Moles in winter? You bet! We were amused and amazed to look out our den window and see a heaped-up line of topsoil on top of several stepping stones. Even in Winter, our moles are active!
Many people hate moles because their tunneling raises mini ridges in the lawn and their hills smother a patch of grass and get
Moles bring rich dirt from below to the surface as they tunnel along hunting for earthworms and grubs.
caught in a lawnmower’s blades. Some go to great lengths to poison or kill moles.
How Moles Are Helpful
We don’t. They’re amazing animals that provide us with a wonderful service. Their endless digging in search of earthworm and insect meals softens the soil, enabling water to easily percolate in and helping plants grow. The greenest grass of the lawn always seems to be where moles tunneled last year.
Instead of persecuting our moles we simply stomp down the raised tunnels and rake out the mole hill before mowing, and then we quietly thank our subterranean helpers before starting up the lawnmower.
Moles are active all year but the frozen ground is daunting for them. Our January moles were tunneling in the soft unfrozen soil on the south side of the house and under dark stones that catch the sun’s heat and keep the ground underneath them unfrozen. We hope they found some grubs and worms for dinner.
We’re happy to share our yard with moles and appreciate the positive impact they have on the soil. Watch this YouTube Video about moles.
Few animals frustrate homeowners as much as moles, but at Winding Pathways we appreciate them. Moles are Mother Nature’s roto tillers, and like mechanical tillers they soften and mix soil, helping plants grow.
The common Eastern mole only weighs about four ounces. It stays underground and is rarely seen, but the evidence of this animal’s foraging is easy to spot. Humped ridges wee waw around a lawn and volcanic like cone-shaped hills of loose dirt appear as if by magic. See them and moles have been at work.
Ridges are created as moles swim through the soil seeking tasty earthworms and grubs for dinner. They are most active in the evening and morning and prefer loose soil, especially in shady areas.
People who want their lawn to be as perfect and blemish free as carpeting hate moles and endlessly and needlessly persecute them. We like them because visible mole tunnels and hills tell us that our lawn is rich in worms, grubs and other underground animals that are natural components of the soil. In short, our lawn is healthy and ready for children to play on safely.
An insect and worm free lawn is unnatural and likely happens when people poison the soil in an effort to discourage moles. It works. With no food available, moles move elsewhere, leaving the homeowner with a blemish free unnatural lawn that may be toxic.
During the heat and dryness of late summer lawn grasses want to go dormant. Moles move to shady cooler woodlands, abandoning lawns until fall rains resume. Ironically, the people who hate moles often water their lawn during summer droughts, creating perfect conditions to attract the tiny mammals.
Commercially sold poison peanuts are ineffective because moles don’t eat peanuts. They’re insectivores. Plunging spear traps pose safety hazards to small children. Moles often don’t reuse humped up feeding tunnels. They’ve already caught the food there. Traps and poison set over tunnels may kill harmless shrews and mice that use them as highways.
We’ve noticed that places where moles were most active last year have the greenest grass this year. That’s probably because last year’s diggers made the soil softer and added a bit of natural fertilizer in their droppings. Mother Nature’s roto tillers at work.
The best solution to a “mole problem” is simply to ignore it and allow the small animals to go about their business improving soil health. Simply stomp down tunnels and rake out hills before mowing. New grass grows quickly in this newly enriched top soil.