Saturday, October 1

Mole Damage to Lawn: Can You Fix It?

Moles are the bane of a perfectly manicured landscape. These animals can dig tunnels at an astonishing foot per minute while they hunt for insects and earthworms.

Moles can be a frustrating pest to deal with as a homeowner. Many people don’t know what to do about mole damage to their property.

The good news is that mole damage to a lawn is relatively easy to fix, as long as you’re willing to get your hands a bit dirty.

Read on to learn how to fix mole damage and what you can do to prevent it.

Signs of Mole Damage

Moles can dig quickly, so the signs of mole damage can crop up overnight. If you wake up to mounds of dirt in your yard, it’s a sure sign that you have a mole issue.

Dirt mounds aren’t the only sign of mole damage. They can also contribute to seemingly-random patches of grass dying quickly.

Since most moles dig tunnels around a foot from the surface, you might also notice their tunnels. These tunnels look like veins of disturbed dirt crisscrossing through your yard.

For an in-depth look at the signs of mole damage, read more here.

Fixing Mole Damage to a Lawn

Mounds and veining are the most common types of mole damage. Fortunately, mending the problems in your yard is a relatively simple task.

Veining Damage

Moles use these vein-like tunnels to get around your yard. These transit tunnels are typically located close to the surface, so they should be easy to spot.

The first step in fixing it is to flatten the raised areas of dirt. You might be able to use your hands for this. Otherwise, you’ll need a shovel to move the loose soil.

Once the veins are flat, take a rake and drag it through the dirt. This ensures that the grass seed you’ll use to cover the damage will take hold.

Apply grass seed to the raked soil. You’ll want the seeds to remain visible, so be sure to avoid completely burying them.

With the seeds in the soil, take your shovel and tamp down on the dirt. You need the soil to be compacted enough so it won’t blow away in the wind, but loose enough to allow water and oxygen to reach the germinating seeds.

To further augment the germination process, you can also cover the seed with peat moss or straw.

Follow the recommended watering schedule for your grass seed. Expect to water the seeds at least once a day.

Depending on your local climate, seeds can sprout in as little as ten days, but it might take up to a month to see results.

Mounding Damage

Moles construct mounds, or molehills, by pushing excess dirt up to the surface. These mounds are a by-product of a mole’s search for food.

Remedying mound damage to your yard starts by knocking down the mounds. You’ll need to use a shovel or rake for this.

With the mounds broken up, you can either carry the dirt away or spread it throughout your yard. Spreading it around is often the preferred option, as it can block necessary airways the moles use to breathe while underground. This could cause the moles to abandon your yard.

Once the molehills are dispersed, you’ll need to fill in any collapsed areas. For this, use a mixture of the dirt from the broken-up mounds and sand.

Scout your yard for the hole the mole uses to enter the tunnel system and fill it in with your soil and sand mixture as well.

Now that the earth is level, you can plant grass seed. Rake the exposed dirt, apply the seed, and be sure to water it frequently.

Excessive Damage

If the moles in your yard are particularly destructive, you might need to invest in a yard roller to flatten the dirt. Professionals recommend a 300-pound roller, as it’s heavy enough to break up clods of soil but won’t damage healthy grass.

Lawn aeration may be necessary to fix a lawn with a serious mole problem. This process involves puncturing small holes in your lawn to allow water, air, and other nutrients to reach the grass roots. It also helps break up soil that may have been compacted by a mole’s digging.

Preventing Moles

Once you’ve patched up your yard, you’ll want to prevent moles from coming back. If they do, they could dig up all your hard work. Take these steps to make your yard inhospitable for moles.

Use a Repellent

Mole repellent is a common way to prevent the presence of moles. Many repellents use castor oil, as it can disrupt a mole’s digestive tract.

You can find many castor oil-based repellents at a home improvement store. They come in granules and as a powder.

You can also make your own mole repellent if you already have castor oil at home. Mix a solution that contains three parts castor oil and one part dish soap, then take 4 tablespoons of the solution and add it to a gallon of water.

Insecticide

Grubs are a lawn mole’s most common source of food. These small, white larvae eventually mature into all sorts of insects.

If you notice a large number of grubs on your property, moles will come to feast. Use an insecticide to eliminate grubs, and moles won’t come hunting for food.

Traps

A mole trap can catch a mole that’s made its way into your yard. Set your trap near the entrance to the tunnel.

You’ll be able to find both lethal and non-lethal traps. In Washington D.C., it’s illegal to kill moles, and, in Washington state, the use of “snap trap” mole trappers is prohibited.

Mole Damage: A Simple Fix

Moles can tear up your landscaping efforts, but fixing mole damage to a lawn is a fairly quick process. Most of the time will be spent waiting for your grass to regrow.

You’ll need a shovel to knock down the veins and molehills and a rake to prepare the dirt for your grass seed.

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