Thursday, March 31, 2011

Molehills into Mountains on Minnesota Acreage

Ever hear the saying, "You are making a mountain out of a molehill?" It is used when someone is making a big deal out of trivial issue. BUT if you are trying to sell your home and a mole make a hill in your yard, it's not so trivial! Especially if you have spent thousands on landscaping for your property. Their destructive activity could cause concern to any lawn-loving Minnesotan and potential home buyer.
Pocket gophers, along with their little mole friends, are the bane of the countryside. These small little rodents cause serious damage to lawns and landscaping across Anoka County. Pocket gophers leave huge dirt mounds above ground and their runs will crisscross around your yard deep beneath the earth. Moles and Vole trails are the windy runs just below the surface of your lawn. There have been years where the ones in my yard look similar to an aerial view of "spaghetti junction" where 35E and 694!
Spring is a busy reproductive time for these little pesky creatures. As the ground thaws, homeowners the activity is going to begin. Gophers, moles and voles can have several litters in a season. If you do not want your yard overrun with dirt mounds and the dead damaged trails on your lawn all summer, it is best to address the pocket gopher/mole problem in early spring when the snow finally melts and the ground thaws.As a REALTOR® working throughout the Twin Cities north metro, I know that buyers from the city often become concerned when they see several huge dirt piles in a seller's front yard. It seems that these creatures have a knack for knowing when a home is put on the market and choose that time to dig a huge molehill. I have had several frantic sellers call the day after they have listed with their first ever gopher mound in their yard.
Similarly, when walking a property, buyers will from time to time stumble as the ground sinks beneath them when they discover a newly dug mole or vole trail. It can be a huge concern to a home buyer as these trails tend to ruin the sod and other landscaping.
Whether you are a buyer, seller or someone who owns a home on acreage, maintaining your landscape is paramount. Here are ideas to eliminate the mounds and trails from your yard.
How to get rid of moles, voles or pocket gophers:
  1. Get rid of their food supply. Pocket gophers eat grub worms that live in the dirt. If you chemically treat your lawn to kill the grub worms, the pocket gophers move on. Usually to your neighbors' yard.
  2. Mole repellents can also be used to change the taste of the grub worms. This can be purchased at a store or you can mix your own. One cup of dish soap, one ounce of Castor oil and ¼ cup of cayenne pepper mixed together and spread with a garden sprayer should do the trick. Of course this method again just moves the pests to your neighbors' yard.
  3. Ultrasonic Devices. I had a client who had some success with this method last year. The high pitched sound emitted by the unit is designed to sound like another gopher. Since these are territorial animals, they move on. Again, probably to your neighbors' yard.
  4. Use a poison for gophers and moles. This is effective but if you have pets or children, there are risks. Your pet could dig up the poison or the poisoned gopher and become ill or die.
  5. Set underground traps. This is an effective method with results that you can see. The wire traps are set underground in near the gopher mound. When a gopher moves through the burrow, he is killed in the trap.
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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