This Beautiful Spring Flower Will Keep Moles From Damaging Your Yard Naturally

This Beautiful Spring Flower Will Keep Moles From Damaging Your Yard Naturally

If you notice raised soil lines winding through your garden or lawn, you may have unwanted visitors in the form of moles. Moles are small mammals that spend most of their lives underground, using their large digging claws to create a network of tunnels in the soil. While mole tunnels can help aerate the soil, they can also cause damage to the roots, bury seedlings, or push plants out of the ground. This can make them a nuisance for gardeners, and the downsides of a mole occupation usually outweigh the upsides. Fortunately, there is a simple and humane way to keep moles out in the first place: planting daffodils.

Daffodils are hardy perennial plants that are easy to maintain in USDA zones 3 through 8. They have been popular with gardeners since the 1600s and have cheery blooms that range in color from white and yellow to shades of orange and pink. Their presence can also foster nutritional conditions in the surrounding soil, making them useful for neighboring plants. Moreover, they can serve as a harmless, effective, and beautiful line of defense against various garden-wrecking creatures, especially moles.

Why daffodils deter moles

yellow daffodils in the ground


There are many approaches to mole control, though not all of them are effective or humane. You can use traps to get rid of moles, but this isn’t a long-term solution. Even if you exterminate or relocate them, more will eventually dig their way in. Instead, planting daffodils in your yard may be more effective, as daffodil plants and their relatives (flowers in the Amaryllidaceae family) give off a fragrance that’s believed to be unpleasant to moles’ strong sense of smell. The plants also contain lycorine, a poisonous chemical that could also help deter the pests, as they may be able to detect that it’s harmful. However, daffodils will never harm moles, as these animals don’t eat plants. Instead, the flowers will simply force them to dig their tunnels elsewhere.

The best way to use daffodils against moles is to plant them along the perimeter of your yard or garden. If a mole tunnels into a line of daffodils, it will think twice about continuing in that direction. However, if you already have moles excavating your outdoor space, planting daffodils may not be enough to drive them out (unless you want an entire garden of daffodils). Instead, start by trapping and relocating the existing moles, then plant daffodils around the border to prevent them from returning. You can also add marigolds, another low-maintenance flower that’ll keep moles out of your yard. In fact, there are numerous flowers and herbs that moles can’t stand, so if you don’t happen to be a daffodil fan for whatever reason, there are plenty of other plants with a similar impact on moles. However, if you find that your pest problem persists, you may need to call an exterminator.

How to plant and maintain daffodils

hands digging hole and holding flower bulb

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When planting daffodil bulbs in the fall, timing is critical. The soil needs to be cold enough to signal the bulbs to grow roots, but the bulbs need enough time to develop a strong root system before the soil freezes. Wait until the soil is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — usually in October or early November. To plant daffodil bulbs, dig holes deep enough that the distance from the top of the bulb to the top of the soil is roughly double the length of the bulb. Experts recommend spacing the bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. You can plant them closer together to create a more dramatic grouping of flowers, but they will eventually get overcrowded.

Place a bulb in each hole, cover with soil, and water once right after planting. After that, all you have to do is wait. The bulbs will work their magic underground over the next several months and start sprouting when the weather turns warm. Take care of your daffodils with regular, moderate watering. After the flowers die, avoid cutting back the leaves, which are still using photosynthesis to deliver energy to the bulb. This will allow your daffodils to keep popping up year after year to announce the start of spring — and to protect your yard from moles.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.