debris such as wood stacks or cloths.
If you do regularly water your lawn then you may consider doing this less frequently as the excess moisture brings in insects which attract moles.
This may be quite time-consuming yet by digging a trench you can create an effective and even invisible human-made boundary that surrounds your garden and lawn.
The trench only needs to be about two feet deep and can be six inches wide then go around the area that you want to protect from moles.
Once the trench has been dug, fill it up with rocks and cover it back up. You could also line the trench with wire mesh that physically stops a mole from burrowing into your backyard.
If you have a cat or dog then you can let them loose in your backyard in an attempt to spook the invading moles.
A barking and running dog can be particularly effective and their attempts at warding off the moles can keep them entertained for hours.
A cat can also prove to be a repellent as they take their time to wait for a mole to make an appearance from the underground then scare them off.
Of course, you can always call in the experts and arrange for professional pest control to make a visit. This is one of the most effective ways to deal with moles as they simply know exactly what to do.
If the mole infestation is particularly heavy or proves persistent then you can forget the DIY methods should they prove ineffective.
Pest control and, specifically, mole removal services, can be incredibly effective, fast, and generally inexpensive.
How Not To Get Rid Of Moles In Your Backyard
There are several humane methods to rid moles from your backyard. Some can beautify your garden and lawn even more while others only need a bit of time and effort.
Certain methods claim to be effective yet should not really be attempted.
Molecat Extermination Kit
An extermination kit sure does not sound humane and a small-caliber charge is anything but.
Yes, it may dissuade moles from coming into your backyard, yet it can be an expensive measure that might not even work.
There are battery or solar-powered devices that can vibrate and emit a buzzing sound that can scare moles away.
Yet as a mole lurks underground, the devices have to be placed strategically and all over the garden to prove effective.
While using poison may be an effective deterrent for moles, it may also be harmful to anything else that comes into contact with it.
That could be your lawn, plants, or even children and pets. Poison should typically be a last resort as it can prove so dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are moles attracted to my backyard?
You may not want to believe it, but your backyard may be the ideal habitat for a mole to burrow, feed, and even breed.
Moles love eating bugs and some species can get through their entire body weight by just consuming insects in a single day.
These insects include white grubs, beetles, and earthworms so if your backyard has these in plentiful supply then it will attract moles to build their elaborate burrows.
The temperature of the soil in your backyard may also attract moles as they particularly enjoy cool and moist soil to regulate their body temperature.
Certain landscaping elements such as paths and fence rows can be followed by moles when they construct their main runways.
You could see them, or their mounds, popping up along your hedge where the moles will burrow to locate those insects that inhabit the root systems.
How should I trap moles?
The first step to trapping moles is to find the tunnels which should not be too difficult as the entrance will be marked by a molehill.
If the molehills have been there for a prolonged period then stamp over it then return to it the next day to check if it has been dug out overnight.
Grab a trowel and dig out some dirt to create a space to place the trap then compact the dirt underneath to prevent the moles from digging under it.
These traps can either be a scissor trap or a harpoon trap, either one can be pushed into the dirt along an active mole run or entrance.
To hide the trap, sprinkle some soil over then cover the hole with a large enough plant pot. This should ensure that your pets or children do not inadvertently get themselves caught in the trap.
Whenever the mole encounters a trap it will be triggered and the mole has a quick and painless death.
If the trap proves successful, you should be able to remove a deceased mole the next day and the death should prove effective in dissuading any other moles from creating further damage.
Obviously, this is not a humane way of dealing with moles, but it can prove very effective, even if you do have to deal with the remains.
Those moral concerns may be irrelevant as some states, such as Washington, have banned their use, so you may have to check with a local authority or get a trapping permit.
An infestation of moles can be a true menace to your lawn and landscaping. Those molehills and mounds are only an indication of the damage that they have caused underground.
To get rid of moles, choose a humane and effective method such as eliminating the insects that they feed on and introducing plants that they truly detest.
If these methods prove ineffective then there are some less humane methods such as mole traps or poison that you can use though you would likely be better off contacting your local pest control.