Unearthing Moles in Your Garden: Prevention, Identification, and Restoration


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Unearthing Moles in Your Garden

It’s that time of year again! I was out this morning walking the gardens, and what do I find but a slew of molehills that seemingly popped up over night! Ugh. The allure of a well-maintained garden is undeniable, but the presence of moles can turn your picturesque scene into a landscape of frustration. These elusive underground creatures, often misunderstood, can wreak havoc on lawns and gardens. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of moles, exploring the key differences between moles, voles, and shrews, understanding the damage they cause, and uncovering effective strategies for deterring them from your green haven.

What are the key differences between moles, voles, and shrews?

Before implementing any control measures, it’s crucial to distinguish moles from other tunnel-dwelling critters. Moles, voles, and shrews share subterranean habitats, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart.


Moles are small mammals with velvety fur, tiny eyes, and powerful front limbs equipped with sharp claws, ideal for digging. Their primary diet consists of insects, grubs, and earthworms. Moles create extensive tunnel systems, which can be identified by the characteristic molehills dotting your lawn.


Unlike moles, voles have a stockier appearance and are more closely related to mice. They primarily feed on plant roots and bulbs, leaving behind runways on the surface of the soil. Voles may also burrow, but their tunneling is less extensive compared to moles.


Shrews are the smallest of the three, resembling mice with elongated snouts. While they may burrow, shrews are primarily insectivores and don’t create the elaborate tunnel systems associated with moles.

Lawn and Garden Damage caused by moles

Moles, despite their unassuming size, can inflict considerable damage on your lawn and garden. Understanding the nature of their impact is the first step in devising a comprehensive control strategy.

  1. Tunneling Damage: Moles are adept at creating intricate tunnel systems beneath the surface. These tunnels disrupt the soil structure, leading to an increased risk of root exposure and dehydration for plants. The soil upheavals also create an unsightly appearance on the lawn.
  2. Molehills: One of the most apparent signs of mole activity is the emergence of molehills—small mounds of soil formed as moles dig their tunnels. While these molehills may look harmless, they signify extensive underground tunneling that can compromise the stability of your lawn.
  3. Plant Damage: Moles primarily feed on insects and grubs in the soil. In the process, they may inadvertently damage plant roots, affecting the overall health and vitality of your garden. This can result in wilting, yellowing, and stunted growth of plants.
Mole damage
Group of molehills

(Some of the molehills found on my lawn and in my garden this morning)

6 Tried & True Ways to deter moles

Uninvited guests in the form of mischievous moles can quickly turn your meticulously cared-for garden into a battleground of upheaved soil and unsightly molehills. If you’ve ever found yourself locked in a struggle against these subterranean nuisances, you’re not alone. Fear not, as I unveil six tried and true ways to deter moles and reclaim the serenity of your green sanctuary. From plant selections that moles find repulsive to innovative vibrating devices disrupting their underground world, these proven methods will empower you to fortify your garden against mole intruders.

1. Mole-Resistant Plants

Planting varieties that moles find unappealing can act as a natural deterrent. Consider incorporating plants like daffodils, marigolds, and alliums, which are known for their mole-repelling properties.

2. Castor Oil Repellents

Moles have a strong aversion to castor oil, making it an effective natural repellent. Commercial castor oil-based mole repellents are available, or you can create a DIY solution by mixing castor oil with dish soap and water. Apply this mixture to affected areas.

3. Vibrating Devices

Moles are sensitive to vibrations, and certain devices emit sonic pulses that disrupt their comfort zone. Solar-powered vibrating stakes or mole repellers can be strategically placed in your garden to deter moles.

4. Grub Control

Since moles feed on grubs and insects, reducing their food source can discourage their presence. Implementing grub control measures, such as nematode applications, can help break the mole’s food chain.

5. Physical Barriers 

Installing physical barriers like wire mesh or hardware cloth around vulnerable plantings can prevent moles from accessing the root systems of your prized flora.

6. Trapping

Trapping is a more hands-on approach to mole control. Various types of mole traps are available, and their effectiveness depends on proper placement and following recommended trapping techniques.


In the intricate tapestry of your garden, moles may disrupt the harmony, but armed with knowledge and strategic measures, you can regain control. Understanding the key differences between moles, voles, and shrews is the foundation for implementing targeted control strategies. From mole-resistant plantings to vibrating deterrents, a multi-faceted approach will fortify your garden against these subterranean invaders. Embrace the challenge with a proactive mindset, and soon your garden will thrive, unburdened by the underground mischief of moles. Remember, a resilient garden is not just a testament to nature’s beauty but a reflection of your commitment to its well-being.

~Happy Gardening~

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