An Epic Battle Begins

The dainty tall phlox continues to bloom in the perennial bed by the back patio. The days have been warmer than usual here, too, just as they have been warmer in so many gardens.

Other than shorter days, the phlox have no cues that fall is here, and so they continue to bloom, rejuvenated by recent rain.

The sky shows its bluest colors, as it does every fall.

The locust tree begins to show some changes in color and the grass below is littered with its dainty leaves, leaves that require no raking.

The lamb's ear foliage is soft and invites you to reach down and touch it as you walk by.

And I would love to continue to write about these good things in my garden, to write about time capsules and gardening geeks.

But I must turn all my focus and energy to prepare for a new battle to save May Dreams Gardens from a new menace.

Moles!They have arrived! They have burrowed! They are not only in the front lawn but have dug their way into the front foundation plantings. They. must. be. stopped.

In 20 plus years of having my own lawns and gardens, I have never had to battle moles! Am I ready? Will I win? I must win.

My preparation begins this evening. I will research how best to rid May Dreams Gardens of this mole or these moles, by any means available. I will ask you, garden blogger reader, to leave me comments or send me an email with your own methods to combat this new enemy.

This is serious. These are no bunnies who occasionally eat my beans. These moles could destroy all I have created. This will be an epic battle! And I will win!


  1. Oh Carol, I'm so sorry to hear that you have joined the ranks of the mole-afflicted. We have them in droves and I have no idea what to do either. Professional landscapers have advised killing the grubs that the moles go after, but we really don't have much in the way of grubs and I hate the idea of needlessly dumping tons of chemicals on our yard. Do you have woodsy areas near you? According to other "experts" I consulted, if you have any woodsy areas bordering your yard you will never get rid of the moles and you should just learn to live with them. One suggested watching the yard carefully and keeping a sharp shovel handy. When you see the ground move, stab deep and hard. Another said encourage the neighbor cats to come over and hunt moles.

    Personally, I have just resigned myself to moles being part of my garden. As my mom once said, being a gardener means constantly battling the elements and failing more often than succeeding.

  2. I've been battling raccoons and squirrels but thank goodness no moles. Try going to this site - and type in "moles" in the search box. I wish you luck!

  3. I try to coexist with the moles, which are generally eating grubs and worms, the damage to your garden is collateral. So far, they have confined their activities out to the north east corner of the yard, which is the savannah. They used to tunnel in the labyrinth, but don't any more.

    I read an article that said that moles do not like to tunnel past or through daffodil bulbs. It suggested that if you have troubles with them coming onto your place from somewhere, plant a line of daffodil bulbs between that place and yours and the moles will stay over there.

    Ithink this may work. Inspite of the fact that there are moles in the area, they are never in my flower beds, which are well supplied with daffodil bulbs of all sorts simply because Ilove them so much.

    My labyrinth project, which is to outline the whole pattern with daffodils, is about one third complete. I started with the outermost circle, I planted a daffodil about every three feet around that circle. The next spring there were no moles in the labyrinth.

    This has the added benefit that you get to enjoy beautiful daffodils every spring.

  4. Oh, and good luck! It is so depressing to have all the beauty you have worked so hard to create destroyed.

  5. I've never battled moles and have no advice to offer. They sound cute though, and I'd have a hard time stabbing a shovel into the dirt where I thought one might be. I like the daffodil solution---more of a "Make love, not war" approach.

  6. I hope that I don't offend anyone, but moles are like mice to me. I have no more of a problem killing them, than I would have setting a mouse trap. Two words, PITCH FORK. Good luck!

  7. Carol, they sound awful! I know nothing about them personally, just remember reading what was probably garden legend: people roll up sticks of Juicy Fruit gum and poke them in the holes - the flavor cannot be resisted and the gum turns their little digestive systems into concrete. Sounds kinda creepy, doesn't it!

    Do you think dry weather has anything to do with it? Can they tunnel through mud?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. I'm sorry to hear about your mole invasion...although I don't personally know anything about them I'll ask around...I hope someone has a good idea for you...hopefully something easier than actually stabbing them. I guess if you get frustrated enough it might be possible but I wouldn't count on it!

  9. Moles are not of the good for the gardener. They can really wreak an enormous amount of havoc in your garden. So Carol to arms and may the best mo.. erm I mean person win!!! ;-)

    Love your phloxes, they just keep on flowering!

  10. I've dealt with pocket gophers on occasion but not moles until now. It has come into my yard from the neighbors and at first it seemed an exploratory invasion as I destroyed the tunnel but recently it rebuilt. But!! I put some poisoned worms (looks like a pale yellow gummy worm) in the tunnel that are from the 'Tom Cat' brand of products. We will see what happens.

  11. If the moles get you down, you might find the movie "Caddyshack" cathartic although the pest there was gofers. (1 of Bill Murray's classic roles as Carl the groundskeeper.) Amazingly enough, moles are 1 critter I haven't dealt with (yet). Good luck!

  12. I'm sorry about your mole problem. Dare I suggest you get a cat or two?
    Maybe we have different moles than you do (we have two species, the alien-like starnosed mole, and a regular one) but I've never noticed any significant damage in the garden from them. So I'm a bit mystified but also will go and read up on them and see if I can find any insights that might help. The daffodil bulbs may be of some help (they also deter squirrels and deer) but you probably can't mine your entire garden with them.
    Courage, Carol. There will come a solution.

  13. Cats are a good solution, Carol. They don't have to be your own cats; they can belong to your neighbours. Some gardeners claim cats are problems too, but I don't believe a word of it. Bet of luck!

  14. I feel sorry for you Carol. Moles have been very destructive in our garden at different times. Just when I think we have them eradicated I sink into another run after a rain.

    The best you can hope for is a neighbor that kills them before they make it to your garden. They have to be coming from someplace.
    We had a neighbor once that stood in the adjacent field in wait for them to move about and killed them with a hoe. He kept them at bay until he moved away.

    Secondly putting milky spore on your entire garden will take care of grubs of japanese beetles and others. This eliminates some of the juicy goodies they are after. However they also like earth worms.

    THirdly I have put my dogs fur into the runs and sure enough they don't go through those runs again. I guess they think she is there to get them. However they will make a different route.

    I wouldn't get a dog to keep them out of the garden. My lab (rest his soul) dug up many a flower bed after the varmints. Destroying all that would be in his wake.

    Cats aren't near as destructive but they don't discriminate between moles and song birds. :(

    Good luck

    Lisa at Greenbow

  15. Carol, in the book, 1001 All-Natural Secrets to Pest-Free Property by Dr. Myles H. Bader, it says that moles do not like loud noises and are sensitive to sound waves. It suggests a transistor radio playing hard rock music.

    This one is funny- Place Ex-Lax squares in their hole to get them on the "run". Seriously this is supposed to rid them.

    Used kitty litter in the holes is effective.

    They hate the odor of roofing tar.

    I guess the number one method for removal is to rid yourself of grubs.

    Hopefully you can find a solution that will work.

  16. Well, I have to admit that I have not found the "natural" solutions solutions at all. As with some others, I try to co-exist where I can. But when they start damaging precious plants I use Mole Away, which is a powder that is sprinkled on the ground. It doesn't kills them, just deters them. It works for about a month.

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  17. Thank you all for the suggestions and support. Round One of this epic battle begins this weekend. Stay tuned...

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  18. I did a little more research, and this is what I found in our book "Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening" by Louise Riotte:

    "Moles are deterred by a few plants of caper spurge (Euphorbia lathyrus) strategically placed, by daffodil bulbs and castor bean plants. Thorny twigs of raspberry, rose, hawthorne or mesquite pushed inot burrows will scratch the moles and cause them to bleed to death."

    In our book on organic viticulture the author says that if you have moles you should plant a row of daffodil bulbs to keep them out of your property. They will not dig through them and they won't even go over the surface where they are planted. This may account for why there are no more moles in the labyrinth, since it is now totally ringed by daffodils.

  19. Carol,

    I really enjoyed reading these comments. The "Juicy Fruit" gum tactic is a hoot!

    We had moles in Maryland - not many - but the few we had were short-lived. Chloe took care of them. Do you know someone with a Boston Terrier you could borrow for a day?

  20. Carol,
    I'm sorry about your moles.
    I enjoyed reading your post and the comments.
    I have them. They don't really kill any of my plants. They just make a mess and make my walkways all uneven.
    My husband and I are also experimenting with different devices. I won't use poison because of my dogs.
    I will let you know if we find anything that works.
    BTW you mole problem will probably stop over the winter.

  21. Carol,
    I was affliced with the dreaded moles last year. Front, back, sides, the entire yard! I found that the gummy worms, "Talprid" poisin worked for me. I tried killing grubs and insects with everything. Traps, smoke, poisin peanuts, you name it... but the Talprid worked! Here's a link to what I found from the University of Nebraska:
    Sr. A


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