Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Stop Voles

Holly shrub. image by LiteWave from <a href=''></a>

If your ornamental plants and trees seem healthy one day but die the next, you may have a problem with field mice, known as voles. A quick examination of the stem of the plant near the base should confirm whether you have a vole problem. Voles leave tiny teeth marks near the base of plants, and remove the root system. Fortunately, they behave in predictable ways. This makes them easy to stop before they enter your yard or flower bed.

Mow down tall grass to remove ground cover. Voles do not like to enter open areas. A well-manicured lawn will discourage a vole from feeding on your plants.

Turn your mulch in your flower gardens frequently with a pitchfork. This will help to break up any tunnels that voles may use to travel around flower beds.

Clear mulch rings back from trees by at least 3 feet. This will prevent voles from reaching the tree to chew on the trunk under the cover of mulch bark.

Rototill your soil between vegetable crops for cultivation purposes and to remove vole tunnels.

Place snap traps near vole tunnel entrances. Leave the traps unset, but baited for several days. Then set the traps. Bait the traps with cheese, peanut butter or apple slices.

Tulips & Voles

Voles, also called field mice, are small, brownish-black rodents similar to mice though they have fatter bodies, rounder heads, smaller ears and more hair on their tails. They can grow from 3 to 9 inches long, depending on species. Though tulip bulbs are typically planted a few inches below ground, dig holes that are about 10 inches deep and cover them with 8 inches of soil as opposed to the standard 4 to 6 inches of soil. Planting narcissus flowers, such as daffodils, will also deter voles as narcissus plants are repulsive to these rodents. Keep voles away from your tulips by erecting a wire fence with a mesh size of 1/4 inches or smaller. Attach the mesh fence to the bottom of an existing fence using sturdy rope or use the fence in a stand-alone manner. Maintaining a weed-free garden that is also free of ground cover and debris will help keep voles off your property and away from your tulips.

Garden Guides