Sick of Repairing Lawn Every Spring

(Question)

One of the Master Gardeners at Canada Blooms suggested I contact you regarding my problem.

I have moles (at least creatures that live under ground) and make holes all over the lawn and flower beds, in the front lawn only.  We live in town so I’m not allowed to use poison.  So I bought mouse traps and caught 22 before the snow came.  This spring I see damage in one end of the lawn which I can and will repair.  But how do I get rid of these little rascals?  We have lived in this house 8 years, a new house with no problem until last fall.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

(Answer)

I can imagine how frustrating it must be to see your lawn torn up every spring.  During the winter some landscape plants and the roots of your lawn become a food source for rabbits, mice, moles or voles when there is an extended period of snow cover.

My question is, are you sure you have moles?  A good way to correctly identify a mole infestation is to look for a hill of dirt by their tunnels.  Moles spend most of their lives underground, burrowing constantly in search of worms, grubs and other soil insects.  They can cause serious damage by lifting roots of perennials, bulbs and lawns in their search for these insects.

If indeed you do have moles, they are a sign that you may have a large number of insects, particularly grubs in your lawn.  You may be overwatering your lawn as grubs thrive in wet conditions.  A healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds, grubs and moles.

Some natural controls include:

Applying beneficial nematodes (available from your local garden center) will help reduce the grub population.  The soil temperature and the stage of development of the grub larvae determine the period of application.  Follow the package instructions and make sure to apply the nematodes after a rain or thorough watering.  The nematodes travel through the water in the soil and enter the bodies of the grubs, eventually killing them.

Reduce the amount of lawn watering as a healthy lawn requires only 2.5cm of water once a week.

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

Plant bulbs that are said to repel moles, a few examples include, Daffodils, Scillas, Fritillaria imperialis, or any bulb in the Allium family such as onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots.

By reducing the availablity of food for the moles will deter these pesky creatures from taking up residence in your garden.

Check out the link below for additional information on controling larger pests in your garden:

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