Dealing With Moles in Your Garden


Moles are one of the most elusive creatures that you may have in your garden.  Rarely seen, they leave a lot of evidence of their occupancy in the form of mole hills and for this reason, are often considered to be pests. As this article will argue, however, moles can actually be a good thing in your garden, and in spite of the disturbance they can cause, can be a valuable part of a garden ecosystem.

Facts About Moles

When dealing with moles in your garden, it is best to begin by understanding these mysterious creatures a little better. As with any wildlife, getting to know them properly should be the first stage in their management. Here are a few basic facts about moles:

  • Moles live 2-3 years on average, though can live up to six.
  • Moles are very territorial. Often, all the mole hills in a small- medium garden will be created by just one mole.
  • Moles eat insects and may also predate mice and shrews. An important part of the moles diet is the earthworm and an average mole will eat 60% of their bodyweight in earthworms every single day!

Why Moles Can Be a Good Thing in Your Garden

While mole hills are often considered to be unsightly, moles will not eat plant roots and can overall be considered as a valuable addition to your garden. Moles:

  • Contribute to the quality and fertility of the soil by enabling the mix of oxygen and water below the soil surface.
  • Prey on various insects that are harmful to crops, thereby making things easier for organic food growers.
  • Predate some small rodents which will eat home-grown produce in your garden.

Mole hills

How To Deter Moles Where They Are Not Wanted

Generally speaking, it is perfectly possible to live with moles in your garden. However, where their hills and tunnels appear in a vegetable patch, or in a lawn, you may wish to encourage them to move elsewhere. Those who are keen to garden ethically and sustainably should be aware that trapping moles is generally considered to be unappealing on welfare grounds – even where live-traps are used. Instead of trapping moles, consider trying some methods to gently encourage moles to live elsewhere. While their efficacy is unproven, you may like to try one of the following methods:

  • Yoghurt pots or cans placed upside down on sticks to make a noise said to deter moles from surfacing in a particular area.
  • Electronic devices which emit a buzzing noise said to drive moles away (though potentially only to somewhere else in your garden).
  • Euphorbia lathyrisToy windmills (the noise and vibration of which may also encourage moles to move).
  • Deter moles with castor oil or other substances said to be repellent to the moles.
  • Plant Euphorbia lathyris, which some say has root exudates which repel moles.

Though some find these methods successful, others are dubious about their efficacy. Still, if moles are problematic for you in certain parts of your garden, they may be worth a try.

Generally, however, it is best to live and let live in your garden, allowing the moles to get on with their own business and simply putting up with the unsightly mounds of soil that they create while reaping the benefits of a diverse ecosystem in your garden.