Modified from "What is a Vole" by Chuck Friedrich, RLA
Most gardeners think of moles when they notice that some critter is tunneling under their yard or garden. When plants and bulbs start disappearing, moles have nothing to do with it. Moles are insectivores, which mean they only eat bugs, grubs and worms. If plants are falling over from chewed roots and bulbs are no longer where you planted them, you probably have voles.
Voles (Microtus ssp.) are small rodents often referred to as pine and meadow mice.
Voles are reddish brown to gray, about two or four inches long, with a short tail, blunt face, and tiny eyes and ears. They spend much of their time underground in an extensive tunnel system usually less than a foot deep. One to two inch diameter entrance holes may be noticed in the lawn or garden.
The safest and most effective way to protect plants and bulbs is to create a barrier between the vole and its lunch! Since voles do not like to tunnel through coarse materials, create a barrier out of coarse aggregate with jagged edges.
Espoma Soil Perfector is perfect for this application because it is safe, nontoxic, lightweight and easy to use, it promotes rooting, and is permanent.
For more information about Espoma Soil Perfector call the Espoma Company toll free at (800) 634-0603 or visit their website www.espoma.com.
Dig a 4 inch wide, 1 foot deep “moat” around the drip-line of the plant (where drops of water would hit the ground from the most extended leaves). Fill this "moat" to the top with Espoma Soil Perfector. Voles also like to tunnel under mulch so it's best to reduce the mulch around the plant and use Soil Perfector as a mulch inside the moat instead.
After tilling and preparing the beds, make the planting hole 12 inches wider and 2inches deeper than the root ball. Place 2 inches of Espoma Soil Perfector in the hole. Set the root ball on the Soil Perfector and backfill completely surrounding the roots with 100% Espoma Soil Perfector. Mulch with Soil Perfector around the stem.
Place 2" of Espoma Soil Perfector in the hole and place the bulbs. Surround the bulbs with Soil Perfector leaving just the tips exposed. Finally, place a 50% Espoma Soil Perfector/soil mix over the bulbs to the desired depth.
Bonide Moletox Baited Gel
Bonide Moletox II
Bonide MoleMax Mole & Vole Repellent
Bonide Mouse Magic
Bonide Revenge Rodent Smoke Bomb
Bonide Shot-Gun Mole Repellent
Castor Beans – every foot
Chew – Not
Dr. T’s Rat Away Repellent
Liquid Fence Mole and Vole Repellent
Mole Out Granules
Sweeney’s Poison Peanuts