Identifying Mole Damage to Plants and Trees

When you put your heart and soul into your garden, the last thing you want is for pesky moles to come along and wreak havoc. These small creatures can cause considerable damage to your plants and trees, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The problem is, it’s not always immediately clear when you have a mole problem. While moles are notorious for creating unsightly molehills, they can also cause damage below the surface that’s not so easy to spot. In this guide, we’ll explore how to identify mole damage to your plants and trees, offer tips on how to prevent moles from causing damage in the first place, and provide options for removing moles from your property.

Identifying Mole Damage

Identifying Mole Damage
It can be difficult to identify if moles are causing damage to your plants and trees, especially if you’re not familiar with the signs. Moles are known for digging tunnels underground, and their presence can cause harm to plant roots and impact tree health. Being able to identify mole damage is crucial in preventing further harm to your greenery. In this section, we’ll go over the different signs to look for when identifying mole damage, including the molehill method, surface tunnels, and root damage. By the end of this section, you’ll have a better understanding of what to look for to determine if moles are negatively impacting your plants and trees. If you want to learn more about preventing mole damage to your greenery, check out our guide: Prevent Mole Damage to Plants and Trees.

The Molehill Method

One way to identify mole damage to plants and trees is through the molehill method. Moles are burrowing animals that create mounds of soil, also known as molehills, as they dig their tunnels. These molehills are typically conical in shape and can range in height from a few inches to over a foot.

How to identify mole damage using molehills

Sign of Damage Description
Molehills on or near plants If you notice molehills near your plants or in your garden, this is a sign that moles may be burrowing and digging around your plants’ root systems.
Mid-sized molehills If the molehills are medium-sized, around the size of a grapefruit, this is a sign that the moles have been digging deeper into the soil and could be causing more extensive root damage.
Large molehills Large molehills could indicate severe mole activity, which can directly impact the health of your trees and plants. These mounds can be quite destructive and disrupt the proper growth of plants and trees.

If you notice molehills around your plants, it’s crucial to investigate further to determine the extent of the damage they may have caused. It is also important to note that while molehills may be a sign of mole activity, they themselves do not damage plants or trees. Instead, it’s the burrowing and tunneling through roots which may harm the plants.

To learn more about the impact of mole damage on plant roots and tree health, you can check out our article on “Moles Damage Plant Roots and Impact Tree Health”.

Surface Tunnels

Surface tunnels are another sign that moles may be the culprit. These tunnels can be seen just below the surface of the ground and are often created by moles searching for food. The tunnels can be identified by their characteristic raised appearance and may look like ridges or veins on the surface of the soil. These tunnels can be very damaging to plants, as they can disrupt root systems and cause plants to weaken and eventually die.

To check for surface tunnels, gently press down on the soil around plant roots or in areas where you suspect mole activity. If the soil gives way underneath your finger, this may be a sign of surface tunnels.

If you notice surface tunnels caused by moles, you may want to consider planting trees and shrubs that are less vulnerable to mole damage. Additionally, mole control methods such as using vibrating repellents or natural predators can help prevent further damage. It is important to address surface tunnels as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your plants and trees.

Root Damage

When moles dig surface tunnels throughout a garden or yard, their burrowing activity can cause significant root damage to plants and trees. Roots can be severed when the tunnels are created, causing plants to wither and die if left untreated. In addition to cutting through roots, these burrows can leave exposed soil that dries out quickly, leading to poor plant health.

To assess the extent of root damage caused by moles, look for signs of dying or wilted plants near the surface tunnels. Gently pull up the affected plants, and examine the roots for signs of damage. Roots that have been cut or gnawed on may be brown or discolored, and can appear withered and dry.

To minimize root damage, it’s important to take action as soon as you notice signs of mole activity. Planting trees and shrubs with wire mesh around the root ball can provide a physical barrier against burrowing moles. Additionally, adding compost or other organic matter to the soil can help improve soil structure, making it less hospitable for moles.

To learn more about how moles and other burrowing animals can affect your garden and plants, check out our article on moles and plant growth. If you’re looking for tips on repairing damage caused by moles, our article on mole damage repair techniques for plants and trees is a great resource.

How to Prevent Mole Damage

How To Prevent Mole Damage
Preventing mole damage is essential for maintaining the health and beauty of your garden or orchard. There are several effective methods you can use to keep moles at bay and safeguard your plants and trees from their destructive activities. Using plant barriers, vibrating repellents, and encouraging natural predators are some of the effective ways to prevent the damage caused by these underground pests. By taking the necessary preventive measures, you can ensure that your garden or orchard remains healthy and prosperous. For more information on combating mole damage, check out our article on Combating Mole Damage to Garden and Orchard, or read about the impact of moles on plant nutrition and soil health and the importance of considering mole damage in landscape design.

Plant Barriers

One effective way to prevent mole damage is by creating plant barriers around your garden or yard. These barriers can help deter moles from burrowing into your plants and causing damage. Here are some plant options that can work as barriers:

Plant Benefits
Mole Plant The Mole Plant, or Euphorbia lathyris, produces a strong odor that repels moles and other rodents. Plant the Mole Plant at the perimeter of your garden or yard to create a natural barrier against moles.
Daffodils Daffodils contain a toxin that moles find unpleasant. By planting daffodils at the edge of your garden or yard, you can create a natural barrier that moles will avoid. Plus, they add a beautiful pop of color in the springtime!
Fritillaria imperialis Also known as the Crown Imperial, this tall plant has a pungent odor that deters moles. Plant Fritillaria imperialis at the perimeter of your garden or yard to keep moles away.
Alliums Alliums, like onions and garlic, have a strong scent that moles dislike. By planting alliums around your garden or yard, you can create a natural barrier that will help protect your plants from mole damage.

By using plant barriers, you can deter moles from burrowing into your garden or yard without having to resort to harsh chemicals or traps. Keep in mind that these plants will need to be planted at the perimeter of your garden or yard in order to be effective. Additionally, it can take some time for these plants to establish and create a strong barrier, so be patient and diligent in your efforts to prevent mole damage.

Vibrating Repellents

If you prefer a humane and chemical-free approach to deter moles from your garden, vibrating repellents may be the solution you’re looking for. Vibrating repellents work by producing a noise or vibration that mimics the sound of predators or creates an uncomfortable environment for moles. This makes the area unpleasant for the underground creatures and encourages them to leave.

There are several types of vibrating repellents available on the market, each with unique features and advantages. Here’s a breakdown:

Type Description Pros Cons
Sonic Spikes Spikes that emit high-frequency sound vibrations into the soil Easy to use, effective for small areas Limited range, may not work on all species
Underground Repellent Large units that produce seismic waves that travel through the ground Effective for large areas, works on a variety of pests Expensive, requires professional installation
Vibrating Stakes Stakes with an attached battery-powered motor that creates vibration Portable, affordable, easy to install May not work on all species, limited range

While vibrating repellents can be effective, they may not provide a long-term solution to your mole problem. Moles have been known to acclimate to the vibrations over time, rendering the repellents useless. It’s also important to note that vibrating repellents do not harm moles and are considered a humane way of deterring them.

If you’re considering using vibrating repellents, it’s best to combine them with other methods of mole control, such as plant barriers or natural predators, for maximum effectiveness.

Natural Predators

One way to prevent mole damage to your plants and trees is by introducing natural predators. These predators can include animals such as cats, dogs, and certain bird species that prey on moles. Here are some natural predator options:

  • Cats: Cats are natural predators of moles due to their hunting instincts. If you have a cat, they will likely hunt and kill the moles in your yard, reducing their population.
  • Dogs: Certain dog breeds, such as Jack Russells and Dachshunds, are bred to hunt and kill small animals. These dogs can be trained to hunt moles in your yard.
  • Bird species: Certain bird species, such as kestrels and hawks, also prey on moles. You can attract these birds to your yard by providing bird feeders and nesting boxes.

Keep in mind that introducing natural predators may not completely eliminate the mole population, but it can help to reduce their numbers and prevent further damage to your plants and trees.

Removing Moles from Your Property

As frustrating as it may be to deal with mole damage on your property, it’s important to remember that these small creatures are just trying to survive. However, if their presence is causing significant harm to your plants and trees, you might need to take action. Removing moles from your property can be a difficult task, but with patience and persistence, it’s possible to find a solution that works for both you and the moles. Let’s explore some DIY methods and professional removal options to help you make an informed decision.

DIY Methods

When it comes to removing moles from your property, there are a few DIY methods you can try before calling in the professionals. Here are some options:

  • Trapping: One popular method is to set up a mole trap in areas where mole activity has been observed. There are different types of traps available, but they all work by capturing the mole alive so it can be released elsewhere. When setting up a trap, it’s important to wear gloves and handle it carefully to avoid leaving your scent on it.
  • Repellents: There are a variety of mole repellents on the market, including sprays, granules, and electronic devices. Some of these products use castor oil or other natural ingredients to repel moles, while others emit vibrations or sounds that are unpleasant for moles. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products can vary, and they often need to be reapplied regularly.
  • Flooding: In some cases, flooding an area of your yard where moles are active can force them out of their tunnels and onto the surface. However, this method can be difficult to control and may cause damage to your lawn or garden.
  • Planting: Some plants, such as daffodils and marigolds, are thought to be natural mole repellents. Planting them in areas where moles are active may deter them from tunneling there. Additionally, planting less attractive food for moles, such as alliums and fritillaries, can also be effective.

It’s important to remember that removing moles from your property can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and there’s no guarantee that any one method will be effective. If you’re not comfortable attempting to remove moles on your own, it’s best to consult with a professional pest control company.

Professional Removal

When it comes to removing moles from your property, professional removal is often the most effective option. Professional exterminators have the experience and tools necessary to safely and efficiently remove moles from your yard.

One common method used by professionals is the use of traps. There are a variety of traps available, including live traps, lethal traps, and even sonic repellent traps. Live traps capture moles so they can be safely relocated, while lethal traps quickly and humanely kill the moles.

Another method used by professionals is the use of pest control treatments. These treatments involve applying pesticides and other chemicals to your yard to kill the moles and their food supply. This method can be effective but must be carried out carefully to avoid harm to other animals and plants in your yard.

It’s important to note that professional removal can be expensive, with costs depending on the size of your yard and the severity of the mole infestation. However, the results are often worth the investment, as professional removal can provide a long-lasting solution to your mole problems.

If you decide to hire a professional exterminator, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable company with experience in mole removal. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or read reviews and testimonials before making a decision. By choosing a trusted professional, you can ensure the safety and effectiveness of the mole removal process for your plants and trees.

Method Pros Cons
Traps Can be effective and humane; moles can be safely relocated May take time to catch all the moles; may not be effective for large infestations
Pest Control Treatments Can be effective for large infestations; long-lasting solution Requires careful application to avoid harm to other animals and plants; can be expensive


In conclusion, identifying mole damage to plants and trees is crucial in maintaining the health and vitality of your garden or property. Moles may seem harmless, but their extensive digging and tunneling can cause significant damage to the roots of plants and trees.

Prevention is key when it comes to deterring moles from your property. Utilizing plant barriers, vibrating repellents, and natural predators can all be effective in making your property less attractive to moles. However, if you do find evidence of mole damage, it is important to act quickly to prevent further harm to your plants and trees.

While there are DIY methods for removing moles, such as using repellents or trapping them, it is recommended to seek professional removal services for the most effective and humane approach. Removing moles without proper training can not only be ineffective, but also lead to harm of the animals.

Remember, moles are part of the natural ecosystem and play a crucial role in soil aeration and pest control. By being proactive and taking steps to prevent mole damage, we can co-exist with these fascinating animals while maintaining a healthy and thriving garden or property.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do moles damage plants and trees?

Mothers dig tunnels and feed on earthworms, grubs, and various insects. These tunnels can damage the root system of plants and trees, limit water absorption, and destabilize the soil structure.

How can I tell if I have a mole problem?

You can identify a mole problem by noticing molehills, surface tunnels, and damaged plant roots or stems. You may also see active mole activity early in the morning or late at night.

Are moles harmful to humans?

Moles are not harmful to humans. In fact, they are beneficial to gardens and yards by aerating soil and eating various insects.

What are some plant barriers to prevent mole damage?

Some plant barriers include chicken wire, landscaping fabric, and burying plant roots in containers or baskets before planting.

Do vibrating repellents work to keep moles away?

There is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of vibrating repellents. Some homeowners have reported success while others have seen no difference in mole activity.

Can dogs or cats help keep moles away?

No, dogs and cats do not typically deter moles as they do not consider them a food source.

What DIY methods can I use to remove moles?

DIY methods include using traps, flooding active tunnels with water, and using castor oil or other repellents to drive moles out of your yard.

Why is professional removal recommended for mole problems?

Professional removal is recommended as it may be the most effective and humane way to remove moles from your property. Professionals have the knowledge and tools needed to safely and effectively remove moles.

Do mole problems vary by region?

Yes, mole problems can vary by region due to different soil types, climates, and habitat availability.

What is the life cycle of a mole?

The life cycle of a mole involves gestation for 42 days, a nursing period of 4-5 weeks, and independence after 5-6 weeks. Moles can live up to 2-3 years in the wild.