Every year homeowners on the East End have to contend with meadow voles. Voles are different from moles, they create more damage to your landscape by eating plants and roots. Voles operate year round but thrive in winter and harsh snowy weather traveling under the snow cover when food is scarce. Some people may think that these chubby short tailed mouse type rodents are cute, but voles can wreak winter-time havoc. They do damage to your landscape; young trees, shrubs, perennials, and lawns.
These pests target roots and plants. They burrow and tunnel beneath the ground and disturb the surface of lawns and can damage or kill plants by destroying their root structure. Besides plant roots, voles eat ornamental plants, flowers, vegetables and tree bark.
How do you tell if you have voles?
- Look carefully in your yard during the day to see if you spot them.
- Look for plants, especially woody plants that are dying or dead.
- Check tree bark to see if it has been gnawed off.
- There are runways through the turf, most visible after snow melts.
- Look for subterranean plant damage and small, 1- to 1½-inch holes at the base of plants and trees.
Here are a few suggestions to deter voles and protect your plants:
- Clean up piles of leaves and branches.
- Remove grass and weeds from around trees and shrubs. Bare soil is ideal within the first few inches of ground that surround plant bark.
- Don’t mulch excessively in flower beds as this will favor vole activity.
- Before it snows, install fine-gauge hardware cloth around tree trunks to prevent voles from chewing young wood.
- Make your last lawn mow of the year slightly lower than normal to discourage voles from creating surface trails through longer grass.
Protect your landscape investment from destructive pests. Fall and early winter are the best times to implement controls for mitigating the damage these little creatures can do. Contact us to discuss options for vole control and control of other destructive pests.