Moles are hated by most gardeners.
Me, I love them!
Because besides the fact that all forms of life deserve love and respect, they are small animals that come in handy in a natural vegetable garden.
Before I present some methods for keeping moles out of your garden naturally (and without harming them), I will therefore first try to encourage you to accept them…
The mole is a small (about 20 cm long) insectivorous mammal that lives in the ground.
She leads a solitary life for 5 or 6 years.
Loneliness she will break every year to give birth to a new litter (5 babies on average).
Its habitat is spread over about 200 linear meters of galleries (horizontal and sloping), but it is able to dig about twenty linear meters every day (so it will quickly restore its habitat if you destroy it…).
To build these galleries, this subterranean mammal has no choice but to evacuate the earth to the surface, forming unbearable mounds in the eyes of the conditioned humans that we are…
I don’t like categorizing animals based on whether they are “useful” or “not”…
Because, I repeat, every animal has a use in an ecosystem. And destroying animal life is tantamount to unbalancing this fragile ecosystem, with consequences for our cultures and even more for life on Earth…
So no animal is useful in itself (“help”) or “harmful”… It is an excessive proliferation that can cause problems…
However, these proliferations are generally the result of our ill-considered actions.
Before we look at how we can, possibly (in the case of an extreme situation), keep mole populations away from your land, let’s take a look at how the mole is useful in the garden.
About the usefulness of moles in the garden
For the fertility of the earth
Their presence in a garden is a good sign for the life of the soil:
- they testify to a soil in which life is present
- with their galleries they air it and loosen it (leave a lumpy earth, like that of mounds)
- these same galleries provide good soil drainage
- they enrich it with their excrement
This mammal feeds mainly on soil-dwelling larvae: wireworm larvae, moths, crane flies, May beetles, etc. are on its menu, naturally regulating these populations “harmfully” to our crops.
Thanks to them!
Some will object that they also consume earthworms, which are essential to the life of the soil.
But that’s the natural order of things…
Add to that the fact that they enrich the soil with their droppings and thus promote the development of earthworm populations…
In short, we have perfectly orchestrated natural balances here that we persist in destroying!
But despite its undeniable usefulness, this animal remains hated by so many gardeners for the damage it can cause…
The gardener has two fears:
- Got piles of dirt on his beautiful lawn
- See his seedlings turned over and therefore destroyed
Allow me to advise you in advance to leave them alone…
The benefits of their presence far outweigh the damage they can cause…
And they don’t like to be disturbed. So generally they flee from a vegetable garden pretty quickly to go to the lawns.
So okay, for the lawn it’s aesthetically annoying…
But isn’t this our vision of the gardener who wants to ‘dominate’ nature?
Here I would like to invite you to examine your mental conditioning: why are mounds of earth really disturbing?
Well… personally I believe that the few seedlings that are turned over each year do not question the life benefits of the soil.
And mounds on a lawn (actually spontaneous grasses at my house…) don’t bother me more than that…
So I let the moles live their lives without bothering them.
But I can imagine that action must be taken in a vegetable garden if the damage is really important.
That’s your choice…
And if you’re not convinced yet, here are some natural processes known to be effective for keeping them away (without harming them, of course):
Dog or cat hair
To compensate for their near blindness, moles have a particularly developed sense of smell.
The scent of a potential predator will encourage them to go elsewhere.
Based on this principle, put dog or cat hair at the entrance of the molehills that are bothering you… They will soon move.
In the same vein, you can put her in molehills…
It’s just as effective.
Plant elderberry branches in areas you want to preserve.
The smell spreading on the floor keeps them away.
You can also make an elderberry maceration (1 kg elderberry leaves to macerate in 10 liters of water for 3 days) to pour undiluted into the molehills…
Orange peels give off a strong smell, it seems little appreciated by moles.
Also just put orange peels around and in the molehills…
A few drops of orange essential oil poured into the molehill would also be effective.
The smell of bulbs of garlic, onion, hyacinth, daffodil, imperial nacre or even daffodils upset our friend.
Likewise, spurge is supposed to keep it at bay.
It is therefore good to plant a few of these repellent plants in your garden here and there.
Plant sticks in the ground near molehills and place plastic bottles on them.
The sound of this device will greatly disturb this frightened little animal (which also has a highly developed hearing), which will then seek a quieter place.
Well… if you want to keep it out of your lawn for aesthetic reasons, I doubt these plastic bottles will look great!
Nowadays there are ultrasonic repelling bollards (see for example here)…
Some find a certain effectiveness, others don’t…
As you can see, there is no shortage of natural and non-lethal methods… so by all means don’t use other methods (I’m coming to see your garden!).
Methods to Avoid
Castor cake is a natural fertilizer (permissible in organic) that gives off a strong odor.
It is known for being effective in repelling rodents and moles…
But it’s also very toxic (even deadly) especially to dogs and cats…
Here’s a procedure often recommended…but worst of all.
Not only is naphthalene a harmful chemical (not very biodegradable) for the environment in the long run, but it is also a carcinogen!
Glass splinters and other processes that cause bleeding
Based on the legend (because it’s not true!) that they would be hemophiliacs, the processes that aim to cause bleeding from moles abound on the web.
Shards of glass, thorns from rose bushes…anything goes to make these critters bleed…who generally don’t succumb to their injuries (no, they’re not haemophiliacs) but will suffer needlessly.
A barbaric process that should be banned!
There are several mole traps:
- classic traps, just enclose the animal… ok, that can pass
- deadly mole traps… NO
- pyrotechnic systems: for some, fireworks, not very powerful, are just meant to keep them away (unless they’re in the immediate area… they probably won’t be killed… just injured); for others the charge is clearly intended to kill… NOT TO BE
Here it is… Hoping to have at least somewhat reconciled you, if not, with this little animal?
Your opinion, feedback and other natural methods are welcome in the comments below.