Holy Moley! Moles and Lawn Damage

By George and Becky Lohmiller
October 14, 2015

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.

See how to control moles in your garden!


Reader Comments

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How do l get rid of Voles? They have ruined my garden.


The Editors's picture

See our Voles Pest Page for tips on getting rid of these pests!

mole trap

moles keep plugging the trap, over and over

Mole removal garlic water

Great idea that I will try right away for the the short term. I want to know the best way to KILL them. In the Pacific NW, we have thousands destroying land everywhere.

Garlic water

My aunt had moles one entire summer in PA. She tried several things and nothing worked. Finally someone told her to plant garlic as they don't like the smell. She did one better. She got her extra large pasta pot (she had 9 kids, it was huge) and filled it with water. She got 4 (or more) entire heads of garlic and smashed the cloves, and put it on to boil. Then she went around to each mole hole with her label and poured some boiling hot water down the hole and made sure several cloves of garlic went down as well. A day later, no moles. About 2 weeks later a neighbor complained of moles in his yard. She asked if he'd checked their breath? When he said No, why? (puzzled), and she said, well if they have garlic breath, they are from my yard. She swore by this remedy. Not fun for the moles, but better than killing them.


Please help. Blind moles are taking over in my yard. Please. Need to get rid of them.

getting rid of moles in your garden

Catherine Boeckmann's picture

The Almanac has a page on how to control the moles in your garden. Just go here: http://www.almanac.com/content/moles  Hope this helps!

That is true about the moles

That is true about the moles eating pests. I had a struggle with moles a while back. Come to find out I had an infestation of grubs, which caused an infestation of moles. They were exterminating grubs... but they were doing more damage than helping. I read around and found a review of a few methods and stuff you can put on your lawn at this blog: howtogetridofmolesfrommylawn.tumblr[dot]com/ you might check it out if you're having problems getting rid of your moles.

wow that is very helpful info

wow that is very helpful info I have had moles for quite a few years, it nice to hear that the are helpful instead of harmful to my yard .

We are also overrun with

We are also overrun with chipmunks this year. I have never seen so many. They have no fear unless I actually go out and chase them off my feeders. Anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of them without hurting or killing them. We live in the country on a couple of acres and have many chipmunks. They are ruining my lawn with holes, not to mention how much bird seed they consume!!!

I have tried mothball all

I have tried mothball all over my stone wall
now I seem to have less chipmunks this year.I think they have moved on.I also use mothballs in my flower garden for the deer.
they don't like them
Good Luck

Help ! We are overrun with

Help ! We are overrun with chipmunks this year. They have a path from a tree right over to the house. They run across the back steps and just sit and look at us. Not afraid at all.