I have my grandmother's peonies (100+ years old) and planted them about 8 years ago in a nice sunny location. They thrived the first 2 years, at least most of them did. Then all of a sudden, they started doing poorly, so I moved them to a different location, mostly sunny, but got a little shade during the day. They seemed to acclimate OK, but this last summer the ground moles have peppered the area around them, causing them to sink further into the ground than what they would like. What should I do to them, to keep the moles from bothering them? I hope I can make them healthy again.
Thanks for your help!
Hardiness Zone: 5a
Shirley from Southwest Michigan
As is the case in any pest-control situation, multiple strategies are usually needed in order to see some success, but one of the more effective mole repellants I have read about recently is to spray castor oil or products containing castor oil on the soil around infested areas. Apparently the castor oil does not harm the moles, but it does give them a good stomachache and encourages them to forage for food elsewhere. It supposedly works on voles, too. You can find these types of products at feed supply stores, garden centers or online, but it's just as easy (and likely cheaper) to make your own. Add a 6-ounce bottle of castor oil to 2 gallons of water and 2 tablespoons of dish soap. Use a garden sprayer and apply it to the soil around the base of your peonies just before it's forecasted to rain (the rain will actually help it soak into the soil). Just one ounce of this particular recipe is said to cover 1,000 square feet for approximately 6 months so you may need to cut it down to suit your needs. I have never used this remedy myself (I've never had a mole problem), but I have seen it mentioned multiple times in several different gardening resources and others have told me that it's quite effective. If you try it, let us know if it works.
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Put some little Ex-Lax pills or pellets down all the mole holes, as far inside the entrance as you can. Works great in our neck of the woods!
I"m always for a humane way and I've heard that if you buy a cheap radio, tune in to a punk rock station and then put it in a ziplock & down the mole hole, they will leave. If you try this, I would like to know if it works.
---> I've heard you can put HUMAN HAIR down the mole holes (go to a beauty salon & just ask them for some) Moles just HATE the smell of us humans!
*also heard you can use MOTH BALLS (but they are as toxic as can be)
---> But I just got myself an indoor/outdoor cat! And believe me I have NO MORE MOLES... (Make sure to get your cat his shots, so he won't get rabies or any other nasty things form the moles) But, you know what, I think the moles just smelled my cat & ran off.... of course my cat "Smokey" did tend to use the mole holes as his personal "bathroom" which I'm sure did help to steer the moles away from my back yard! (& I had AT LEAST 50 mole holes! -NO KIDDING!) The holes are still there, but the moles are all gone... (My neighbor paid a guy $250 to come over the course of a week & trap his moles, mine were gone for the price of a bit of cat food!
*** To keep cats & dogs away from your plants indoors & out doors & away from your garbage cans do this:
-- Take a bunch of CRUSHED DRIED HOT PEPPERS, (or cayenne) about 2 or more Tablespoons
-- plus add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of GARLIC POWDER (garlic is for outdoor use only)
-- Put the hot pepper (& garlic powder) in a glass jar with lid & pour a bottle of RUBBING ALCOHOL over it. Shake well.
-- Let it sit a day or two, then strain
-- Pour the liquid into a WELL MARKED spray bottle
-- Spray on any plant or into your garbage cans to keep cats, dogs & other critters away...
(who knows... this formula might even work for moles too?)
I've heard that moles and voles hate pointy rocks. So when I plants anything new (perennials, peonies, bulbs, or even annuals) I add a handful of crushed stone from our driveway- we have this gravel called TRG. I forget what it stands for, but it's pointy. You could also used crushed sea shells. I think there's some product you can buy to prevent voles as well, but pointy rocks or shells are free and will improve the drainage around the plants.
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