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Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
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HoosierHarvester
Oct 4, 2014 6:27 PM CST
Why do moles make holes and come above ground?
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 4, 2014 7:34 PM CST
Perhaps a better question is: why do moles exist? Kidding, of course. We battle them year-round with little success. And, sorry, I don't know the answer to your question.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Oct 4, 2014 7:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 4, 2014 8:33 PM CST
Well, they do eat grubs and other insects under the turf. I wonder if they come to the surface to let more air get into their tunnels. Or maybe just to breathe?

My solution to moles has been to just stick the hose down the holes whenever I see them. The moles think they have tunneled into a swamp, and go over to my neighbor's house. (that's my theory, anyway)

Since I've gotten rid of most of my lawn I have hardly seen a mole hole, though. So, long term, eliminate your lawn and you'll see less mole holes.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 4, 2014 8:45 PM CST
Hilarious! "Get rid of the lawn." That's the best suggestion I think I've ever seen for getting rid of moles! Hilarious! Come to think of it, I don't believe I've seen any moles, voles, or gophers in the areas where we've eliminated the grass.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 4, 2014 9:16 PM CST
I've got moles in my rose beds .... no lawn.

@Bonehead, Deb ... how do you fight them ?

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 4, 2014 9:20 PM CST
Wishful thinking. I get mole hills in my lawn, garden beds, fields, woodlots, and even in the gravel driveway. They have no boundaries near as I can tell. Plus I like lawns. So, no plans to eliminate mine. Ah - one spot I've never seen one is inside the chicken yard - although likely if they did pop one up, the hens would make short work of scratching it down to nubbins.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 4, 2014 9:24 PM CST
Lyn, we cross posted. Over the past 30 plus years, we've tried every remedy we've heard of. The only reliable solution is to trap them. And their offspring just keeps coming back. We therefore just co-exist - knock down the hills before mowing and learn to live with a polka-dot lawn. On the plus side, when I need dirt for a potted plant, the mole hills are generally pretty fluffy.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 4, 2014 9:33 PM CST
Moles homes are 5 feet below the surface. What we see are only their feeding tunnels. You are only lucky (like I was once) if you can flood them out to get to them. I use Sweeney's Mole Repellent on one side of my lawn from where they are coming from. Seems to help keep them in my neighbor's yard. Whistling They have a sad lawn with lots of grubs. I keep the grubs under control. I never see mole hills, only long tunnels, though. Are you sure you don't have gophers @Bonehead??
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 4, 2014 10:00 PM CST
This is the first year I've had moles or gophers in any of my beds. We are going through a period of extreme drought and it seems like these critters are following the water. I have the only garden in my neighborhood that gets regularly watered because I grow a lot of roses.

So far, I haven't even come close to managing the problem. I've been told I have to dig up every rose and put them in gopher cages or risk losing the roses. The cost of the hardware cloth required for the gopher cages and the fact that I am living and working in an older body makes the very thought of doing all of that work seem totally overwhelming.

Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 4, 2014 10:23 PM CST
I s'pose where you grow things that attract subterranean insects, that's where you will have mole tunnels as well. No insects in the chicken pen, right? But where Lyn is growing roses, enriching the soil, tilling and watering is a more attractive area for insects, so also for moles. My flower borders are mostly perennials and shrubs so not all that attractive to insects. Lawn grasses are a banquet to insects here, though. I've heard people say that what it takes to grow a beautiful lawn here is "chemical warfare" and that plus all the water, fertilizer and mowing is why County Extension encourages people to get rid of lawn.

Here in FL you often can't dig down more than 2 or 3 feet before you hit a dense clay layer. Probably our moles don't have their dens quite as deep, so that's why I was able to flood them out consistently.

Circling back to the original question as to why they come to the surface, no clear answer but I did find this line in the Wikipedia description:
"Moles have been found to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide than other mammals, because their blood cells have a special and unique hemoglobin protein. Moles are able to reuse the oxygen inhaled when above ground, and as a result, are able to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows."
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Oct 4, 2014 10:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 5, 2014 12:01 AM CST
Elaine ..

"But where Lyn is growing roses, enriching the soil, tilling and watering is a more attractive area for insects,

I don't enrich the soil with any amendments, nor do I till the soil. All organic materials go on top of the beds. It would be easy to think of the insects in the OM, but down deeper, my soil is not so hospitable to insects. With the extreme drought we have been experiencing, I haven't even seen as many worms as I've seen in prior years. All I can think of is that they are following the water.

Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
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HoosierHarvester
Oct 5, 2014 6:02 AM CST
Deb ... first post -- too funny! Hilarious! It has just been kind of wierd this year. I have a large garden (all in rows) with fabric mulched (plus bark) walk paths. In the growing rows I've never seen so many mole holes for above surface. But all the posting caused me to think a little about all the rain we've had. I've actually seen moles feasting on earth worms, and I actually questioned if they truly do eat japanese beetle grubs. But with all the rain we've had, perhaps the earth worms are driven closer to surface level, so the moles have more holes to come above ground. The year we had a real bad drought, I saw very few mole runs in my garden or in the yard.

I suppose the only answer is to get a pet bullsnake. Smiling
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Oct 5, 2014 9:43 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said: So, eliminate your lawn and you'll see less mole holes.

Oh how I wish I could convince my husband to eliminate the entire lawn. I hate grass/sod and although we downsized to house with a smaller yard a few years ago there's still waaaay too much grassy area for my taste. I'd love to have a totally natural and native landscape! In a couple of years when hubby retires we plan to move a bit farther south to be closer to my sister and family so maybe I'll finally get to have a totally native landscape or pretty close to it. Aaah ... no mowing ever again! Lovey dubby

Regarding moles ... our next door neighbor had an exterminator put something on her lawn to get rid of them and it seems they've moved to our yard. I've lately been noticing tunnels all over the place and a week or so ago I noticed the dog digging frantically and sniffing like he was truly after something! I made him go inside and I filled in the hole. The next morning I found a little dead mole laying in the grass. I know the dog didn't get it or I would have seen him playing with it so I thought possibly the chemical the neighbor had put on her lawn maybe made it sick and it came to the surface in my yard and died. Yesterday the dog went crazy digging at another spot in the yard along the edge of a flower bed where there was a tunnel so I had to make him go inside again. Poor pup thinks mama is taking away his fun but I don't want him digging holes in the yard and I sure don't want him to get ahold of a mole. We don't use chemicals on our lawn/garden (mostly because of the dog and for our own well being too) so there are probably grubs or something beneath the sod that are attracting the moles. My dear mother in law used to take dog hair and shove it down in the mole holes and she swore it always got rid of them but I tried it and it didn't work. We didn't have a dog at the time so I tried it with cat hair ... I guess those lil' critters didn't mind cat fur. Green Grin!

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 5, 2014 10:20 AM CST
My dog catches moles now and again - not much difference between a mole hill or a dog hole, and at least sometimes I end up with a dead mole if I let the dog dig... Cheryl, my underground critters are definitely moles, not gophers (per corpses).
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Oct 5, 2014 12:23 PM CST
LOL, I think Gophers are kinda cute but I've never seen them here in Florida. I think moles are rather weird looking and when I found the one in the lawn I took a plastic plant saucer and scooted it over to a stepping stone and took a picture. I left it there and the next day it was gone ... wonder if some night critter ate it? Eww!
Thumb of 2014-10-05/plantladylin/013390

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 5, 2014 12:57 PM CST
Neither my dog or cat will actually eat a mole. The dog packs it around as a chew toy (with resultant dead animal breath) for as long as it holds up, but I generally toss it way out in the woods as soon as I can wrestle it away from her. Both the cat and husband present their kills to me for approval, then have no further interest in them.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Oct 5, 2014 12:59 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 5, 2014 1:23 PM CST
OK ... this is my first year with moles. It's what I get for gradually improving the soil ... Smiling

I am not worried about my small patch of lawn. I've slowly been getting rid of it as I've made new beds. Soon, it will only be a "path". But I don't know if I should be worried about the damage the mole tunnels are causing in the rose beds. I know their tunnels can be good in breaking up the soil, but do they harm the plants ? Yes, the moles only eat insects, but I've found that disturbing the earth near the roses has made it harder to keep them properly watered. Of course, the drought has its impact, too.

Yup, the gophers have to be trapped or caged out because they eat the roots of plants.

I don't have any animals that hunt, but I hate the thought of using gopher poisons.

Do I go around and just fill the mole tunnels back in and hope for the best or is there something else I should be doing ? It's not about appearance, but plant health to me.

Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
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HoosierHarvester
Oct 5, 2014 3:42 PM CST
I go around and try to cover in mole holes and disturb the runs, but then I'm looking at winter freeze, and you are probably not. (I think they hibernate here in winter.)

One of the reasons you spoke of is why I really dislike moles. I plant some nice new things (small) annuals and perennials, and they will come and make their run under the row, or a part of the row, lifting the plants out of the ground, and if I don't catch it, and it gets very dry, the plants die from lack of water ... not that they hurt the plants in any other way.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Oct 5, 2014 6:00 PM CST
Thank You! HoosierHarvester

Since I've never had them in the past, I've been pretty worried about their impact on the garden. I do know where I found the most tunnels this summer, those were the roses that were the most water stressed. These are not young plants. One of the roses that seemed to be affected the most must be about 50 years old.

There were other issues causing water stress in the garden due the drought, but this bed was one I just couldn't give the roses enough water. I thought the mole activity might have been part of the problem.

No, my soil doesn't freeze at my elevation, but I think it has too much dense rock in it to even think it might freeze.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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