Moles

casey_deer(z6b ONT Canada)June 25, 2013

Does anyone else have a problem with moles? I haven't really noticed any damage to the rose bushes. What, if anything should be done? Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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roseseek

Everywhere I water, we have moles. Their worst damage is loosening the soil around the roots. I walk through the rose beds smashing the tunnels pretty regularly. At least they keep the soil from becoming compacted. And, at least they aren't GOPHERS. Those are out front and farther down hill from the house. Kim

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:39PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Moles do not bother anything here...
We have moles but no mounds of soil in our yard.
There is a small strip of land between the neighbor and us and that's where they roam...

Years ago at another house moles made mounds of soil all through our smaller grass yard...
No damage to plants though from what I remember...
We chased them out but they just moved into the neighbors yard...lol

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:34AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

It's possible they could kill small own-root plants by dislodging the roots from the soil, but not if you notice the wilting and tamp things back into place. They do not do a great deal of damage, and that's a good thing because effective control is very difficult. Traps are difficult and somewhat dangerous for non-specialists to use effectively. Only certain cats have the aptitude for mole-catching. I can't swear that repellents are ineffective, but one complication is that moles have a large range and will wander in and out of the garden. So you might think you diid something to get rid of him, but actually he may have just decided to go somewhere else for a while.

I used to fret and pinch my fingers in traps and try various repellents. Now I just ignore them and my roses do fine. If I don't look under the mulch, I don't know whether a mole is active there or not.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:20AM
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pat_bamaz7

I must have very apt cats...We have ours on an invisible fence system so they can't wander into danger (but unfortunately danger can wander in...my neighbor's mastiffs came over and killed one a few months ago, so beware of a false sense of security from invisible fences). The area within the invisible fence stays clear of moles, rabbits, chipmunks, etc. My cats bring me their mole catches almost daily. The area where the cats can not go includes our herb and vegetable gardens, and those stay infested with moles. As Michael says, they don't really cause any damage to the plants...occasionally will uproot a young one or expose roots, but easily fixed as long as you catch it soon after it happens. Their tunnels are an eyesore, but can be stomped down. It's not worth the risk to my dogs to try to trap or poison them. The main damage is from my dogs trying to dig them out...my dogs are evidently not very apt...have never caught one...just make a huge mess trying and more plant damage from their attempts than from the actual moles. Two of my dogs making a mess while trying (and failing) to catch a chipmunk below:

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:02PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

We have 2 cats and a dog which roam our 60ft X 30ft backyard on nice days. The cats have never left our fenced in yard since they were born 9 years ago...
So that's probably why our moles stay on the outside of our fencing...lol
Once in awhile our one cat will catch a mole and bring it to me...
The other cat & our dog could care less...lol

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:13PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Pat, that's interesting. I didn't know you could use invisible fences for cats. Probably one of your cats figured out how to hunt moles and the others learned from her. I had one cat long ago that would sit still for hours waiting for a mole to make a mistake.

In Britain there are or were professional mole catchers whom milady would hire to clean out her gardens. They used little dogs mainly. They made a mess, but maybe not as much as your big guys.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:13PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Long ago, I was told that moles aren't tasty. So cats that hunt for food (or just snacks) aren't that interested in catching them. Growing up, we had a professional grade mouser who ignored moles, and specialized in eating mouse heads. During the summer, we would find a lot of headless mice in the backyard.

Currently, we have one cat who catches and kill moles, and another cat that catches and releases chipmunks. Neither of them seems to have grasped the concept of eating their catches.

Here is a link that might be useful: Love to Eat Them Mousies

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:24PM
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pat_bamaz7

Michael, IâÂÂve had my cats on an invisible fence for about six years now with good results keeping them enclosed within it. I was told by the company we purchased from that cats normally do better than dogs on themâ¦that cats donâÂÂt tend to lose their fear of it, whereas, dogs are more likely to forget or ignore the fence when they want something badly enough. This seems true in my experience. I have a cat who will test for the warning beep, but she wonâÂÂt try to cross when she hears that beep (I have to make sure her collar battery is never allowed to die), and I have a cat who, once trained on the area covered by the fence, has never tried to cross itâ¦I donâÂÂt even have to keep a battery in his collar anymore. Even though IâÂÂve had success keeping my cats contained within, it wonâÂÂt keep predators outâ¦so anyone who chooses this route should be aware and careful of that fact. My cats have trees to climb for safety and a cat door into safety, but I still lost one recently to rogue dogs and lost one several years ago to coyotes. My four dogs usually protect my cats from those dangers, but they arenâÂÂt always able to.
As far as the moles, my cats have all been good hunters, so maybe one did teach the others. And mad gallica, maybe they aren't tasty...my cats decapitate and eat internals from most of their kill, but they always bring the moles to me dead, but otherwise intact. The dogs will sometimes catch a rabbit or armadillo, but their quest for moles and chipmunks just leads to big holes and frustrated pups.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 5:12PM
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KarenPA_6b

Jim, your cats are adorable! Are they siblings?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 5:50PM
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floridarosez9

Pat, I'm sorry about your kitties. I worry about the coyotes getting mine also. Mine bring me a mole or two a month, and they don't eat them, either.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:52PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I'm so sorry about your kitties, too :( I lost precious ones to a horrible, mean bobcat several years ago. We also have coyotes and recently bears up the street in the same woods! Bears?! It's getting crazy.

So, I do have moles (and chipmunks and a groundhog that lives mainly in a neighbor's old pasture). The moles aren't a problem as long as you do check the roots near where the tunnels run. I resettle the dirt when I water, but I have lost a plant in the heat. This was in a heavy tunnel area.

The problem in my yard is that I also have voles, and they apparently use the mole tunnels at their leisure. Voles are a huge problem. I have only planted in wire cages for years now, and that works extremely well. Before that, so much got killed so fast! The cages also make it so that moles don't tunnel up the surface roots any more. There are tunnels right up to the cages, but enough roots are always safe in the cage that the plants do well.

I caught a mole myself once, lol. I saw my little rose MOVING and figured it out after a second of shock :D

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:59AM
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casey_deer(z6b ONT Canada)

Thanks so much for all the input and postings. I will continue to stomp down the runs in the rose garden which are quite a few and hope eventually the moles will make a new route. They do damage to the lawn though but will just have to live with that for now. Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 8:02AM
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floridarosez9

Casey, they did so much damage to my side yard that it was like walking on foam rubber the ground was so squishy. All the grass died, and I ended up making that entire side yard a cutting garden. They've done the same thing in areas of my pastures, and then the nut grass takes over. Unfortunately, the cats don't spend much time out in the pastures.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 9:19AM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Yes our cats are siblings... (sisters)
We got them when they were tiny kittens...
We taught them when they were kittens to stay within our fenced in backyard area and they always have so far after 9 years.
Even with rabbits in the neighbors yards they do not try to leave...
The cat on the left is lacy who loves to catch little critters...
The cat on the right is cagney whom could care less about catching anything...lol
Cagney & Lacy....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 9:42AM
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lesmc

Precious cats!!! Your digging dogs are awfully cute,too! I have had terrible problems with voles. They are worse than the rabbits. I even considered getting a cat, but I am allergic so......that won`t work! Moles do no damage to my garden, but my yard can become a mess. Mother Nature can be difficult, that`s for sure! lesley

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:22AM
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