Ask a Question forum: dirt mounds in my yard

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Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 22, 2017 10:36 AM CST
We have a large open field on a small farm in mid - NH. Every spring something starts digging out of the ground and leaves mounds of dirt. What creates these dirt mounds? It is still happening in mid-July. The field is covered with flat discs now that are a nuisance.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jul 22, 2017 10:52 AM CST
When you say mounds the first thing that comes to mind is ANTS. There are many types of ants that will make mounds including but not limited to field ants and fire ants.

But, there are many other insects and creatures that will make mounds.

A picture of the mounds would probably help narrow it down.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 22, 2017 10:57 AM CST
Moles?
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
Jul 22, 2017 11:23 AM CST
The above listed plus a variety of other creatures including rabbits. Can we see pictures? It would help a lot to see what kind of holes. If you can include something to determine size.

I found a few websites that help identify holes in the ground.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jul 22, 2017 11:47 AM CST
mavisb said:We have a large open field on a small farm in mid - NH. Every spring something starts digging out of the ground and leaves mounds of dirt. What creates these dirt mounds? It is still happening in mid-July. The field is covered with flat discs now that are a nuisance.


I'm going to suggest moles. I've had them in the backyard for years. Though between my cats and my annoying habit of stomping the tunnels flat and using milky spore to like the scarab beetle larvae there, they were very reduced.

But they suddenly broke out into the front yard and I am suddenly seeing flat raised circles of bare dirt along the tunnels every 5' or so. Different soil or more food, I think.

I'll be soaking the soil with castor oil, putting down more milky spore, and dropping repellent pellets into the tunnels.

BUT, they have nowhere to go in the front yard. There is the house, the driveway, the street and a drainage easement surrounding the front.

They may hate castor oil smell and repellent pellets, but they have to eat or die. As bizarre as this seems, I think I need to herd them back into the backyard and then gradually over to my neighbors. I can't poison them because of the cats.

Sending them to the neighbors seems fair. They have trees they won't cut that are shading my garden.

Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 24, 2017 8:30 AM CST
Here are some photos of the dirt mounds/patches in my yard.
Thumb of 2017-07-24/mavisb/d68075


Thumb of 2017-07-24/mavisb/38c1c4

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 24, 2017 8:54 AM CST
Looks like moles to me.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jul 24, 2017 9:57 AM CST
I agree probably moles. They tunnel underground.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jul 24, 2017 10:21 AM CST
Are there gophers in New Hampshire? If so that would be my guess, and if you find out a solution, I'd love to hear it!

Porkpal
Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 24, 2017 11:04 AM CST
porkpal said:Are there gophers in New Hampshire? If so that would be my guess, and if you find out a solution, I'd love to hear it!

No gophers in NH. I am getting convinced that it is moles.

Name: Mac
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McCannon
Jul 24, 2017 1:28 PM CST
Our moles don't make mounds like that, but our soil is predominately clay and quit dense.
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jul 24, 2017 1:36 PM CST
My neighbor has moles, but there are no mounds of dirt, just trails of dead grass, have you dug down into the holes to see if there is a tunnel? Earthworms will also leave small mounds of casting, the lower pic looks like an earthworm mound...normally not that large
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Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 24, 2017 2:16 PM CST
McCannon said:Our moles don't make mounds like that, but our soil is predominately clay and quit dense.

I have never seen tunnels or holes in the top (for getting out). If it were earthworms, they
would be HUGE. I have had plenty of moles in my yards in CT and DE. These do not look
like what moles did there. Very perplexing.
I think the soil in this location is quite deep. My husband told me that the soil is very compacted and hard to dig in. This is a farm at the base of a mountain that hasn't been farmed for more than 25 years.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jul 24, 2017 2:27 PM CST
Do you have voles there? We have moles, voles, and gophers in NM.
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Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
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McCannon
Jul 24, 2017 2:35 PM CST
Moles don't generally make holes in the mounds. They are subterranean creatures and eat grubs and worms. Chipmunks burrow and do make exit holes to reach the surface, but don't usually create mounds, at least in my experience with them. I don't have any suggestions as to what is causing what you're seeing. I will say that compacted soil does little to deter either from burrowing. Here's a quick reference to moles, voles, and shrews, all of which can be found in burrows: http://extension.psu.edu/natur...
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 24, 2017 2:54 PM CST
Gophers make mounds exactly like those. Are you sure you don't have gophers?
Porkpal
Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 24, 2017 3:58 PM CST
porkpal said:Gophers make mounds exactly like those. Are you sure you don't have gophers?


In Mid-New Hamshire there are no gophers. We do have a lot of chipmunks and red squirrels.
This mounds appear sporadically and usually overnight. Had a fresh one appear today
7/24/17.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 24, 2017 4:09 PM CST
Whatever it is seems to tunnel along roughly in a straight line, pushing up dirt to get it out of its way as it proceeds - like a gopher. Can you carefully strip off the dirt from a fresh mound to find the hole leading up to determine the size of the guilty critter?
Porkpal
Hebron NH
mavisb
Jul 24, 2017 5:35 PM CST
Hi Porkpal,
You noticed something that I did not. Think you are correct. We will investigate further. There is more than one, I think and always in this spot and we have a lot of acres, but mostly woods. This field has probably been a field for at least 25 yrs. We have a tree farm
in mountains in a river valley that goes into a lake about 2 miles from here. The field is at the base of a mountain and get great spring run off. So great, that we have a vernal stream very close to the house. We are rather isolated and have many types of wildlife that includes Moose, deer, coyotes, beaver, bear, martins, bobcat, turkeys and many kinds of rodents, but no gophers.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jul 24, 2017 6:39 PM CST
I've been biting my tongue, all day👺 Like @porkpal said. It is exactly what a gopher, air vent looks like.

Dig down to tunnel, 6 to 8 inches, deep. Put a gopher trap each way. It maybe a three or four way tunnel, so one trap each way. Secure traps with wire, on ends, to a stake above.
Cover hole with board. If they see lite Thumbs down .
Let us know what you catch. 😁
AND ! Remember ! All them varmits, are like roaches !
If, you have one ! ......
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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