outside in the garden

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Astragene, with thanks to Garden web

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Mole infestation
We visited some real estate yesterday and noticed the lawn was riddled with mole trails, far more than I've ever noticed on a property. I wonder what causes such a great outbreak. According to a Ohio State University Extension fact sheet on the toic, it's not caused so much as revealed:
Over-watering your lawn can bring soil invertebrates and moles closer to the ground surface, making tunnels more visible. Reducing the amount or frequency of watering may help temporarily. Reducing the amount of turfgrass on your property will also reduce the visible signs of damage. In the long run, converting lawn to gardens, paths, hedgerows, or other more natural habitats can save you time and money as well as provide habitat for beneficial birds and butterflies. -- University of Ohio Cooperative Extension bulletin
The place where we visited had had a great deal of rain lately, and on the shady side of the house, the back step was covered with moss.
Another source notes the contribution of rain and shade:
Quality habitat for feeding and constructing permanent runways must be available for moles to become numerous. They rarely exceed a density of 3 moles per acre. Permanent burrows and nests are usually located in areas protected by trees, stumps, fence rows, buildings, or sidewalks. Although moles may tunnel anywhere, feeding grounds are often shaded by trees, with cool, moist soils near the surface. Burrows made while searching for food tend to wander in no apparent direction and appear on the soil surface as raised ridges --University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension bulletin