Voles - New Problem

ncgardner(7B)June 17, 2008

My garden area is only 2 years old but just this month I'm starting to see the vole holes. Anyone have suggestions for a new onset of these guys? I hear they are very hard to get rid of and I hope by starting early maybe I can avoid some of the families getting comfortable and completely taking over my beds. I have a lot of time and money invested.

Any suggestions are welcomed.


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belzog_99(z6 PA)

I have some kittens that have been trained by their jedi master/mother that sleep all day and hunt for rodents all night. I have three that are free for good homes. They catch anything that gets in their path at night.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:25PM
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The best solution I've found so far is to build a lot of wildlife habitat in and around the garden (could be hard to do in a small or completely bare yard). Snakes are the best at controlling the vole numbers and hawks do a good job in the winter - but nothing gets rid of all of them. It will be an ongoing battle, you will never win the war.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 10:49AM
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You may have to take special measures with voles' favorites such as Baptisia. I've had to plant all of mine in pots with the bottoms cut out.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Alicia - That is one of my passions. Can I plant Baptisia in a plastic pot with the bottom out? I have a LOT of plants and I'm sick before they really get started. I'm not a cat person but I'm really thinking about getting several if that is what it takes.
BELZOG - Where are yo in NC???? I might take you up on the offer. Cats or kittens???

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:08PM
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NcGardener, I've been using 2 gallon pots with the bottoms cut out and mulching with sharp-edged gravel with a thin layer of dirt on top. The pots have been thwarting the little buggers for 2 years now.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:11PM
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I really thought that I was going to have a problem because we noticed soft tunnels all through our front meadow. At this point (knock on wood) there has been no sign of them in the garden. I don't know what stopped them (and I do have baptisia). I have deer resistant plants along the garden edge at the meadow...lavender, salvia, lambs ear, nepeta, ornamental grasses, etc. I also have edging hammered down to keep the crabgrass out. Would any of these have deterred the invasion? Also, my husband mows the meadow every week when we get rain (HOA covenant to keep it mowed). I don't know if the mowing is also a deterrent?

That said, I do have a BIG black snake (aka 'Cecil') in the garden. There are also red-tailed hawks nesting in our woods.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 4:42PM
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Cameron the soft tunnels sound like moles, not voles.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 7:17PM
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There are holes everywhere out in the grass around the tunnels. I thought only voles make the holes?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 10:05PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Oh, no- moles make holes too. Moles are after worms and other insects and don't generally bother the plants. Their tunnels are raised and they tend to have a little volcano outside the entrance. Voles eat plant roots, and their tunnels are deeper and don't tend to make a mound at the entrance or along the run. Something else to keep in mind is that other things make holes and/or use the holes to their advantage- toads and snakes for example.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:10PM
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Hmmmm this may be solving one of my garden puzzles. Last year, first summer here with a new yard, I noticed a lot of tunnels in my yard. They were like something was pushing just under the surface of the dirt and pushing the surface up in little hills all over the place. I too, thought voles. I know I have field mice, saw one peaking out of a hollow beam on my garden shed. I also thought about moles but dismissed them as the vegatation didn't seem to be disturbed by their activity, just those humps in the yard. This year I noticed as soon as I put in a veggie garden, the tunnels were all over the place around it. I thought nothing would come up because they appeared almost over night. I thought for sure all my seeds were gone. But I have lots of little veggies popping all over. So the seeds were not disturbed nor my young plants. Perhaps they are coming in due to the increase of water around the garden for the bugs. I sure have enough bugs around here to feed an army of them.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 11:44AM
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also, skunks dig at night for grubs - making holes along the way


    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Fortunately, we don't have skunks in the triangle area. Not sure at what point they taper out east to west. We don't have porcupines, either.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:25PM
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