How to Get Rid of Moles and Pocket Gophers in Your Yard

The only thing spookier than a haunted house is a house that’s haunted by moles and pocket gophers. What’s the solution? Call in the “gopherbusters” — SkyFrog Landscape’s team of pest control experts has navigated the Gainesville, FL pest control scene for over 10 years and knows that getting rid of these stubborn, burrowing animals is no small task.

Moles vs. Pocket Gophers

While most people are more familiar with moles than pocket gophers, there is likely one of two different types of pests terrorizing your Alachua county lawn. Proper identification of the pest you are dealing with is crucial for implementing correct repellant measures.

Moles are insectivores that prefer moist soil. Grubs and earthworms are their main food sources. Pocket gophers are herbivores, causing grass and plant damage. They prefer dry properties, unlike moles.

Signs of Mole and Pocket Gopher Damage

If you find yourself sinking into uneven ground, your yard may be suffering from tunnel damage. It’s best to respond quickly because these tunnels can undermine the foundation of buildings if left unchecked. 

Once you’ve identified the presence of tunnels, you can differentiate between moles and gophers by the type of mounds they create. Moles create volcano-shaped mounds called “molehills.” These raised ridges of soil are frequently found along hardscapes such as walls and sidewalks. Pocket gophers, on the other hand, create crescent-shaped mounds and damage plant beds.

Treat the Cause, Then the Symptom

Now that you’ve identified the type of pest terrorizing your yard, identifying what about your yard makes for an attractive host site lets you know how to proceed. If any of the following factors describe the current state of your yard, consider the paired approach.

Rich Soil

Both types of pests are attracted to soil that is rich in organic material. Rotting tree stumps, dead leaves, and fallen tree branches provide an accidental food source to moles and gophers.

However, the presence of organic material in your yard is not always a bad sign! A temporary infestation can create helpful aeration. Long-term infestation, however, can destroy plants and earthworms.

Approach: Eliminate their food source. Certain organic components that double as pest food sources are more beneficial than harmful, such as earthworms. Removing grubs from your soil using targeted pesticides, however, can effectively starve out moles. Keeping a well-maintained lawn free of debris and weeds deters pocket gophers.

Over-Watered and Under-Watered Yards

Because moles prefer moist soil and gophers prefer dry soil, finding the right irrigation balance can be a tricky trial-and-error process.

Approach: If your yard is a host site for moles, slightly decrease your irrigation to dry out the soil. Conversely, if your yard is suffering from pocket gopher damage, increase its water intake to create an undesirable environment. Make sure not to flood tunnels — this can make it even easier for tunnels to form. If you’re considering modifying your irrigation routine, it’s best to contact an expert irrigation technician.

Cold Weather

Halloween isn’t the only thing coming with the fall. Cooler weather makes moles dig tunnels that are even deeper than usual.

Approach: The weather is out of your control, but trying the following deterrence techniques is not.

    • Trapping tends to be the most efficient approach, especially for moles located under your house. Spring-loaded prong and choker-loop traps are the most time-tested trapping methods.
    • Ultrasonic repellants create a constant sound that is irritating to ground-dwelling pests but unable to be heard by humans. This drives both animals to relocate.
  • Gopher and mole bait aims to exterminate them, but be careful not to accidentally bait pets or other animals.
  • Both gophers and moles are sensitive to castor oil. Mix three parts castor oil, three parts water, and one part dish soap. Place this at the entrance of their tunnels.

While the methods listed above may work, getting moles or pocket gophers out of your yard can be a long and trying process.

SkyFrog Restores Your Yard From Pest Damage

Get ahead of mole and gopher infestation with routine pest inspections from the pest control experts at SkyFrog Landscape. If your yard is currently infested, it’s important to remember that no single remedy is guaranteed to rid your yard of moles and pocket gophers. They’re just that stubborn! Contact SkyFrog Landscape for an estimate on recovering from tunnel and mound damage through relandscaping.