While admiring your recently groomed landscape, you notice a raised dirt trail snaking its way through the yard. No mole is going to destroy your lush sea of green grass or ruin your veggies. But before you go into combat mode and start acting like Bill Murray in Caddyshack, take a breath. There might be a simpler (more natural) way to battle moles and other pests without having to resort to land mines.
Know Thine Enemy
Bill Murray’s plan for troublesome rodents works fine – especially for laughs. Why not learn a little bit about the pesky mole, first? They are insectivores and from the same family as bats. Their main diet consists of insects, grubs and larvae like earthworms. They are around 4-8 inches in length with paddle-like front feet and have little to no vision. What moles are best at is digging. They can tunnel up to 100 ft per day. Only one other mole skill may rival this – they eat day and night.
Traps Aren’t the Only Way
How do you battle this underground critter? Experts say that traps work the best at eliminating moles, raccoons and other pests, but we’d prefer to go a more humane route first. Home remedies have had spotty success, but they are worth a try. Many of these measures need to be taken before you plant your gardens. However, if your yard consistently has moles and other pests then you may find them helpful.
- Trench around your garden – Dig a trench around your garden to force moles and other burrowing pests to tunnel in a new direction. Keep in mind though, this isn’t practical for a large garden or lawn and the labor is intense.
- Line your garden bed with wire – Dig down deep enough to place a layer of wire mesh in the bottom and along the sides of your garden area. This will force the pests to seek easier food sources.
- Eliminate grubs – Getting rid of one of the mole’s favorite foods will cause them to seek elsewhere. The only problem is that earthworms are still available in your garden and you need them to keep your soil healthy.
- Sprinkle kitty litter – By spreading kitty litter into the mole holes the smell will deter the moles from returning to the tunnel. Unfortunately they will dig alternate ones.
Plants that Chase Pests Away
A natural way to eliminate a wide variety of pests including moles, raccoons and even the heinous mosquito is to practice companion gardening. For years farmers have been planting “companion” plants in their vegetable gardens to create a vegetative barrier that deters insects and pests. Companion plants are ones that pests have a natural aversion to like marigolds, daffodils and Crown Imperial (Fritillarias). Adding these plants around your lawn or garden may help deter moles, raccoons and squirrels from eating away at your veggies or flowers.
Here is a short list of plants and the pest/s they repel:
- Calendula (pot marigold) – raccoons and dogs (not a true marigold, so moles will not be repelled)
- Castor beans – moles (poisonous, so keep away from small children and pets)
- Crown Imperial – rabbits, mice, moles, voles and ground squirrels
- Daffodils – moles and deer
- Garlic – aphids, Japanese beetles and rabbits
- Lavender – moths, fleas and mosquitoes
- Mexican Marigolds – insects, rabbits and moles
- Mole Plant – moles and ground squirrels (poisonous, so keep away from small children and pets)
- Oregano – pests in general
Put Down the Dynamite
Keeping critters at bay doesn’t have to be a war of wills. There are natural solutions you can try before you turn to setting traps or using chemicals. Surrounding your garden or lawn with plants that naturally repel pests looks great and won’t poison your soil. It’s a win-win. Besides, if you do go all “Caddyshack” and dynamite the mole holes, you will eventually have to fill them back in. So leave the explosives alone.
If you are determined to go with a chemical deterrent, then check out our blog post Protecting Plants from Pests, for the lowdown on safely using pesticides to ward off unwanted visitors to your lawn or garden.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From trenchers to wheel barrows and shovels, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.