Moles have the potential to ruin your lush-green, meticulously manicured lawn. Chances are, you don’t have anything nice to say about them, but beyond their digging, they provide some benefits. Read on to learn more.
Mole damage shows up as long ridges of soil running through the lawn and as volcano-shape mounds of earth called molehills, formed as moles tunnel beneath the soil surface in search of food.
You may also notice soil outside tunnel entrances, pushed there while moles construct deep permanent tunnels for nesting and overwintering.
A Mole’s Life
Moles are often mistaken for rodents, but they are not related to mice, rats, and other rodents. Their diet includes insect larvae, spiders, earthworms, and lawn pests such as slugs and grubs. They do not intentionally eat plant material.
To meet their high energy requirements, moles eat just about 24/7. They often consume the equivalent of 60–90% of their body weight in a single day and may tunnel 100 feet in the process.
Moles are well adapted to the darkness of subterranean living. Nearly blind, they compensate with their keen senses of smell, hearing, and touch.
As they dig through the earth with their large, shovel-like forepaws, their tiny eyes are protected from dirt by thin membranes. Their nostrils face to the sides of their pointed snouts to avoid being clogged, and they lack external ears.
Benefits of Moles in your Lawn
A mole’s tunneling aerates and loosens the soil, which helps plant growth.
They eat garden pests and are themselves a food source for foxes and other predators. Moles are often blamed for eating bulbs and the fleshy roots of ornamentals, but chipmunks, mice, and voles are actually the culprits.
Moles are most active in early spring; the damage usually subsides when the soil dries out later in the season. In the meantime, if you rake out the mounds and ridges, the lawn should recover on its own, and you won’t be making a mountain out of a molehill.