The appearance of molehills in lawns often sends gardeners into a state of despair. Often seen as one of the garden’s biggest pests, ground moles create large pyramid-shaped mounds of earth, the byproduct of digging underground tunnels, which ultimately spoils the look of a manicured lawn. Unfortunately, some removal methods cause the creatures unnecessary suffering – so how can moles be removed humanely? Find out with expert advice from Essex turf grower and supplier, Paynes Turf.
Rarely seen in the garden, moles are solitary creatures and live underground feeding on earthworms and other creatures, and not on plants or grass as is widely believed. As moles dig their network of underground tunnels, they excavate the surplus soil above ground, which ends up on the lawn. For the gardener, this means that molehills will have to be removed before the lawn can be mowed, and also collapsed surface tunnels will need to be filled in in order to maintain a level lawn.
How to remove ground moles from your garden
Humane methods of removal can work, but unfortunately this often means that the moles simply move to another area of the garden where they will begin work digging out new tunnels.
One of the most effective ways of preventing moles from creating molehills is to install mole netting. Unfortunately, this special netting must be installed under new turf. So if you’re thinking about laying new turf, consider installing mole netting before you do so – it could prevent any future problems with moles in your lawn.
Traps are an effective, humane, and inexpensive way of catching moles. Simply dig into a mole tunnel and place a jar or half barrel so that the open part is level with the bottom of the tunnel. Cover the tunnel with a wooden board or bucket so the light doesn’t reach inside. As the mole scurries through the tunnel, it will drop into the container. Make sure that you check the trap at least twice a day to see if the mole has been caught inside, and then release it at least one mile away into a suitable environment, providing you have the landowner’s permission.
Electronic devices which send out high pitched buzzing noises and claim to scare moles away are available online and from some garden centres. Inexpensive to buy, they are worth a try but often result in the moles simply moving to a different area of the garden.
Mole repellents, in the form of smoke, give off castor oil fumes that fill the tunnels and discourage the moles from entering. As with the electronic device method of mole removal, the moles may leave the garden completely, or just start to dig in another place.