Mystery mound

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by marlingardener, Jul 10, 2021.

  1. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    For the past week, we have been finding two or three of these mounds in our yard. We are on blackland prairie soil, aka "gumbo," but the mounds are of sandy soil. There is no entrance or exit hole, just this strange trough down the middle. Each mound is about 3"to 4" tall and roughly 6" long. The mounds are not clustered, but are located randomly all over the front yard and orchard area.
    Does anyone have any idea what they are and who makes them? All suggestions gratefully received!
    mound 1.jpg mound 2.jpg
     
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  2. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    Maybe someone is playing a trick on you
     
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  3. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    Is there a hole under the mound? If you take the soil away is it replaced? Is the grass under the mound gone? dead? effected in some way? Have these mounds happened elsewhere? Some animals, as they excavate their home, carry soil in their mouths. What kind of small animals are in the area?

    Was the soil deposited by a piece of farm equipment?

    When all else has failed.....Alien :sete_072:mound builders has to be the answer.:)

    Jerry
     
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  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    Odif, we don't think it is a trick--folks around here aren't that inventive!
    Jerry, we raked off the soil--no hole under the mound. The grass under the mound is gone. We have seen no other mounds except in the front yard and orchard area.
    What kind of small animals are in the area? Armadillos, skunks, opossums, Norway rats, voles (if critters are around, we got them!).
    No farm equipment except our riding mower.
    Love your suggestions. I am leaning toward "the Mole People" theory (old sci-fi movie with a B rating. which was pretty generous!).
     
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  5. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    MY first thought was moles. Moles sometimes plug up their mounds to protect their tunnels from rain. You mentioned "gumbo" soil. An internet search told me this is heavy clay. Is it possible that you have Sandy soil deeper. Could these be pocket gophers. I just read on the internet about them. They may dig deep tunnels and they can make the plants disappear under their mounds. Apparently they may also plug up their mounds too.
     
  6. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    If there are no holes then the soil was transported. No grass under the mound indicates consumption or removal for a purpose. Next is there an overall pattern created by the position of the soil deposits?
    Do the troughs line up i.e. in the same direction? Point to each other or have a overall relationship to each other. Have you measured all of the mounds? Are their measurements consistent with each other? If the soil came from somewhere else the pH may be different. An extension service could provide that answer if compared to soil within a foot or two of the sample soil in question.

    Jerry
     
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  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    This is an intriguing mystery. Do you have one of those wildlife cameras?

    Are more of these mounds still appearing?
     
  8. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    Odif, I contacted the Texas Soil Commission and the substrate for blackland prairie soil is sand. The man I spoke to said he had no idea what was causing these mounds. I love stumping experts!
    Cayuga, we have had a trail camera trained on the area where these mounds are appearing, but have seen nothing at all. The mounds are still popping up and all look the same.
    We have a friend at Texas Parks and Wildlife that is pretty smart, and he is coming next week for a look-see (and lunch).
    There isn't any damage to trees, perennials, any greenery. But we are very curious!
     
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  9. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    Gopher !
     
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  10. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I'm waiting with baited breath to find out how the mounds are created and by what. :fingerscrossed: we'll have a solution soon.
     
  11. Ronni

    Ronni Hardy Maple

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    These look very much like the mounds in our yard which are caused by a severe mole infestation.

    It rained last night so these mounds are wet. But imagine them dry and they look very much like Your pictures.
    FE184966-5852-4DBB-9261-8D40F6DF3323.jpeg 2CB29781-68B5-4B05-83D9-FD572F89574D.jpeg
     
  12. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    Gophers !
     
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  13. Dirtmechanic

    Dirtmechanic In Flower

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    I learned to listen to you some time ago! This is fun to watch! Screenshot_20210713-225928.png
     
  14. Odif

    Odif Young Pine

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    We have moles here and they make hills in a similar way. The fact that your grass disappeared makes me think gophers. We don’t have gophers here.
     
  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I am thinking gopher as well, even-though we don”t have them here.....well, we do actually— in the kitchen, I am the “gopher”. You know, gopher this and gopher that. In an attempt to preserve my dignity, I refer to myself as a sous chef though.
     

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