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It appears that there are tunnels just below the surface of the lawn/shrubs/garden.  When you step on it, it caves in.


Moles dig tunnels just under the surface of lawns and gardens and sometimes push some dirt up to the surface.  Moles and voles are common pests in the yard/garden.  Basically, moles are carnivores that live underground, and voles are herbivores, often using the tunnels of moles to find food and to move around.  The two are easily confused.  Moles dig the tunnels.  Voles often use the tunnels of moles to move around.  Moles eat grub worms (good thing) and earthworms (bad thing).  Voles eat roots and other parts of plants.  If your plant just flopped over, you pull it up and there are no roots, it's a vole problem, not a mole problem.

Organic Control:

A barrier can be placed around the area you want to protect. You can do this by taking a 1' tall piece of wire fence (with about 1/4" openings) and bury it around the area to be protected such as your shrub bed.   Repellents containing castor oil may work.

Non-Organic Control:

There are traps and poisons at local feed and seed stores that can be used to control these pests.  Of course, caution must be used when children and pets are present.   See the link below for details.