Garden Pests: How to Eliminate Moles and Grubs from Your Landscape

I am often asked about how to eliminate certain pests from the garden, such as moles and grubs. This month’s post was contributed by a fellow blogger who has some knowledge about this very issue. Here are some helpful tips.

What this article addresses: 

  • How do I eliminate grubs and moles?
  • How do I detect the presence of moles in his garden?
  • What are some humane techniques to remove moles?
  • When should I call a professional to eliminate moles? 
  • What are some tips to deter moles from your garden?

Moles and grubs are the nightmare of beautiful gardens and perfect turf. An underground rodent, moles dig tunnels under the ground, forming mounds on the surface. Grubs live in the soil and feed on the roots of plants. Even if moles and grubs are not a direct nuisance to you, they can reap havoc on a garden.

How to Get Rid of Grubs:

Grubs are the larva of insects, especially Japanese beetle. This time of the year, grubs are found under soil surfaces, and feed on the roots of your lawn and landscape plants. Grubs are also a food source for moles; therefore, eliminating one pest can deter another.

Grub Removal Methods:

Milky Spore: Milky Spore is a bacterium, (Bacillus popillae), which is lethal to grubs of Japanese beetles. It is available in powdered form, and it works better when applied during late summer periods.

Nematodes: Beneficial nematodes (roundworms) are the natural predators of the microscopic world. One pouch of nematodes attached to a spray hose can be used to water your lawn and garden to kill grubs. It is most effective when applied after the soil heats up in the spring. Keep the lawn watered to allow the beneficial nematodes to work.

Note: Killing off grubs reduces the food source for moles and helps your lawn, but it does not guarantee that the moles will move on. 

Detecting Moles in The Garden: Mounds of soil visible around the garden, with soil collapsing partially in some places are signs that a mole is present. Before declaring war on this small mammal, wait a few days to see if the animal persists. Moles are known to feed mainly on grubs and earthworms, so if your garden is poorly supplied with food, the invader will quickly leave your property once it discovers there is nothing desirable to eat.

If more molehills become evident, you can make the decision to chase these rodents from your garden. There are several ways of accomplishing this, many which can be found in stores or on the Internet, including traps, firecrackers, natural solutions and ultrasound. Some of these techniques are easy to implement. 


How to Get Rid of Moles Naturally:

Once you have made the decision to get rid of the moles that disrupt your garden, you can choose one or more methods to deter them. Always consider respecting the environment and avoid inflicting bitter injury to these animals whenever possible.

Technique 1: Deterring Moles 

Use Plants that Repel Moles: Some plants are noted to repel moles. Marigolds and some flowering bulbs such as onion, garlic, crown imperial lily, hyacinth, daffodil, or Castor bean can keep intruders at a distance thanks to their aroma. Place these plants into mole hills to help repel the unwanted visitors.

Anti-Mole Ultrasound: There are commercially available solar powered boxes emitting ultrasonic vibrations that are inaudible to humans but will disturb the hearing of moles. Some also produce vibrations. These anti-mole ultrasounds offer the advantage of removing many kinds of rodents. Remember to place these devices in different places wherever there is evidence of moles. These ultrasound boxes are commercially available, at between 20 and 40 dollars, depending on the model.

Stick and plastic bottle method: This simple technique has proven to be quite successful according to user feedback. Place a stick into the molehill and cover it with a plastic bottle, neck down. When the wind blows it will bang on the stick and produce vibrations that moles dislike. With the constant annoyance, your mole visitor may very well become disgruntled and move on. This well known tip does have its disadvantages (such as aesthetics) but with its simplicity of installation and success rate it is certainly worth a try! A similar method, the use of pin wheels placed near a mole hole, have also proven to be a successful approach.

Technique 2: Mole Elimination

If all else fails, metal traps are available in different styles. Before handling, wear a pair of gloves to avoid leaving a human smell on the trap. Locate the most recent molehill and arm the trap with a tension rod or wrench. Carefully cover the hole and mark the location. This method has proven successful at a low cost. Tunnel Mole Traps are designed for humane mole capture with two doors that only swing inwards to let the mole in but not out. After catching the mole unharmed, it can be released into another location in the wild. Simply bury the trap in the mole tunnel or hill and let the device do its work.

When to Contact a Professional:

The call to a professional may be the last resort if you cannot get rid of the moles on your own. This expert is perfectly equipped to hunt for and eliminate moles in your garden. Cost depends on distance traveled and materials used.


Author Bio:Vicki J. Stabile is a gardening enthusiast, involved in gardening at her home’s backyard for the past five years. Vicki loves to share her gardening knowledge with others through her blog, Patio Clinic.

Advertisements

Planting & Maintaining a Seed Lawn

lawn maintenanceOften my customers will inquire as to when is the best time to start a seed lawn. The ideal time is now-between mid-August and mid-September here on Long Island and anywhere the season is changing from summer to fall.  It is also a good time for core-aeration and overseeding to help enhance the health and vitality of your turf.

CORE AERATION:  a process in which a machine is used to poke holes in the lawn to provide aeration.  In compacted lawns core aeration improves soil drainage and oxygen flow by loosening the soil.   It is best to core-aerate when you are overseeding an existing lawn.

OVER-SEEDING:  Over-seeding fills in the gaps in the lawn that need fixing.  The best way to overseed is to dethatch and aerate the lawn, add new topsoil where needed, then reseed and use a top-dress of pennmulch seed accelerator to help the seed along.   Keep the lawn watered (moist) until the new seed germinates.

STEPS TO SEEDING A LAWN:  First clear the area of existing lawn and debris.  Then bring in a good quality organic topsoil and grade the area being seeded.  Apply a starter fertilizer and lime according to the spreading rate on the bag.  Use a hand tamper or water roller to firm the soil then rake the top layer to loosen the planting layer. Use the appropriate type of seed for your location and conditions of sunlight.  There are many brands on the market and yes…price does matter!  The cheaper brands are not better.  In the case of seed look for a good professional blend of preferably a tall fescue and rye mix.  Also keep in mind that there are varieties of seed for full sun to shade and that seed will not geminate if it is too shady (full shade).  Ask your professional for advice.  Once your area is prepared use a spreader to apply your seed at the recommended rate on the packaging and lightly rake or roll the seed into the soil.  Apply pennmulch topping to keep in moisture and help the seed to germinate.  Water a couple times a day at 10-15 minutes intervals to keep the seed just slightly moist…do not overwater!  The seed will take about a week or so to start germinating.  Mow for the first time when your lawn has grown to a normal mowing height of approximately six to eight inches.

Author: Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

blog post divider 6 (2)