As I look out across my back yard, one sure sign of spring is apparent. MOLES!
Standing on my deck and looking out over the yard, I was wondering what the heck it was. It sort of looks like a herd of cows got loose in part of my yard and generously provided fertilizer. Since I knew better than that, I wandered out to investigate. I didn’t even have to get very close to have it dawn on me what it was…mole mound heaven.
After gritting my teeth and thinking bad thoughts about the discovery, I have decided to try to make peace with them. In the past, I tried to rid my yard of them by sprinkling down some pellets that dissolved and soaked in with the rain. Well, that only worked for a short amount of time and they would move outside the edges of where it was sprinkled and just wait for the affects to dissipate. It really was ineffective. I have heard of other people putting in devices or windmills with a stake driven into the ground to cause vibration. Apparently they don’t like the vibration. I don’t have room for a wind farm in my back yard and I don’t want to have to buy and electrify something that might or might not work, so the solution that I have come up with is coming to peace with them.
Realizing what is attracting them to the yard is first. Moles like beetles, worms and grubs, not vegetation and roots like voles. (I do keep an eye on the vegetation to be sure it is not a vole infestation). I know that, from past digging experience, there is a lot of grubs and the like in the soil in my back yard. My hope is that they are dining on the Japanese Beetle grubs in particular.
I did notice that a lot of the activity was centered around the areas that I heavily mulched with woodchips last year. As the woodchips degrade, they were there to help build the soil. Healthy soil attracts plenty of worms and other underground insects, so that makes sense. I have also noticed that most of their activity is focused in the wetter area of the yard. Since it is easier digging for them, that makes sense too.
While it may be hard to make out in this picture, I could see where some of the underground tunnels were at one point because in one area in particular there were very defined depressions in the yard where their run would have been. My second thought for a benefit at this point (and I must admit I almost laughed out loud when I thought it) is, well, at least I know that I am getting aeration in the yard! Their tunnels definitely allow for aeration, but also drainage which, especially since they are making their way around the wet part of the yard, is a good thing. One other way of looking at it is that they are tilling the soil from underneath, where it won’t be exposed to the elements and open to leaching away the nutrients.
One thing that I do want to implement this spring when I plant out a variety of trees, bushes, shrubs and other plants, is to include daffodils as a companion to those plantings. They are poisonous to voles and not really favorable to moles either. I also have some wild onions that I might add too, because they do not care for stinky things. Who knows, maybe I should go into the onion and garlic growing business! Nature has remedies if we take the time to look for them.
Now if I could just make peace with the mounds. Maybe I could pretend that there are Lilliput people coming into the yard and building little hugelkulter mounds all over the place!