Moles are habitual visitors to our gardens; they can create havoc with your lawn and drive gardeners mad. However, they also provide many useful services. Below are several solutions that will make it easier to deal with these particular inhabitants!
A useful animal
In spite of the damage it causes to the lawn by making molehills everywhere, moles also hunt those grubs in the soil that munch away at your plants’ roots : maybugs, daddy long legs, weevils (which in adult form eat away the edges of leaves), wireworms ( the larvae of the click beetle which devastate young plants), etc. In a manner of speaking the mole cleans up the soil, even if eats a few earth worms along the way. It never eats your plants, unlike the mole rat (or vole) which only makes shallow tunnels.
The mole defends its territory against all other individuals of the same species. To find a non-occupied territory, moles will even crawl over the surface of hard soil for a few metres to colonise a free area.
The best way to control moles in the garden is to try to live with them. In the flowerbeds and borders, the passage of the mole is rarely annoying. It is only in the vegetable plot and on the lawn that the mole is a pain. In areas where the plants are not watered, the mole tends to circulate less. It might be worthwhile to stop watering the lawn as it will save water and discourage the moles. You can also get into the habit of building up piles of dead leaves on the ground. The moles will tend to colonise these areas and be less tempted to explore the rest of the garden, they will prefer the damp soil under the leaves.
Do repellants work?
Plants that are sold as mole repellants (mole grass or Euphorbia lathyris, imperial crown or Fritillaria imperialis, incarvillea…) are useless. Smelly repellants that are slid in to the tunnels are hardly any more effective. Moles are insensitive to smells and when they encounter any unpleasantness in the tunnel, they simply shut it down!
Ultra sonic repellants and their equivalent homemade versions (upside down bottle on a stick, a flail of sticks clacking around in the wind etc.) may distance the moles for a period. However, once the moles get used to the noise and realize that there is no danger then they will return.
Home made remedies to avoid
The traditional belief that moles are hemophiliacs is false. People still recommend putting sharp cutting objects in the tunnels, including thorny stems, broken glass, etc. It is all a waste of time because the mole will simply not go there. In return, however you risk hurting yourself when you work the soil in this area!
As a last resort
If you cannot find a way to live with the moles, the only remaining solution is to trap the animal. Most of the traps available will kill the mole outright. However, there are some that allow the mole to be caught unharmed so that it can be released in a different location. Whether you kill the mole or release it elsewhere, one thing is certain other moles will carry on coming in to your garden...