Help needed with Voles

Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

This winter has been a banner one for voles in my gardens. They are eating the roots on my Azaleas and camellias to the point where some camellias are just falling over,and others apear dead or dying. I can lift them out of the ground,most of the roots are gone In the past I have used Zinc Phosphate pellets to no avail and now I have steel mouse traps baited with peanut butter or apple with no results.What can I use to bait the traps that they will eat . Is there anything I can spray around the plants that will kill Voles but not my plants?This war has been ongoing for two years and they are winning

Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

No replies yet .The voles are knawing my trees also .The photo is a Ginkgo about 15 ft tall, I think its a goner. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I think the voles got your photo, too.

Your war is missing warfarin. That'll likely do the trick, and "no harm - no foul" (a little March Madness lingo) to your plants.

rhinelander, WI(Zone 4a)

we tried the wind catchers that twirl in the wind, causing a vibration that moles don't like, voles
are different though , maybe hardware cloth extending under ground a foot ?

Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the help V.V .If they will Warfarin I'll be glad to supply them with all they can eat.

Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi Jim 22 I think your suggeston on use of hardware cloth is the ultimate solution, and I have placed it around some of the plants. However most of my plantings are in a woodland setting where the soil is mostly roots and rocks and placing hardwarecloth around them isn't possable. My most used gardening tool is a pick maddox.Thanks for the help.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

I saw on another forum - re lilies - long lived - that planting daffodils around plants would keep these varmints away. I will be doing this for lilies and tulips. And maybe everywhere. I will be planting new trees and shrubs too and will do anything that seems to work.

I had been fighting voles for a few years before I moved last year. I could not get any tulips to come up after planting. The asiatic lilies slowly went away. Many of my old and new perennials and shrubs died - no roots. I planted a new LA lily inside wire cage and sharp sand - it seemed to work for the 2 years I had it. We used the vibration thing for moles (voles use their tunnels too). I used poison mouse traps - hidden from cats and kids. Not sure they worked.

I really like the idea of merely planting daffodils - that are a natural poison for these rodents. The forum people recommended the dwarf daffodils - they will not be noticeable when the foliage dies down. Several dwarf daffodils are really cheap. You can also get daffodils in pots now or soon from garden centers. I will just be planting a few (3-5) around each new small plant, more around a larger plant. The point is not to show the daffodil but to put a loose barrier around it.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

This is the forum that talks about voles - starts 1/2 down.

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

After reading VV's suggestion about warfarin I was able to find a product call Kaput Mole Gel Bait that has a guarantee to control voles/moles. This product is new and not sold in my area. After contacting the company it is also private labeled under the Bonide name and sold as a gel. Still I had to contact a reputable garden center who ordered in the product for me as most still only carry the shake bait.

I am all for natural solutions to control garden pests - however these ugly little b--------ds have caused a lot of damage here and I will get them anyway possible. Candidly I am surprised they are not the size of ground hogs with all they devoured over the past winter.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

Vole stew anyone?

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

not after they eat warfarin :)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Voles have been terribly destructive in my garden in the last 18 months, eating my entire crop of sweet potatoes and even eating the roots of my potted fig plants I had insulated and covered in the barn for winter. The only good news might be that they have eaten enough grubs that Jap. beetles will be less of a problem this year!

As a trial to combat them, I just transplanted 5 thornless blackberries into soil pockets liberally coated with powdered garlic. I know rings of closely planted garlic and onions plaanted around tree/shrub roots will often keep them at bay, so I'm hoping the powdered garlic powder will have a similar effect, at least until I can get some more garlic cloves to plant.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Darius, unfortunately, voles are mostly herbivores and do not eat grubs.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It's moles that eat grubs not voles. Voles unfortunately have no beneficial purpose in the garden that I can think of (unless you have too many plants and need to get rid of some!)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sorry, I never can remember the difference, LOL. I should inspect one closely the next time my cat kills one. I know I can feel tunnels just about an inch deep all over the yard as I walk about. Must be miles of criss-crossing tunnels.

Buena Vista, VA

Ace Hardware stores sell a bomb that emits sulfur gas. You light it and shove it into one of the quarter sized holes the voles make, being sure to cover the hole and all other holes in the area. The gas is toxic - you can guess what happens to the vole.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

The thread that Carolmo referred to above is in lilies, but this is the solution.

Try miniature daffodils around your shrubs. It solved all my vole problems. I once lost 50 lilies to them. Find a small, unobtrusive daffofil (I like W.P. Milner, a cheap Division1 daffodil) and plant it around your shrubs. It has small, unobtrusive foliage that melts away quickly.

Trust me, this works. Rabbits avoid them too.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

DonnaMack, thanks for that tip.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You are welcome. It made such a difference to my gardening.

Acton, MA

For the last 3-4 yrs I have fought the "invasion of the vole rodent and deer". As a beginner gardener, over the past several yrs I had spent hundreds of dollars on rose bushes, a variety of beautiful hostas, gorgeous Asian Lilies that stood 3 ft tall in the most beautiful colors, and azaleas, only to have them eaten away at the roots by the voles. Last summer I was so depressed that I didn't bother to plant ANYTHING for 5 wks. Then I decided to fight back with a vengeance. Through these yrs, I found that "Shotgun" sprinkles worked so-so, but not thoroughly enough, nor did those solar buzzing posts...the voles became accustomed to them after the first yr. (Pavlov's theory confirmed).
So this past year, I cleaned out my garage and basement, as they were making their "winter home" there. I purchased Talprid online but decided not to use it as I have 3 lazy cats that might eat it & die instead of the this year I purchased "Mole-Out", which also takes care of voles), and spread it heavily all over my yard, along a rock wall and down the holes of the vole's tunnel. It's best to apply it prior to it raining as the rain helps it to soak in. I applied it 2 months later, just to be on the safe side. **I also put a good sprinkle in the soil as I was planting my new plants, as it suggested. My friend used Skkyd which is dried blood and worked very well for her which kept the deer and other varmints away. I have not had any of the plant's roots eaten, (so far). Next year I'll plant more Asian Lilies and hostas as soon as I know "the coast it clear".

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

over the winter will be the real test flowerlady - keep us posted!

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

I am waiting out the heat and drought for fall daffodil planting. I water a lot to save my many transplanted babies and my many new plants. I have lost some - drat it. I have tried many of the smelly above ground tricks to make rodents go away from this house. Most do not work long because of my watering. The longer lasting granules around the fence perimeter did not work.

We are adding chicken wire to bottom of old fence but are not done yet (100+ degrees stops us from working long outside in the sun)- bunnies get through fence and old gates - they still prefer my good plants over the clover I planted - getting rid of the new clover that now has crabgrass and other stranger weeds. Bunnies love heucheras (in front) and delphiniums (in back) and chewed many others. I am almost ready for fake plants. You think I am upset now? Wait until my fruit trees start bearing.

An ultrasonic repeller in front yard got me in trouble with my neighbor across the street - she and her dog heard it and dog howled a lot. Dog walkers in street did not seem to mind. I toned down the ultrasonic and waited to see if squirrels went away - they seem to like it. They are digging up my new baby plants and shrubs. Huge holes next to heucheras, hostas, etc. in shady yard - I watched them - they are the guilty parties here.

Mailman stepped on a few more baby shrubs in front - added wire fencing in his cut-through path and asked them to stop going though the yard. Then I saw a meter man traipsing through the wired off area (now more fence on order). Good grief. This place will look like a fortress when I am done - it was pretty in the beginning.

I have more baby daffodils on order. I am now thinking of ordering them by the crate. Stupid rodents (who are smarter than me). When I first spotted the holes, I added new dirt and the cheapest wood mulch - with sharp edges. I sprinkled smelly stuff on the newest squirrel holes - need to fill the holes and add mulch, and add smelly stuff daily? Gee - can't wait to use the huge amount of vole proofing material I now have to line the holes for tulips and lilies (along with daffodils of course). I also have dried blood to try in back but will not use this until the fence/gates are fixed (do not want dogs in back yard digging). When do they start shipping bulbs?

Acton, MA

Re: Voles not eating grubs:
A garden shop told me to purchase a grub killer and spread it in the spring and fall, which I did.
The following year was the voles went rampant on my garden...[see above reply]...nothing to eat since I killed the grubs.
I did not want to poison my cats or any other animals in the neighborhood, and therefore didn't use the Talprid that I purchased online, so I used Mole Out [which also takes care of voles].
I know the difference between voles and moles and their tunnels, and I definitely had voles, as my cats brought some as presents to me. The areas in the garden and lawn were not hills made from moles.
The ground sinks when you step on a vole tunnel, and boy o boy did I have lots of those.
I actually have grass now where it once looked like the lunar surface.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


Squirrels - I've got you covered.

After you dig ANY hole or disturb ANY soil (the stuff they go after) get a pepper grinder and give it a few turns over the plant. It has to be freshly ground - I got a pepper mill from a thrift store. And buy the cheapest peppercorns you can. When you disturb earth, grind pepper over it. Trust me, this works. And the black pepper is invisible. And it's cheap.

I know it's frustrating. I tried all kinds of remedies for voles and squirrels that didn't work. Sprays wash off, and they are expensive. Using sharp materials may stop voles from digging but it doesn't stop rabbits from biting. Now that I use daffs for voles and rabbits, freshly ground black pepper for squirrels and milorganite for chipmunks (just a bit on plants or pots - they hate it) I garden pest free. Such a feeling of freedom. What I put in, stays in. The bulbs I plant come up. Yes, chipmunks and rabbits run through my yard. They just don't dine there.

This message was edited Aug 1, 2012 2:56 PM

This message was edited Aug 1, 2012 4:37 PM

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

I am off to get mill and peppercorns. Thanks. If this does not work, buckshot next.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL! It really does work. I put in some new plants yesterday. Three squirrels were playing tag in the bed. The plants were untouched.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Flowerlady44, voles are herbivores, so they don't eat grubs. It's moles that eat grubs. Voles are voracious eaters of bulbs and roots.

Here a couple of good sites for voles and moles.

It sounds like it was coincidental that your voles increased as you got rid of the grubs. Sometimes, voles have a natural cycle where they seem to expand exponentially on some years.

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