Hosta roots being eaten

wantoretire_didJuly 29, 2007

This is a first - I've had a little area by the road for a couple of years where I had 2 daylillies and several small hostas. Couple of weeks ago one of the DLs looked ill, so I gave it a light tug and it came right up, and no roots!! I've noticed the hostas were not looking good and thought maybe they were getting too much sun and/or neighbor dog had wandered through them. Well today I checked closer and most of their roots are gone also so I pulled them up. There were large holes beneath each of them. Any idea what could be eating them? I know we have moles but I think they are carnivorous. Have no idea if we have voles, which I think are vegetarians. Correct me if I'm wrong; sure wouldn't be the first time ;-)

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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

Moles eat grubs, insects, and earthworms. Voles will dig up or eat your plant roots (and almost anything else including grass, seeds, tubers, and insects), shear off your hosta leaves for nest materials, and create utter havoc in the garden. I'd guess you have voles.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:11PM
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krazyaroider(Hamburg, NY 14075 Zone 6)

Same thing happened to my hostas once. The problem is definately Voles...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 6:39AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Voles love hosta roots. Plant garlic and anything in the allium family around your prized plants.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 7:24AM
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Luckily these weren't prized plants, just generics I picked up at a yard sale on the cheap. I hope the voles don't move closer to the house and start on the good stuff :-0 Then I'll have to get serious!!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 7:16PM
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von1(z4 NY)

I got some granules at the store that have caster oil in them. I'm trying them on the mole/vole situation here. Let you know what happens. They are suppossed to be pet and child friendly. My luck they will be mole/vole friendly also!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:19PM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

I just let my scottie take care of mine. :) Unfortunately, she's not always graceful in the beds.

She caught one in the lawn Sunday night at around 10:30.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 3:39PM
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adina72(z5 CNY)

We had terrible vole problems too. I dip all the bulbs they like in Ropel and it can be sprayed on the foliage as well. I sprinkle MoleMax around all my gardens when I notice activity is up again. You can even wrap the roots of priced plants in hardwire cloth, just make sure the holes are big enough to allow the roots to go through.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:39AM
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YES, Voles, definitely! I had the same problem at my place. Actually, I never knew I had them UNTIL, one day, I was working in one of my other gardens and happened to see something MOVING near the house. I walked over and saw one of my huge hostas being 'sucked' into the ground right in front of me. I couldn't believe it. I called the nursery ... they told me it COULD be moles ... but I knew moles didn't eat roots. An old farmer told me it was a "vole thing". He suggested getting castor oil ... dilute it .... and spray around the area where I saw the 'disappearing act'. It DOES work. Peggy

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 9:11PM
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The hostas are gone and that area riddled with holes. I saw a vole when I was mowing there. It is by the road, so I think I'll just leave it so they don't move somewhere else.

Peggy, what is the castor oil dilution ratio and with what; Water? Can I get it at a drug store? Maybe I'll plant castor beans there next year!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 6:25AM
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I'm just heartbroken! All of my hostas roots have been eaten they were so big and pretty last year. I sure hope castor oil works. I'll have to get a gallon of it as I have many kinds of daylillies to protect. It really sucks. I wonder if one of those solar sonic varmit units would chase it away. What if it has babys! OMG

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 6:05PM
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bernd ny zone5

You can read vole threads in the Hosta Forum. Basically when you have a lot of voles, only poison placed into the holes will slow them down, since they are reproducing so fast. A few you can kill with traps. You can also add turkey grit (sharp small stones) into planting holes for hostas up to 8 inches depth.

Using castor oil will drive voles only away temporarily. They will go elsewhere and continue to multiply, then come back later.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 7:46PM
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