Animals in your garden can be a real nuisance. Rabbits and moles in particular can make a spectacular mess of a beautiful stretch of lawn turf, but what can you do about it?
Usually the first sign of mole activity is molehills in your lovely lawn, and it’s most likely to happen in late winter or early spring. But a molehill is not just a pile of soil, because it is also the visible sign of a network of tunnels. You’ll need to remove the soil before mowing, and also backfill surface tunnels to prevent them from collapsing.
There are several ways that you can remove or deter moles. Electronic buzzers are available, which are supposed to deter moles, but nobody seems to be sure just how far away they will go.
Humane traps are also available. They need to be carefully placed in a tunnel about 10-20cm deep, and not directly below the molehill. You can find one by clearing away a molehill and checking the direction of the tunnel with a pliable stick. Dig down to the tunnel with the minimum of disturbance, and make sure that you rub your hands and the trap with soil to disguise your scent. Align the jaws of the trap with the direction and depth of the tunnel, and cover the hole with a bucket to shut out light. Check the trap daily, as sometimes the mole pushes soil into it and it will then need re-setting.
You can also buy live-capture traps if you don’t like the idea of killing a mole, but you’ll need to check them more often, as the mole may die of stress or starvation if left more than about half a day.
You should also be aware that vacant tunnels may simply be colonised by another mole, so you may need to keep trapping and removing moles. Alternatively call a mole catcher.
Rabbits do a lot of damage to plants, so their depredations on your lawn may be the least of your worries. But they can dig and scrape in lawns, and make a horrible mess.
If you live in an area where rabbits are rife, it’s hard to keep them out. But a wire mesh fence with the bottom 30cm bent outwards at right angles and laid flat on the ground will deter burrowing underneath, and hopefully keep them off flower beds or out of the garden altogether. A mesh size of 2.5cm or less will be too small for even young rabbits to squeeze through.
The best way to avoid rabbit damage is to grow plants that are less attractive to rabbits. They’ll be less likely to come into your garden, so less likely to dig up your lawn.
If you have a rabbit problem in your garden find a man with a ferret!