vole woes and a minimal budget

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

Well i would say there is nothing more gut wrenching, than it being close to planting time, only to find that voles have started digging around in your yard--and in your garden bed also.

So what are some good ways i can get rid of them---or at least repel them out of my vegetable bed for someone who has quite a minimal budget? I guess if worst comes to worst, i could grow my veggies in giant pots this year until i can actually get something done about those little mongrels.

I don't know if this will help you, but it might be worth a try.

This message was edited May 5, 2014 6:07 AM

Talihina, OK

A really good cat is the best answer I have The worst thing about the voles is they never throw up a mound PS the solar repellers seem to help >>

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

i actually have a solar repellent planted directly in the vegetable bed, this was my first step taken, and the voles completely ignore it, lol.

No cats, i have a 50+ pound dog who would highly object ;)

thinking i will go with the castor oil idea, is that something that has to be done daily until you see them gone, or do you apply one time and wait a day or so for it to take effect?

==

This message was edited May 5, 2014 6:08 AM

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

ive also read something somewhere that said that castor oil had the same effect on them as itching powder does on us

Awesome! Sounds like you are on the right track.

Talihina, OK

My thing is that often we say voles and people hear moles two seperate pest with very few of the same habits ...My research on those pesky critters led me to a site dealing with what was termed the worst infestation in the USA which was the Klamath/Tulelake basin,,I have not looked at the site in 2 years but most of the remedies they cited did not help If you can find the entrance to their tunnel you may have some luck catching them with a mouse trap

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

Go to the forum Garden Pests and Diseases and look up voles. At my previous house, voles ate the roots of many plants, tulips, and lilies. One vole actually ran over my foot. They look like mice with short tails. I did not know about voles then. Rabbits also ate several types of plants.

At my new house I am using the technique from DonnaMack: daffodils as guardians. She uses dwarf daffodils in a triangle around favorite plants and bulbs to keep voles and rabbits away.

Rabbits were eating my plants at the new house, front and back yards. I bought many types of expensive repellents (for rabbits) that did not work (and had to be repeated if I watered or it rained). I finally got the back yard fence fixed (chicken wire at bottom) so rabbits could not come it - that worked. In the front yard, rabbits stopped eating after I planted daffodils around the plants.

At the old house I tried the wire basket method on lily bulbs for the voles - it seemed to work but was very hard to do. I also bought some expensive granular rocky stuff to use below bulbs at new house but have not used it yet. I started to use tubs with potting mix to protect lilies and tulips from voles - that works but is also expensive and some lilies are not hardy in tubs. The last 2 years I have used dwarf daffodils all over my yard for rabbits and voles. Dwarf daffodils were recommended because the foliage is not very noticeable. She recommended W P Milner because it was cheaper than most - it is currently blooming in the front yard - it is a pale yellow. Tete-a-tete (sort bright yellow) is blooming in my flower beds in the back. All the methods I tried cost money. If I had to start over, I would get the dwarf daffodils and plant them in triangles (large plants) or in rows front and back of food crops. Daffodils do spread so you do get a return on them.

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

an update:

Now that the weather has warmed up some, and things are waking up and coming back to life, the voles seemed to have left my gardening bed alone, good thing too, as the carrots, lettuce, and radish seedlings are growing like mad in there now. Im thinking they were on a desperate foraging spree while everything was still dead and brown.

This message was edited Apr 10, 2014 7:55 PM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Glad you got some relief. They had a field day in my spinach bed and shady bed nearby, over the long cold winter we had.
I cleaned up fallen leave etc to help predators find the voles. I took squares of old sock, soaked them in ammonia, and stuck them in any hole I could find in the spinach bed. That seemed to help. those holes stayed closed awhile.
Daffodils did NOT work for me. I have plenty of daffs and voles. The voles seem quite happy in any garden bed which is worked often and nice and soft. They don't like to work through roots, so my bed under maple trees is safe.
On the other hand, my asparagus bed is clean and feels compact yet a brand new hole opened up last week smack in the middle. I had a packet of mouse bait in storage so I used it all. I was told put some in each hole and cover it so they will come to see why the hole is blocked, and find the bait. Or so the theory goes. I have caught some with mousetraps.
They DO go on desperate foraging sprees, it seems like. Or rather, they find a local source and eat away for a long time. I have found various things with their base all gone- small oak sapling, knockout rose....

Cascade, VA(Zone 7a)

yeah, the roses arent the only things we wish got a knockout, lol. you can tell where all they have been as the ground gives somewhat when you are walking on top of their tunnels--which for us at this point, is MOST of the front yard, and half of the back.

Decatur, GA

I had a terrible vole problem last year. I lost a lot of plants. grrr… I have a rat terrier that has been terrorizing them all winter. I doubt he actually catches them but he digs for them. That is somewhat of a problem since he does leave holes in the lawn but I figure its worth it. I can fill the holes pretty easily. I tried an electronic solar powered gadget that didn't make any difference. I would be willing to try the daffodils but they seem to get a mixed review here. Anyone else on the daffodil idea?
This spring I haven't seen any new activity of their tunnels but its still early.
I do like lands mil's suggestion of using the repellant. If I see new tunnels in my veggie patch I will definitely give it a try. Thanks.

Talihina, OK

Sallyg the Comfrey plant you sent me last years is doing great it just greened up a couple of weeks back and is already over a foot tall Thanks again

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

That's great. grits!!

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