One of our favourite children’s tales, who doesn’t have a fondness for Wind In The Willows and the colourful animal characters brought to life by Kenneth Grahame?
Mole’s journey into life above ground and the friends he meets along the riverbank is quite charming, but it’s a rather different story when it comes to unsightly mole hills - and the thought of them burrowing under our flower beds.
Ironically, moles feed on earthworms and other soil-dwelling creatures, not on plant roots. And where there’s one, chances are there could be a labour digging tunnels and causing damage.
After all, the main breeding season runs from now to June, and there can be three or four young nesting underground.
Here’s how to keep those childhood memories sweet, but keep Moley at bay…
1. Smell them out
Their earthy pink snouts are sensitive to smell. Try using odour balls impregnated with natural plant extracts - simply bury the balls in the ground to prevent the moles entering the garden, as well as repelling any that may be there already. Alternatively, placing garlic, onions or rotten food into the tunnels can do the trick.
2. Net worth
If you’re planning to lay new turf this spring, you can install mole-netting before the turf is laid which can prevent them coming to the surface and creating molehills.
3. Hear! Hear!
Garden centres sell electronic devices and the buzzing noise is said to drive them away, although the moles may just go to another part of the garden.
4. Bottle bank
Try partially submerging glass bottles where there are signs of moles. Make sure the bottles stand upright so the wind can blow over the lip of the bottle and, apparently, this sends sounds or vibrations into the soil and deters the moles.
5. Plant some poison
There are a few plants that moles don’t like, especially euphorbia lathyris – otherwise known as mole plant. It’s pretty and flowers from May to June, but the sap is toxic. Not ideal if you have children or pets, but can get rid of the moles.
6. Set a trap
Sometimes the only solution is a trap. A live-trap catches the mole, but does not kill it. However, you need to check them at least twice a day and release the mole promptly as it will suffer unnecessarily.
7. Wind them up
Some people have had success with children’s windmills by placing them over a mole-prone area as they don’t like vibrations.