No scyther enjoys meeting a molehill whilst mowing.
It interrupts the flow of your scythe strokes, and worse still, blunts your blade!
We have a very healthy population of moles on the farm, complete with accompanying molehills.
Now, whilst the weather is dry but before the grass is really growing away, is the time of year to flatten them.
The industrious moles will of course throw up more, but flattening them now vastly reduces the number that will be lying in wait for the scythe.
Spring gets underway with a bit of meadow maintenance – flattening molehills!
Molehills – a problem?
Unless you are planning on making haylage or silage, where soil contamination can lead to Listeriosis in livestock, mole hills are more of an inconvenience then a problem. Soil contamination is not an issue with hay. Nor is it an issue if you are simply planning on removing mowings to a compost heap / garden /orchard etc.
Moles are as much a part of the meadow ecology as any flower or insect . I would rather work around them then try and reduce their numbers.
We ignore mole hills in fields that we don’t mow. Spring lambs enjoying leaping on them and flatten a fair number, others gradually grass over and add to the three dimensional nature of the field.
We flatten them in the hay meadows every spring to try and keep the fields a bit more even for mowing, and to decrease the number we meet when mowing.
How to mash a mole hill
ABOVE: Field wood-rush (Luzula campestris) or Good Friday Grass. This is one of the first things to flower in the meadow and a welcome sign of spring. My Welsh speaking neighbor knows it as Pen Llwydyn. He says that traditionally a good flowering indicates there will be plenty of grass for the cows in the summer to come.
We flatten the molehills by hand, armed with a stout garden rake. In previous years I’ve invited friends round for a mole hill mashing party, but not this year! Despite the prodigious numbers the moles throw up in our 6 acres of hay meadow, it doesn’t take too long to flatten them, even when we are reduced to two rakers.
It is also a good opportunity to spend some time in the meadow and see what is stirring. Right and below are some of things I have found in the last few days.
BELOW: Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) on a mole hill.This beautiful solitary bee makes underground nests. When freshly made, the entrance is marked by a distinctive volcano of soil.