Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reduce landscape damage by wildlife

There are things you can do to discourage pests such as moles, skunks and raccoons from digging up your yard and garden.

There are two kinds of moles that work under the lawn. The star-nosed mole digs at least 6 inches deep and leaves periodic piles of soil that are air vents. The eastern mole tunnels shallowly and it is possible to follow its trail around the lawn and flower beds. Eighty percent of both moles’ diets are earthworms and the remaining 20 percent are soil insects and grubs. They are not eating plant roots.

Mole control is not about grub control in many cases, but it is important to make sure that grubs are not the driving force of your mole invasion. Otherwise, if it is just moles working on that 80 percent of their diet, look at some of the mole repellants that are available.

Skunks and racoons will dig in the lawn, especially in the spring and fall looking for grubs, earthworms or soil insects. Having them digging does not mean there are grubs. They eat the same things moles do, but work from the top down.

If there are less than five grubs per square foot, try some of the surface repellants that are castor oil-based. These mask the smell of the grubs just below the surface. These repellants can be sprayed on the surface, but are not watered in. Spray the areas that are just adjacent to the damaged areas and any areas that have some damage.
Eastern mole
 Photo by Kenneth Catania, Vanderbilt University


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