mole deterrent for raised beds

janz5's picture

I am thinking about diging up my 4'x12' raised beds and lining the bottoms and sides with some sort of wire mesh, snow fence, etc. to try to keep the moles out. Are there any materials that should be avoided? I do not want any contamination. Are there any other suggestions for keeping the little guys at bay? I tried the castor based spray around the perimiter of the area containing the beds and had no luck.

JOHNCABOT's picture

(post #5775, reply #1 of 8)

Wire mesh with spaces small enough to prevent moles from going through. I placed mine 6 inches below the surface, the roots have no problem getting through a 1/2 or 3/4 wire mesh.


It should not shed contaminants.


John Cabot

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #5775, reply #2 of 8)

I think you're going to want to use 1/4" hardware cloth. There are larger opening wires out there that moles couldn't penetrate, but they tend to be much more expensive and much harder to work with. Lowe's and I think Home Depot carries a very heavy duty plastic hardware cloth. Moles don't have gnawing teeth, they have pointy, carnivorous teeth. When they come to a barrier that doesn't yield to their digging, they change course. I don't remember if they have the plastic type in a 5' wide roll, but if they do, they you could simply roll it the length of your bed, staple it in place, then backfill with your soil. If you have to use two pieces, you'll need to "sew" them together with heavy fishing line. Overlapping won't work. However, I'd overlap *and* sew them together.

If you choose to go with metal hardware cloth (one advantage is you won't accidentally cut through it with a shovel), it's readily avialbe in 3' width, which you'd have to have to have five pieces of for overlap. Again, I'd wire the pieces together, moles are very powerful and if they find a gap, they'll persist till they get through. You'll need a 3' x 25' roll to give you extra to bring up on the sides to staple or nail into place.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Karen__W's picture

(post #5775, reply #3 of 8)

I use 1/4 inch plastic hardware cloth around individual plants. I tried using the metal hardware cloth as a barrier around one new raised bed, but it was a pain in the neck to work with and the moles and voles just go overland and dig in anyway. I had no luck with castor oil either. They just went to the other side of the path and ate more expensive plants to teach me a lesson. A good cat with strong hunting instincts would probably be the best solution.

North Carolina -- Zone 7
NancyDuncan's picture

(post #5775, reply #4 of 8)

There is a gardening lady who has written a column in our little local paper for about 40 years and she swears by Juicy Fruit gum.  I haven't had a problem - until this year - and so haven't tried it yet but am going to.  Apparently you just put an unchewed piece down the mole holes.  The little guys love it but it "gums" up their systems.


Anyone tried this before?


 


Gardening and cooking at the corner of the Pacific Ocean and Canada, zone 7
Gardening and cooking in the Pacific Northwest, zone 7
Jeapurrs's picture

(post #5775, reply #6 of 8)

Nancy, the juicy-fruit gum thing has been around a long time. It's an old wive's tale. Moles are strict carnivores.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
NancyDuncan's picture

(post #5775, reply #8 of 8)

Darn!  Guess I'll have to chew up all that Juicy Fruit gum myself!  Hope my own insides don't get gummed up!

Gardening and cooking at the corner of the Pacific Ocean and Canada, zone 7

Gardening and cooking in the Pacific Northwest, zone 7
janz5's picture

(post #5775, reply #5 of 8)

Thank you all for your replies. I hadn't thought about the overland route - it puts a new perspective on things. Got a good hunter but can't let her out; fleas, parasites etc. find her and she finds birds. The mole damage is to vegetable beds that are mostly direct-seeded and intensively planted. Would it work to lay the hardware cloth around the seeded area and on top?


Edited 2/21/2003 9:35:41 AM ET by jan

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #5775, reply #7 of 8)

Moles, once in the ground, rarely come out the ground and travel over it. They may break the surface at times, but that's more to shove soil out of their tunnels than anything because they're almost blind and very susceptible to hunters if they leave the soil. However, a mother raises her babies in a den underground. Moles are *very* solitary creeatures and can't stand one another, so the time comes when the siblings are fighting one onother and the mother can't stand any of them, so the babies all get evicted. They often leave the tunnel system, run as fast as they can as far as they can (in the dark) till they find a nice soft spot to dig in.

I was, for some reason, thinking your bed was raised or I would've pointed this out. In order to keep moles from re-entering your bed (I'm assuming the sides are lined with wood) they have to be lined with hardware cloth and you'll have to either extend the the hardware cloth up the sides several inches (consider making ####1" x 2" cap from cedar if using metal hardware cloth because otherwise, you may end up cursing the stuff and its sharp ends. It would also give the wire edge a "stiffness" to more resemble sides. You can either staple the hardware cloth onto the wood or if you have a table saw, cut a groove into the wood and slip the edge of the wire into the wood...but that's alot harder than it sounds. It doesn't need to be very high, 6" should be high enough. Moles aren't good climbers. You may even want to (if these beds are going to be permanent) use a plank of Trex around the bed, it'll be too slippery for a mole to climb and it'll last forever and it essentially looks like aged, painted grey deck wood. It's not cheap, but if it were me and I were going to the trouble to dig out a bed to line it with hardware cloth, I sure wouldn't want any of the little bastiches comig back in overland. And you might as well have a permantent coonstruction that needs no maintanence.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant