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Rethinking the Eastern Mole

Rethinking the Eastern Mole

How can an animal that does such much to help rid your lawn of pests be so hated by most homeowners?  Such is the life of the mole.

The beneficial mammal is a soil dweller that tunnels through the soil, increasing aeration as it searches out a meal of  beetle grubs, mole crickets, and slugs.  Moles prefer loose soil and can tunnel more than 15 feet an hour.  Moist soil brings the food source closer to the surface which in turn bring moles up to expose raised tunnels to homeowners.  These tunnels are mostly cosmetic and show up easily in mulched areas and lawns with heavier weed populations.  Most homeowners with a healthy, thicker lawn will rarely notice mole activity unless they encounter loose areas as they walk over the turf.  These can easily be pressed back down with your foot.

Mole tunnel in weedy area.  Photo:  Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

Mole tunnel in weedy area. Photo: Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

There are management techniques for moles which include traps and ridding the lawn of the food source.  The best practices are to manage the turf through proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing to create a uniform, healthy cover.  For the most part, mole management is not even required.  Consider the benefits of the moles as predators and allow them to be a natural part of the landscape environment.  For more information on moles read the University of Florida IFAS Extension publication.

PG

Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/04/15/rethinking-the-eastern-mole/