Mole Damage

Encyclopedia Article

Overview of mole damage

The mole, although quite small and innocent looking, can create havoc on your lawn or your favorite golf course.

Image of turf grass that has sustained mole damage
Turf grass that has sustained mole damage

Signs and symptoms of mole damage   

Volcano like mounds of dirt that can be up to two feet wide may be a sign this furry creature is making a home in your lawn. These mounds are piles of excavated dirt from tunnels that the mole digs out with their front claws. The piles can cause bare spots in the grass and can be quite unattractive.

Disease cycle of mole damage

Moles make surface tunnels that cause cracks in soft soil. This can create what feels like spongy soil when stepped on. Moles' tunneling can cause cracks in concrete sidewalks and can even affect your foundation. Long-term damage can also be extensive. Moles are exceptional diggers and can tunnel up to 12-15 ft per hour. This can cause deep tunnels that can sink your entire soil level or cause large sunken areas in your lawn or golf course.

Type of Sample Needed for Diagnosis and Confirmation

The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help you to investigate and confirm if you plant has this disease. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on collecting and packing samples. Contact information for each states diagnostic laboratory for U.S. residents.  If your sample is from outside of Iowa please do not submit it to the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic without contacting us

Management of mole damage

So, how does one remove these pesky critters? The best and most reliable form of removal is trapping. There are many forms of traps on the market, including scissor traps and harpoon traps. These traps should be placed in the moles' most used tunnels. Live traps can also be used, but have been less effective and require constant checking of the traps to keep the moles alive.