Voles are common critters you have probably seen making quick short runs from one cover to another in your yard. If you have been gardening for a while, and since you are here, it should not be news to you that vole damage can be pretty serious to the bushes, shrubs, and trees in your garden.
The good news, however, is that there are very effective ways to deter voles without killing them. Using mint is one of them.
Mint can deter voles. These critters have very sharps sense of smell, which happens to be their strongest arsenal in locating food.
Scents like mint, however, are quite repugnant to voles, and they will most likely shy away from areas with such scents. By spraying mint around or planting mint-based plants, you can effectively keep them away from your home.
In this article, we will explore some of the ways you can use to keep meadow voles away from your garden and home to avoid potential vole damage.
Amongst the things will be looking at include vole resistant plants, the things voles hate the most, some of the scents that keep voles away, and some of the plants you can have around your garden to keep both meadow voles and moles away.
If this is a topic of interest to you, then read along and learn more.
What Plants Discourage Voles
Planting certain garden plants that voles can’t eat can be an effective natural way to deter them from your yard, hence, eliminating the need to use other measures such as poisons.
Here is a brief look at some of the plants believed to discourage voles-:
1. Lenten Rose
Helleborus x hybridus, commonly referred to as Lenten Rose is not just a beautiful addition to your garden because it will be among the first flowers to bloom in spring.
Also, is one of the best plant remedies if you want to get rid of voles naturally.
It is an early bloomer that is not only easy to plant and grow, but also doesn’t face any threats from voles. Their tough sepals and tough stems don’t seem appealing to them as potential food.
Daffodils have a toxic chemical to herbivorous, which also include voles, hence, an easy fix if you want to get rid of voles. These chemicals found in every part of daffodils are effective in deterring voles from hanging around your yard.
3. Grape Hyacinth
Voles cherish eating bulbs, including tulips, but Muscari, commonly referred to as grapes hyacinth bulbs will never be on their menu. They are rated as one of the best bulbs that voles simply don’t show any interest in.
As such, it is recommended that they be used as border plants to ensure that voles don’t have a chance to pass through and cause damage to other garden products.
4. Mountain Mint
Mountain mint is attractive to insects such as flies, bees, butterflies, and beetles, but most of the herbivores, including voles, find it quite repulsive.
This is because of the scent it produces that seems to be repugnant to most herbivores.
5. Sweet Goldenrod
Sweet goldenrod is a perennial plant that voles won’t bother touching. It is one of the known goldenrod species loved for its medicinal value as well as the fact that it can be used as tea.
The plant usually blooms during the later months of summer, and it is very attractive to ladybugs and bees.
This is another beautiful plant that voles won’t touch simply because it stinks a lot. There are two main types of salvia – annual and perennial types.
Most gardeners, however, prefer the latter, which they mostly use as a bedding plant.
If you were using it to primarily target voles, then it is recommended that you use it on the border of your gardens since this will be an effective place to deter moles from gaining access into the inside of the garden.
7. Castor Bean
Castor bean is rich in a toxin known as ricin. This can be a huge problem if you have kids playing in the garden.
However, if you are having vole problems in your yard, then it can be an ideal solution. The toxin it releases is not something voles fancy.
With it in your yard, you will not have to worry about voles destroying it, or destroying any other plant around it.
The difference between a vole and a mole
Voles are not larger animals. To begin with, it is important to realize that voles are not moles, though they may belong to the same family.
Sadly, most homeowners don’t know about this.
As such, they end up deploying less effective tactics in an attempt to control voles. Both are critters that tunnel through your yard.
Voles, however, are small, stocky rodents with an appearance similar to that of meadow mice.
At first glance, with their tiny eyes, you may think they are moles. Moles, on the other hand, are not rodents.
They have a characteristic nose and mouth and they also have big feet that help them to dig deeper tunnels underground.
Another major difference is their diet. Voles primarily have a vegetarian diet and love to feed on stems and the blades of lawn grass.
Due to this, they usually have shallow tunnels that you can easily see near the surface. Moles, however, are carnivorous and they burrow the soil looking to eat grubs and insects.
The kind of tunneling you see around your compound or yard can also help you tell if you are dealing with a vole or a mole.
For voles, you should expect shallow snake-like tunnels close to the surface of the lawn and with a width of about two inches. Such tunnels make it easy for them to access their favorite foods – grass blades and stems.
Moles, on the other hand, usually have deeper tunnel systems. Additionally, they usually form secondary runways on the surface with volcano-like raised ridges.
They don’t make or leave any mounds or raised ridges behind.
How to know if you have a vole problem
You can easily tell if you have a vole problem by carefully assessing the damage caused. For voles, watch out for the following type of damages-:
- Partially eaten potatoes, carrots, and root vegetables.
- Chewed-up bark near the base of the shrubs, fruit trees, and other young trees.
- Holes in the soil – vole tunnels are about two inches wide. They are normally hidden beneath the shrubs, mulch, or spreading plants.
- Eaten flower bulbs from below the ground.
- Spongy soils – some voles are known to burrow and create several shallow tunnels. These tunnels will usually have a spongy feel whenever you step on them.
- Collapsed plants in the garden – voles eat roots, tubers, stems, and bulbs. As such, plants such as onions, tulips, potatoes, and beets will always be at risk. After they eat the roots, the plant section above the surface is likely to collapse. You can also tell of their presence when you notice an empty planting hole.
- Visual sighting – voles will normally move quickly from one shelter to another. If you have long grass in your garden, you might spot a vole when you see ripple movements through the grass.
What scents will keep voles away?
As already mentioned, voles have a very good sense of smell since this is how they locate their food.
Fortunately, they don’t love all smells. By knowing some of the scents they detest, you can easily use those very scents to stop them from causing damage to your plants.
Peppermint oil, castor oil, and cedar are some of the scents known to be effective in driving away voles.
You can get an essential oil containing either of the scents and use it to make a homemade brew which you will then apply using a spray bottle in the areas where you have noticed some vole activity.
Voles can’t also tolerate the scent of rosin. Rosin is obtained from pine, and it is mostly used by musicians in violin and viola bows.
The use of scents is always an effective way of keeping voles away. The only challenge with scents, however, is that they don’t last long.
If you want the effects to last longer, you will have to keep on reapplying the spray. You may also need to reapply the scent after rainfall.
The presence of voles, if not checked, can cause severe damage in most regions to your garden.
There is a myriad of ways that you can use to effectively control the population in your garden.
Killing is not always the best option since the last thing you want is to end up with dead animals and rodents in your yard.
You can always consider using plants with scents that repel them as an effective and affordable means of keeping them at bay.
You can also consider using appropriate proven repellent, like Thanos sonic vole repellent.
With the above information, controlling pests and vole population in your garden shouldn’t be a bother anymore.