Garden Pests Series: M…

Thoughts and musings

Garden Pests Series: M…

Lewis | April 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

…is for Mole.

Possibly the most well-known garden pest the gardener has happens to be one that they rarely see in the furry flesh! Ironic? Yes, but the irony of the situation doesn’t stop moles and their resulting molehills potentially being a bane of every gardener in the country. They even upset owners of football pitches, cricket grounds and other sporting venues that incorporate grass. Imagine playing lawn bowls with a molehill as an obstacle?! All things considered, this is why moles are the perfect choice for the letter ‘M’ in our Garden Pests Series. It also marks the halfway point of the series; what a way to do it!

Moles are known to even those who do not participate in gardening. However, this author wonders how many people have actually seen one? I mean, you can see one now in the featured photo of this blog, but the thought of the number of people that have actively seen a mole in reality is an interesting one. I know I haven’t seen one. But I digress. They are small, furry mammals that live underground that have small ears and eyes, yet impressively large paws adapted for digging. Despite being rarely seen (apparently – it might just be me; I don’t have the best eyesight!), mounds of loose soil protruding from grassy ground caused by their burrowing are frequently seen, so much so, these are usually the only indication of moles and other burrowing mammals.

These molehills are particularly unsightly and is the sole reason why moles have been included on this list. It is a shame that a well-kept lawn, a result of hours and hours of care and effort, can be effectively ruined by a spot of bad luck. Also, when moles create molehills in plant borders, newly-planted seedlings will be pushed up with their roots damaged.

So as you can gather and that I’m sure you already know, this can be detrimental to your garden. Being territorial mammals, too, a group of molehills can indicate a family of moles. So there is a lot to think about. Luckily, though, moles aren’t prone to creating molehills all year round; you are more likely to see them in late-Winter through to the Spring. However, as this is during the gardening “off-season” if you will – not during the traditional planting season in the UK – it is easy to let moles establish themselves in your garden’s underground.

But with every proverbial cloud, there is a proverbial silver lining! You can monitor and track mole activity my conducting daily checks for molehills in your lawn and planting borders and beds. Over time, you will be able to tell which areas moles are most likely to be active. This knowledge only aids and abets the treatment options you can undertake, of which there are plenty. Possibly the most popular treatment for moles is to purchase mole traps. When a mole trap is placed in a mole’s tunnel – of which a molehill is essentially an entrance – they can trap a mole humanely. I implore you though, please check them multiple times a day for a mole, as despite the fact that these traps capture them humanely, the mole can soon die when caught by the trap. When you do successfully capture a mole, ensure you release it back into the wild more than a mile away from your home.

However, if you do not like the idea of mole traps you can, quite literally, “flush” them out by pushing a hose into an active mole tunnel and flooding it with water; this will discourage them from returning. The last two treatment options are related to the senses; for one, devices that emit ultra-sonic sounds can be easily purchased. They send a high-pitched sound through mole tunnels and can scare moles away. Finally, for two, moles can also be deterred by unpleasant smells and as a result, moth balls have been pushed into mole hills for a number of years as they give off an odour that moles find unpleasant.

So there you go! We are officially at the halfway point of our Garden Pests Series. It’s a little sad for me, because I am really enjoying writing them! But I try and be positive, it means I’ve still got 13 more to bring you! Again, every cloud…

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