Voles-effective, nontoxic discouragement?

brandyray(Coastal NC/8a)February 11, 2013

Okay, after at least 3 years of watching plants die, I have figured out it is Voles. Now, I have used the urine, castor oil & water treatment (too soon to know if it will be successful), but I have read that mixing pea gravel in w/ the soil deeply discourages them. Anybody tried this? I have a lot of area to cover, but I thought I could start w/ digging a trench around the outside of one garden and work the pea gravel in about a foot deep, then just gradually keep extending it. I also thought that new plants should be planted w/ pea gravel in the soil. I hope some of you more experienced gardeners will share what worked for you. Thanks, Brandy

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Pea gravel has edges that are too round to be an effective barrier for much of anything, you need something with sharp edges such as maybe crushed limestone.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:47AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

many east coast hosta peeps.. build hardware cloth cages.. bury them.. and plant inside ...

i have never heard of ringing a bed.. with any success ..

population control is the solution.. you cant really play nice with rodents .... it sounds like your population is out of control .. i figure you dont want to hear this.. but it has to be said ... hire professionals.. and save the backbreaking labor of moving stone/rock ...

a great place to start is with a FULL AND COMPLETE ID of your vermin in particular.. i suspect you are guessing ...and you are going to have to trap one.. or find a dead one .... and either take it to your extension office .. or post a pic ....

speaking of which.. your COUNTY extension office.. may be fully aware of this plague in your area.. contact them ...

good luck


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:15AM
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brandyray(Coastal NC/8a)

Thank you, kimmsr. I will check into limestone.

Ken: I have both moles and voles here but the moles are not a problem (being carnivorous), the voles are plant and bulb eaters and they are the problem. My cats catch one or the other from time to time and bring it to us-they just don't catch enough to run them out of my yard. But you're probably right, I need to take enough time from my work day to call the extension office. Thanks, Brandy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:38PM
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kimpa(z6b PA)

I have used snap traps with peanut butter. Find a trail and put it crosswise in it. Then I cover it with a flower pot or bucket-something that will stop other animals from getting to the trap.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Here is a remedy I just came across in an antique gardening book: It says to bury empty wine bottles around the edges of the garden.Use the long, tapered kind of bottles. Leave the top third sticking out at an angle, with the opening facing in the direction the wind usually comes from ( That would be west, here). The wind blowing into the bottles supposedly make a weird noise that voles and other under ground pest can't stand.
It seems to have worked for great-grandma.
I think I'll try it next year. We just cleaned off some of the garden beds and they were riddled with tunnels.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Various sonic devices are out there, along with wine or soda bottles, and research by respected universities says they do not work.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 7:02AM
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well,those expensive granules from the feed store did not work, neither did the battery operated sonic thingies, nor the castor oil,the ammonia-soaked rags or the foggers you put in the runs,the poison,or the traps. Over the past couple of years I have lost most of my rose bushes,my hostas and clematis,my Dahlia bulbs and the bigger part of a sweet potato crop. When we pulled up the garden this year, there were holes and tunnels everywhere. At least I can enjoy creating empty wine bottles,

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 10:39AM
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I do not have them outside anymore since the traffic has picked up on our once bucolic country road, but my voles were kept under control many years by barn cats. I feel your pain.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 9:20PM
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brandyray(Coastal NC/8a)

I have several cats, however, they are pets and quite spoiled. They have brought up a vole once in a while-but not enough to keep the population under control. I watched a very healthy peony (Festiva Maxima) begin to droop, droop more, and then absolutely wither down into a brown clump this summer-voles? I suspect so. I have 2 replacement bulbs to plant- maybe if I bury them in a wire cage? Thinking about it anyway.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Snap traps as described above, by Kimpa, work for me. I can catch one or more a day in each trap till the population is gone. Use tiny mouse traps.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 6:49AM
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