Can Moles Damage & Dig Through Artificial Turf / Lawn?

Moles under artificial turf

Moles will dig and cause a lot of damage in your backyard or garden lawn. As a solution, you might have been recommended to install an artificial lawn, on the premise that it will stop moles from coming up through. 

But just how true is this, and do moles damage artificial turf?

Here’s my simple guide to moles and artificial turf, so you know what to do and how not to waste time and money.

Can moles come through artificial turf?

A lot of homeowners will choose to install an artificial lawn, believing that moles cannot dig through fake grass. As with anything related to critter prevention, the truth is somewhere in-between: artificial turf alone might not stop them damaging your backyard. 

Whilst it’s extremely unlikely that a mole can dig through artificial grass, they can still ruin your newly laid and installed fake turf. This can happen when they tunnel beneath the artificial lawn, creating a potential weakness unsightly bumps and dips. 

However, actual moles being able to damage and come up through the artificial turf is unheard of. Moles have teeth, front legs, and claws that are designed to shovel through soil. 

Moles are not known to be able to chew through plastics or other hard materials such as those used in artificial grass. So, in short, artificial grass does stop moles.

Gophers on the other hand, can damage artificial grass, but again, not by coming up through it. What gophers tend to do is chew bits off the artificial lawn and then use it as a bedding material in their tunnels. 

Can artificial grass stop moles?

If you are going to install artificial grass and have moles in your neighborhood, it’s important to do it right so you don’t waste huge amounts of money.

Here’s what you need to know… 

Moles and artificial turf

If you have a consistent mole problem in your yard and haven’t able to get them to leave, artificial grass could be the answer. Moles will not dig through artificial turf and come up through it, but they can still damage it and dig under it, causing sinkholes and dips in the lawn.

Given how much you’re going to invest in an artificial lawn, it’s important to make sure it’s installed and laid properly, otherwise you might still get mole problems.

Let me explain.

Laying artificial grass is a great way to stop moles from destroying your yard’s lawn. There’s no guarantee they won’t come back, but you have removed their ability to come up through the surface to create their famous mounds.

That means moles are less inclined to tunnel in a backyard with artificial turf laid.

But they still can.

For example, if your neighbor has moles tunnelling on their property, that tunnel network could come under the fence and beneath your artificial lawn. 

Once those tunnels appear under your artificial turf, it could lead to a collapse, and ugly indentation and dips on the synthetic lawn. It will be very expensive to pull it all up and get the holes filled and repaired.

The best way to stop moles damaging artificial lawn installations is to make sure the correct layers are put in place beneath the fake grass. It cannot simply be laid down over soil with no protection. 

You need to embark on methodical ground preparation, installation of wire mesh as a mole barrier, different layers of substrates and infill products.

By doing so, you dramatically reduce the chance of moles coming up near to the artificial turf surface, as you have created a multi-layered barrier guard beneath the artificial grass.

The most important aspect to the project is half-inch thick galvanized wire, known as gopher mesh. It’s designed so moles cannot chew or pass through it. 

Here’s a diagram from the website which shows the multiple layers in action. 

artificial turf layers
The different layers that moles cannot dig through.

Notice the different layers, and in particular the wire mesh at the bottom. Moles cannot come up and get to the artificial grass, as the stone compacts and locks into the mesh.

Moles typically dig tunnels up to 70cm deep. So, if these layers go that deep, it’s unlikely you will get moles under artificial turf – they will turn back and give up when they hit the compacted layers

Do you need a mole barrier underneath artificial turf?

In conclusion, yes you do need mole barrier or wire underneath artificial turf. 

Sinkholes can appear under real and synthetic lawns. But with wire in place, moles will be discouraged from tunnelling in your yard.

However, there is a negative to laying artificial grass to stop moles digging holes in your lawn. Whilst it removes the main threat of moles, it will also remove other aspects of the backyard’s ecosystem.

You will find that the biodiversity of your yard is dramatically reduced, as you no longer have a material that wildlife can thrive in.

Expect to see less birds, butterflies, and others.

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