Moles - destroying my yard!!

MariposaTraicionera(7)March 23, 2011

Last year, while busy taking care of mother, I tried ignoring the holes I saw popping up in the front yard. Then I noticed they got bigger and continued into the back yard.

Short of going out and getting something way too dangerous for me to handle (POISON!), how does one get rid of moles or at least direct them to my least favourite neighbour's yard? LOL

Is there a cure? Why would the turn up by me and not the neighbours on either side of me?


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We've learned to live with them. I read that gophers make the hills and eat vegetation, and moles make the tunnels and eat bugs. For all of our cinder block vegetable beds, we lined the bottom with galvanized chicken wire, it's been a pretty good defense, but one still found his way in there.

I watched one pluck a cypress vine sprout right down into the tunnel, I was so mad, I feel like I am laying out a buffet for them sometimes.

I'd love to hear some ideas, my husband actually got one with the claw end of a hammer once. ew.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:39PM
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As a transplanted city-girl...I feel your pain. We have 2 and a half acres, right next door to my in-laws...who never do a THING about the varmits. Which means they seem to always get out of control and head over to our place.

This is spring and I've heard this is the reproductive season for them. What I do is spread bug granules all over the immediate yard and garden areas. This kill the grubs that they're wanting to feast on. Next, I buy both the castor oil granules and liquid spray. I spread the granules all over the same areas and then spray on top of that. This gives me about a 3 to 4 month window of protection. I can't remember the brand name, but I find it at either Ace Hardware, Lowes or Atwoods. As a last resort, I use poison rice pellets which I put directly down in the "run".

Good luck. Not only are they destructive, but I've darned near broke my fool neck when a "run" caved in as I was walking across the yard.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Mariposa?

How's life treating you these days?

As for why they're in your yard and not your neighbors' yards, my best guess is that either your neighbors have treated their yards for grubs and insects so the yards are not as attractive to them, or that they've treated their yards with the kind of castor oil repellents that Paula mentioned and the varmints have fled to your yard.

We had a lot of moles and gophers when we first moved here, but our cats and in particular one great hunter named Moose kept them under control. Moose is long gone and the varmints moved back in late winter, and I bought and used the castor oil products like the ones Paula mentioned. They worked just fine.

Cats sometimes will control moles, gophers or moles as Moose once did for us, but in our location, we have had a big resurgence of serious predators the last 3 or 4 years. Consequently, we don't let the cats stay outside after dark and, therefore, our cats don't seem to have much impact on the moles or gophers like they used to, although they willingly hunt voles all day long....and bring them to me after they kill them.

Good luck with your rodent problem. After you take care of these, you can treat your lawn in summer for grubs to discourage them from coming back. I don't know what the chemical control for grubs is nowadays but the stores are full of them and I see them all the time. I use the organic control known as Milky Spore Powder and I buy it at a garden center that carries a full line of organic products. You also can order Milky Spore online.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:16PM
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I'm fighting a losing battle with moles as well. We've tried poison pellets, traps, smoke bombs, drowning, grub killers, and they're still in my hard. One of them even branched off into my neighbor's yard, which I feel kinda bad about, and it even collapsed part of my asphalt driveway in the process.

Does the castor oil repellant need to be watered in? I want to do something now, but it doesn't look like we'll be getting any rain for at least another week or so. I'd like to fertilize the lawn at some point too, so this dry weather is becoming quite a nuisance.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:24PM
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I'm a live and let live sort save stink bugs, squash bugs and cuc beatles and squash vine bores and lutherens. Folk magic suggests droping a moth ball down the mole hole. Maybe a clup cat urine soaked litter. Last year in my small tomatoe bed I poure a witch's brew of garlic, mint, datura tea ( jimson weed) and a dash of dish soap down the holes, bongo bingo bango
no more moles. Moles are a sensetive creature , those clackity spinning sun flowers or a homemade pop bottle on a stick devices might help

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 5:31PM
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tulsastorm(z6 Tulsa OK)

It might help to first identify what you have. Moles primarily eat insects and tunnel close to the surface. Grub killer will help with moles. Gophers eat plants and their tunnels can go several feet down.

It is the gophers that are a real nuisance in my yard. My lawn is always a disgrace with bare spots, raised tunnels, and mounds. Entire hostas literally disappear overnight. They can kill a prized shrub in no time. Fortunately, they haven't invaded the raised beds. Last year, i started putting chicken wire around the roots of shrubs I planted in the ground. So far, so good. My neighbor and I have tried several things with very little luck. The castor oil granules/spray just seems to drive them crazy and cause them to do twice as much damage. Mole traps are useless as they tunnel so deep. I'm not crazy about using more lethal methods especially those that might harm my pets. Like some other folks said, I just try to live with them and minimize the amount of damage they can do. If someone has a surefire way to get rid of them, I'm all ears.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Is that an official forecast? (grin)

I'd say do whatever the label on your product says. The one we bought at Lowe's was made by a company called "Sweeney's" and the granules were in a yellow bag and the spray was in a yellow bottle. In addition to the repellents, they had some sort of poison pellets but we have pets and a lot of wildlife and wouldn't put out poison, so I hope the repellents work.
The granules were in a shaker bag or you could put them in a fertilizer spreader and disperse them that way. The bag gave explicit directions, saying to choose the placement of the granules carefully to direct the moles away from areas they had not yet you'd want to put the granules at the edge where undamaged lawn or garden meets damaged lawn or garden. The granules are to serve as a barrier, pushing the little varmints back into the area they've already dug up and keeping them from infiltrating new areas. There was a little chart on the back showing how to apply some of the product daily for 4 days, and to water it in for 20 minutes, to force them back a little more each day. Each day you water the new area where you've just spread granules plus the previously treated area to water the granules in a bit more deeply every day.

The package did have a warning on it that you should not apply the product to the entire lawn in one application or the moles or gophers would tunnel wildly in every direction to escape the product and the result would be more damage than you already have.

With the liquid, it is in a hose-end spray bottle so you just attach it to your garden hose and spray at the highest pressure you can. It says a one quart bottle will cover a 100' x 100' area, and tells you to continue spraying water into the ground after you've used all the product, but doesn't say for how long. I'd think you'd probably do it for at least the same 20 minutes as with the granular product, although that's an assumption on my part since the directions on the bottle didn't say for how long...they just said "continue to spray with water to soak this product into the soil".

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:22PM
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Dawn, I'm going off what my forecaster fiancee said and the NWS forecast, so I guess it's official, lol. We've had slight rain chances in the forecast for weeks and nada, so I'm not banking on the 20% chance tomorrow night working out either. The next good chance looks to be Sunday, but a lot can change by then. Of course, that's the forecast for central OK so it may be different elsewhere.

I read in a mole forum elsewhere here on Gardenweb that Juicy Fruit of all things can kill moles. They try to eat it and can't digest it. They just said you have to make sure not to touch the stick of gum before shoving it down into the tunnel, because they'll pick up on your scent. I'm going to try that and cat urine clumps, and if neither of those work I'm going to call a pro.

On the bright side, I now have lots of loose soil ready to start a container garden thanks to those buggers!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:10PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

As a transplanted city gal, I am SO confused! For the first time in the almost four years I have lived here, I find that my little acreage has become the dwelling place of "critters"! I have dozens and dozens of approximately 2" holes all over the place, an occassional healthy mound of dirt here and there and in this past week, a couple of short tunnels in my flower beds. Moles? Gophers? I always thought they went after grubs and Spring bulbs. Do I need to be concerned? Are my shrubs, daylilies, liatris, etc. in danger? Should I buy a jug of poison peanuts?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:37PM
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First of all, PunkinHeadJones made me cry from laughing.

And I haven't put anything out cuz they are all over our whole neighborhood, our neighbor tried something last year and thought he just gave them more ammunition to do more damage. I've got little girls who love the mud, so I'm staying away from treating the yard with anything, I lay awake at night thinking I've poisoned them in some way.

And juicy fruit sounds like an awesome idea, except that I'm sure my girls will sniff that out faster than the critters. I can picture their little toothless grins full of gum and sand and mud. I will let them make mud pies out of the mounds of gopher hill dirt for now. But I am writing all this down for when they outgrow this dirt bathing phase.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 11:04AM
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Dawn, I have been very busy with mother. How have you been? My yard is a mess! I am thinking of hiring some help because we don't seem to have as much time anymore.

On a positive note, last year's crop was better than any other year. We're still learning and I feel I will forever be a "novice" gardener, but the herbs and veggies did better than I expected.

Hoping to do even better this year, but I need to get rid of those moles. Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to look into these ideas and see which one sounds doable for us. I do like the gum idea...does it really work? But I also am drawn to P.O.I.S.O.N!!! LoL They bring out the best in me as you all can see, haha

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:25AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


We keep having a 10% or 20% chance and getting nothing, but currently have a 40% chance for Thursday. I know a lot can change between now and then, but I pinning a lot of "hope" on that 40% chance. We even tried washing the car and the pick-up truck hoping that would make it rain, and it didn't even work.

It does amaze me how those little rodents can churn through soil and "rototill" it so easily compared to how hard it is for us to break up the same clay soil with a big rototiller! I have been trying to console myself with the thought that at least in the area where they are, I now have well-aerated soil.

Yesterday two of our cats were playing with a mole, vole, or gopher....I deliberately did not get close enough to see which little beast it was. I hope they find and kill them all. I stay away from poisons because of our pets, but I wouldn't argue that other folks shouldn't use them. I think it is a matter of personal preference, and for people for whom repellents do not work, trapping or poisoning are the other options.

Jeanie, They seem worse this year. To figure out which ones you have, read the attached link and study the mounds and tunnels (if you see any tunnels). The kind of pest you have will determine which plants are or aren't threatened. I don't think anything bothers daffodil bulbs though.

Newhippie, Enjoy them while they're little (the girls, not the moles/gophers/voles) because they grow up so fast! One of my favorite photos of our now-adult son was when he (dressed in a white sunsuit) and our white dog, Sam, picked up a running water hose and turned a dumptruck load of topsoil into an ocean of mud. They both were covered from head to toe in mud and we laughed until we cried.


We're fine. Same old adventure of living near the river with a ton of wildlife and so on. Never a dull moment here.

I hope you mom is doing well.

If you want to hire professional help, I say go for it! No one says you have to spend every spare minute slaving over the yard....and being short on time makes it hard to keep the yard looking the way you want. I think if the yard is causing more stress instead of being a happy place to destress, hire that professional and let them do the work while you do the relaxing and enjoying.

We all get better at growing things every year. I'm glad to hear you're getting better harvests. As the years go on, it will get better and better. We gardeners never stop learning and experimenting and finding better ways to do things, and that keeps gardening interesting.


Here is a link that might be useful: Moles, Voles or Gophers?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:01AM
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Just a few minutes ago I caught our mole poking out of his hole in our front yard. He ducked back down before I could wack him with my shovel (figures), but I did drop the Juicy Fruit down the hole. I'll let you know if it works!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Miraje - keep us posted?! I, too, "planted" juicy fruit tonite. I'm afraid the gopher from Caddyshack has been either resurrected or his off-spring moved to Oklahoma. We have one that has defied every single thing we've done, including thos dagger like traps. Early this week, he sucked an entire 10" cauliflower plant straight down into the earth. Found it missing when the row cover was lifted. Only one small leaf was left when we dug down and found his run.

This weekend we're going to Atwoods to purchase the box-type traps that Scott recommends. Hope they still have some.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:57PM
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I don't know if this is premature optimism, but I have not seen any new activity from our mole since I used the gum five days ago. It's hard to tell whether it's still in hiding from being almost assaulted with the shovel or whether it's actually gone, but so far so good!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:23AM
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