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What Is causing the raised tunnels in my garden?

Updated November 21, 2016

Underground pests are capable of wreaking havoc in gardens, digging out raised tunnels that upset and uproot plants and destroy the look of the lawn. Pests that live underground are difficult to manage because they are difficult to identify, and treatment techniques vary. Discover which animal is causing the raised tunnels to discover the appropriate cure for the lawn.

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Moles dig into the soil, creating burrows that ruin the look of lawn and garden areas. They cover the entrance of their burrows with soil mounds that make it difficult for gardeners to place traps inside. Eastern moles create conical soil mounds. Star-nosed moles make multiple tunnels just under the surface of the soil, which creates raised ridges.Using traps and flooding mole holes with water are effective in killing moles.


Like moles voles leave mounds of soil over the entrances to their underground yunnel networks. Meadow voles make tunnels in snow in winter. In warmer months, voles cover their burrows with grass to make the entrances difficult to find. As with moles, traps and flooding the holes will get rid of your vole problem.


Many rodents dig shallow burrows into the ground, accessible through a hard-to-see entrance. If the entrance is only around 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide, the burrow probably belongs to a shrew, which typically does not damage plants. Rats occupy burrows under or near buildings, piles of wood, shrubs and rubbish heaps. The largest of all burrow-builders is the badger, who builds sets with 30 cm (12 inch) openings. Keep your property free of rubbish and use traps to manage rodent populations.


Red squirrels create tunnels very near the surface of the soil and dig tunnels in snow during winter months. Ground squirrels also dig shallow burrows into the soil, usually in open areas of short grass. In trees, squirrels may be regarded as attractive, furry little companions for the garden. But in the ground, squirrels are a burrow-digging menace.

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About the Author

K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.

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