Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for healthy and safe food supply for a clean and sustainable environment for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Moles are small animals that tunnel in the ground and slurp earthworms and what happens is they disturb the roots of plants and it can kill the plant because the roots will dry out, they also can kill lawns and pastures because of their mounds. There are few things to consider before you start trying to control your moles, first make sure you have a mole and not a gopher. Mole mounds look a little like a volcano. Next take into account the benefits moles can provide and weight it against the damage that they may cause. Moles help aerate and loosen the soil and they eat large amounts of harmful bugs, white grubs are preferred mole food, they also eat among other things snail and japanese beetle larva if you decide to live with moles you can mitigate damage by tamping down surface runs and shoveling mounds off your lawn before it kills the lawn underneath however if you do you think you need to control the moles there are several no kill options available.
Gopher baskets can be put in the hole prior to planting, you can also install gopher wire along the bottom of any raised bed. You can also create a subterranean fence by burying galvanized gopher wire at least two feet down into the soil, the wire should come six inches out of the soil and be bent away from the planting at a ninety degree angle, if you leave a foot of wire above-ground this method can be adapted to exclude gophers as well. If you capture them live they can be relocated to less sensitive areas within your garden, check out our blog to get ideas on how to make a simple live trap. You can also use repellents like these from Chase or Liquid Fence which will help steer the moles away from sensitive plants.
Exclusion, coexistence and relocation may not always be options and in that case the best mole control is trapping. Gopher traps and mole traps are not interchangeable, a moles sensitive snout will often detect foreign objects in the tunnel and circumvent a gopher trap before it ever gets to the trigger. The most effective traps are scissor jaw, choker or harpoon. And these are the kind of traps that go on top or on the sides of the mole run. To trap moles effectively locate an active runway or one of their deep permanent tunnels. To locate an active runway tamp down surface runways and see if they return in twenty-four to forty-eight hours if they do this is an active runway. Moles are often active in an area for a very brief time and then they move on. Mole hills are made by a mole pushing soil out from the construction of a deep tunnel probe eighteen inches from a mole mound and about eight to twelve inches down to locate a permanent tunnel. Scissor type traps like this easy mole trap work best in a permanent burrow, using a trowel dig out a section of the burrow so you can find the direction of the burrow, backfill it with the loose dirt so that there's something for the trigger play to rest on. Set the traps so the trap jaws straddle the tunnel that you found, comeback after two days and check to see if the trap has sprung if not you're gonna wanna relocate. Common reasons not to have caught a mole is that the mole abandoned the runway, or it was disturbed too much, or the mole detected the trap.
According to UC Davis and other researchers there are quite a few things that have been tried that just don't work: ultrasonic repellents, scare devices, chewing gum, bleach, human hair, mothballs, gopher purge, broken glass or razor blades just to name a few. Protect your plants, control your moles and grow organic for life!