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Old 04-11-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Default Proactively managing moles?

I have a great population of moles/voles. I have a long-term plan to reduce the grubs in my lawn by replacement, but what sort of issue do these critters pose in a no-till garden? I'm really nervous that if I don't consider a plan to remove the foodsource (grubs, mainly?) for the moles, that they'll end up congregating in my vegetable/fruit gardens and becoming a real nuisance. I gather they also love worms, and in a no-till garden those guys are necessary.

For the record, my front yard has more mole hills than you can imagine. A major reason is the 50 year old Maple with roots right at the surface, though. Fortunately, for the moles, I'm not vain, nor am I inclined to outright kill them. I'd just rather they take up residence elsewhere, or finish out there tenure here and encourage their offspring to go elsewhere. Anyone with experience have ideas on how to minimize the damage these things could cause?
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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The best time to control Japanese beetle grubs is late summer early fall. You may have Japanese beetle grubs. It is more likely you have firefly or other grubs in the absence of large patches of dead lawn. Fireflies are a childhood joy many children are no longer able to experience as a result of indiscriminate grub control practices and products. Japanese pheromone beetle traps would be a viable option should you learn this is the grub you have.

You would want to identify the species of mole and vole you have prior to determining whether or not to take action. Most damage from moles and voles is cosmetic. Most not all.

Earthworms are not necessary for a no-till garden. Mycorrhizal colonization of our soil is.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:59 PM   #3
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mole Little critturs

In my lawn-turned meadow, the voles are having a "field day". Lots of them out there, working up the soil for me. Hey, it's a meadow, I don't mind. I don't see much mole activity out there where it's still mostly grass. Where I've developed my garden, the voles are absent. I get a few mole tunnels, but no significant damage. It's the chipmunks who really mess with my garden. But..., I live with it. It's not a no-till garden, so I can't advise you there, except to suggest that you should forge ahead and cross that bridge if and when you come to it.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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While catching up on threads I found this that might be of interest to you-
A Guide to Creating a No-Till Garden
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:42 PM   #5
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In places like a meadow I would consider moles and voles highly desirable since they provide food for predators and tunnels which are used by a wide variety of wildlife. I'm not sure what they would do to a garden.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:50 PM   #6
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We have a small number of moles, and we see the occasional chipmunk, too. Neither animal has had much, if any impact on the garden. I have mulch around the blueberry shrubs, and every now and then some critter digs down, from above, hunting for something in the soil. I think it might be crow or raven, but I have yet to catch one in the act.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Grubs
Quote:
“Aw, shucks” you exclaim. “Grubs! I've got Grubs. What the heck are grubs?” Well, grubs, or grub worms, are the larval stage of lots of different insects.

However, the one that is probably doing the deed to your green lawn is the grub worm of the Japanese beetle. They do much of their damage out of plain site, and their effects are delayed. They can wreak a lot damage on your lawn before you have noticed them. Then, it's too late. Moreover, grubs have a knack of inviting other undesirables and riff raff to your lawn, compounding the damage they have already done.

Grubs! Don't let their meager-sounding name fool you. They are more of a match than you might think. The most common type of grub is milky-white and shaped like the letter “C”. Just keep in mind, it's not so much the kind of grub you're dealing with. The important issue is when to deal with them...
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:18 PM   #8
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Beneficial nematodes and milky spore are on the top of my list for grubs. I don't have the "huge swath of perfect grass" to identify if grubs are the major problem, though, and I'm worried that if I wipe out the grubs, the moles will just invade my garden areas after the worms.

I'm certainly overpopulated, though, and removing the least mobile food source is probably the best idea.

I'm nervous about the nematodes, though, because even though they "don't harm" what's identified as a positive thing, what do they do to the food chain? "Over 200 pests managed" by the things sounds a bit like overkill to me.

I also need nematodes for squirrels... I'm picturing Gulliver, the squirrel, getting a stern warning to keep out of the strawberries, or else: the youngest boy in that house is old enough to shoot a bb gun, and likes strawberries.
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