November 1, 2015

Voles Have Invaded the Garden

We've never had problems with voles before but their tunnels are everywhere. It all started in September. There must be a population explosion because they are in everyone's yard and I've seen a few lush lawns destroyed by them in neighboring properties. My coworker was saying how he's never seen anything like it before.



12 comments:

Texan said...

We had this with moles!

Phuong said...

Hi Texan,
Did they happen to go after your root crops? I'm planning to grow sweet potatoes next year and was kind of worried. But maybe they'll leave since there's not much going for them in the winter months.

Margaret said...

Yikes! I'm wondering if your floods perhaps disturbed the soil and/or their previous homes - maybe it also loosened up the soil in your garden making it easier for them to tunnel through. I haven't had any issues in the main garden - one of the only benefits of our very rocky soil. But I do think we may have had some in the hilltop garden (much fewer rocks up there) and they are what damaged some of the potatoes.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
A neighbor did completely remove their lawn to put in sprinklers, so maybe that's where the voles came from. I wondered whether they would bother potatoes and sweet potatoes, if they're still around come spring I'll plant the potatoes at least in containers.

Did you plant your carrots in the hilltop garden? I'm hoping when the neighbor's trees lose all their leaves, the carrots will get more sunlight and maybe actually form some carrots.

Margaret said...

No, the carrots were planted in the main garden. I pulled them up today and the harvest was pretty dismal. I also noticed that the sun is so low that their bed is now shaded as of noon whereas in mid-summer it gets sun until at least 4pm. I should pay closer attention to how high the sun is - it makes quite the difference when it comes to certain beds.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
Ugh, that's too bad about the carrots, I think you mentioned that they were planted in July. You're at such a high latitude the sun must be very low, which would make a huge difference in the amount of the sun's rays you get because of the angle they're hitting the Earth's atmosphere.

It sounds like you cleared out most of your garden, you had an impressive end of the season harvest with all the gorgeous greens and dried beans.

David Velten said...

Voles are tough/impossible to get rid of in a large lawn. We had them show up in the lawn about 10 years ago and just put up with them. What you need are some owls, which do their hunting at night when the voles are out. Similarly, we had a chipmunk explosion. Then a pair of Harrier hawks nested in our pines. They caught and shredded every chipmunk and squirrel in the neighborhood, then moved on. Haven't seen a chipmunk in several years and the first squirrel just showed up this summer.

Dave @ OurHappyAcres said...

It's hard for me to tell if they are mole or vole tunnels. Voles often use mole tunnels to get around. We had them bad a few years ago, and now they aren't nearly as bad. I was never able to trap any of them, so like David said you really need the naturals predators to get rid of them.

norma chang said...

Sorry to hear about your voles problem, they are difficult to get rid of. We have them in the Locust Grove veggie garden and they destroyed a lot of the sweet potatoes for the pat few years.

Phuong said...

Hi David,
We had owls and hawks at our other house and my husband definitely saw a hawk snatching a squirrel from off the street. I guess there's no hope for this neighborhood, there are so many voles/moles and fat little squirrels everywhere.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
I'm kinda bummed about the voles/moles. I've actually seen some teeth marks on the turnips. It's too bad that trapping them doesn't work.

Phuong said...

Hi Norma,
Sweet potatoes are so easy to grow here, I was planning to do a huge bed next of them next year. I keep hoping the voles will just move on since it's winter and there's not much going on. Although I've seen partially eaten worms that have crawled out of the soil, I wonder if the voles are preying on them.