Dealing With Moles In Your Lawn
Moles can cause serious issues for lawn enthusiasts by digging up your lawn causing mole hills which look particularly unsightly and of course are no good when it comes to mowing your lawn. They can cause considerable damage to newly seeded lawns as well as sports pitches as they damage roots during their tunnelling activities.
A moles main source of food is worms and other soil invertebrates so controlling the amount of worms in your lawn will go a long way to preventing moles coming into your garden in the first place. However do remember earthworms are also very important for soil aeration, health and fertility. Keeping your lawn free of thatch and leaf debris will also help as this can create a haven for worms.
For those that may be reading this from overseas a mole is around 15-20 cm in length with a thin tail. The mole's eyes are concealed by hair. They have pink feet with fingernail-type claws that are able to dig rapidly into a lawn. An 80g mole consumes about 50g of worms a day. Moles have poor eyesight and use touch, hearing and smell to detect their prey and to help them sense danger. Females produce litters of three to five young. Their average lifespan is three years.
Moles can thrive in a variety of situations, but attacks are more likely in sandy, free-draining soils and in turf areas that are poorly maintained and have little use- so fingers crossed you shouldn't have an issue with them if you're regularly maintaining your lawn. Mole activity is greatest in gardens in late winter and early spring, although new tunnels can appear at any time of the year.Turf areas provide a food source for moles, in the form of earthworms; there is evidence of a direct link between the worm population and the amount of mole activity.
Moles build an extensive network of both deep and surface tunnels. The tunnels act as the mole's living quarters. The mole, creating molehills, may push up these tunnels. Moles are active all year round and can tunnel underground at a rate of 12-15 feet per hour with surface tunnels being built at 1 foot per minute so they can cause some serious damage in a short space of time.
Trapping is the best method for short-term control, however, it is not permanent. Areas will quickly be re-infested because of the wandering habits of moles. Traps should be placed in primary runways and around holes that are continuously re-opened. It may be best to get a professional in to ensure the moles are dispatched of humanely. Methods of deterrent can also be used instead such as vibration and noise devices. If you're happy to let the moles live and let live so to speak you will need to repair the damage as it happens. It will be a case of pushing the soil back into the hole manually with a hosepipe to help. Bear in mind thought that the next morning the mole damage will probably be back!