moles and chipmunks

(Question)

My lawn and gardens are spongy from the shallow tunnels that the moles are producing. Any suggestions for removal?

There are a lot of fairly large holes that I think are chipmunk burrows.

On rural property just east of Brockville, ON.

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry. Some landscape plants as well as the roots of your lawn become a food source for rabbits, mice, moles or voles when there is an extended period of snow cover. In the case of moles they  do not eat plants, roots or bulbs, instead they are looking for  insects and in doing so they could damage some grass roots by detaching them from the soil.

If you have moles, they are a sign that you may have a large number of insects (particular grubs) in your lawn and, that you may be slightly overwatering your lawn, grubs  thrive in wet conditions. Grubs are the larvae of a number of different beetles that feed on the roots, rhizomes and crowns of grass. Their most active time is usually from September to the end of October; they resume feeding in the spring until the end of May and beginning of June, before pupating.

A healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds, grubs and moles.

Natural controls include:

Applying beneficial nematodes ( available  from your local garden center) in the Spring will help reduce the grub population.

The addition of  top soil and re-seeding your lawn  twice a year (spring & fall) will help keep your lawn healthy  which will deter the grub and weed populatiion.

Reduce amount of watering in your lawn. A healthy lawn requires only 2.5cm of water once a week.

The best defence is to discourage the mole from finding too many sources of food in your garden and staying permanently.

As for ridding your property of chipmunks you can try using the following methods:

1) Use a scent that chipmunks don’t like. Try spreading blood meal or rodent repellent granuals such as synthetic fox or coyote urine both of which are available at at your local garden center. Apply the fox urine in clumps ( as if an animal was marking the territory) instead of sprinkling it over the property.

You may wish to refer to the following articles on maintaining a healthy lawn:

https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/gardbk/gh-ch1-5anim.htm

https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/gardbk/gh-ch7-2ins.htm

Good Luck!