Do Voles Eat Peonies? Understanding the Feeding Habits of Voles

  • MickAdmin
  • July 27, 2023

Voles are small rodents that are common in many parts of the world. They are known for their voracious appetites and their tendency to eat a wide variety of plants. One plant that many people wonder about is the peony.

Do voles eat peonies? The answer is yes, they do.

Peonies are a popular garden plant prized for its large, showy flowers. Unfortunately, they are also a favorite food of voles.

These rodents will eat the peony plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers, often causing significant damage. This can be frustrating for gardeners who have spent time and money cultivating their peony beds.

If you are a gardener who is concerned about voles eating your peonies, there are several steps you can take to protect your plants.

One option is to plant your peonies in containers raised off the ground. This can help to deter voles, as they are less likely to climb up into the pots.

Another option is to surround your peony beds with a barrier made of wire mesh or hardware cloth. This can help keep voles out while allowing your plants to grow and thrive.


Do Voles Eat Peonies?

Evidence From Scientific Studies


Scientific studies have shown that voles, including plants, insects, and seeds, have a varied diet.

However, there is limited research on whether voles eat peonies specifically. One study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that voles consumed the roots of some plants but did not specifically test peonies.


Anecdotal Observations


Anecdotal evidence suggests that voles do eat peonies.

Gardeners have reported damage to their peony plants that appear to be caused by voles. The damage can include gnawing on the roots and stems and eating the buds and flowers.

Some gardeners have successfully deterred voles from eating their peonies by planting them in wire mesh baskets or using vole-repellent products. However, it is important to note that these methods may not be effective for all situations.

While there is limited scientific evidence on the topic, anecdotal observations suggest that voles may eat peonies. Gardeners may want to take precautions to protect their peony plants from these small rodents.


Impact of Voles on Peonies


Voles are small rodents that can cause significant damage to peony plants. They feed on the roots and bulbs of the plants, which can lead to stunted growth, reduced flowering, and even death of the plant.

One of the main ways voles damage peonies is by tunneling around the roots and bulbs of the plant.

This can disrupt the flow of water and nutrients to the plant, leading to poor growth and development. In severe cases, the plant may not be able to survive.

Voles can also cause damage to peonies by feeding on the bark of the stems and branches. This can lead to girdling, when the bark is stripped away from the plant, causing the plant to die.

To prevent damage from voles, taking steps to control their population is important. This can include trapping, fencing, and the use of repellents.

It is also important to keep the area around the peony plant free from debris and other materials that can provide cover for voles.

Overall, voles can significantly impact the health and growth of peony plants. It is important to control their population and protect peonies from damage.


How to Protect Peonies From Voles


Voles can be a significant threat to peonies, as they can cause severe damage to the plant’s roots and bulbs. Fortunately, there are several steps that gardeners can take to protect their peonies from voles.

One effective method is to use physical barriers, such as wire mesh or hardware cloth, to prevent voles from accessing the peony bulbs.

The barrier should be buried six inches deep and extended at least two feet above the ground to ensure that voles cannot burrow underneath or climb over it.

Another option is to use repellents, such as castor oil or predator urine, to deter voles from approaching the peonies.

These repellents can be applied directly to the soil around the plant or sprayed onto the leaves and stems.

Gardeners can also encourage natural predators of voles, such as owls, hawks, and snakes, to inhabit the garden. This can be achieved by providing nesting boxes or other habitats for these animals.

Finally, maintaining good garden hygiene can also help prevent voles from becoming problematic. Gardeners should remove fallen leaves or debris from around the peonies, as these can provide shelter for voles.

These steps allow gardeners to protect their peonies from voles and enjoy beautiful, healthy plants for years.


Alternative Plants That Voles Avoid


When planting a garden that voles won’t destroy, choosing plants, they don’t find appealing is important. While there are no foolproof options, here are a few plants that voles tend to avoid:


Alliums, such as onions, garlic, and chives, have a strong odor that voles find unappetizing. Planting these in and around your garden can help deter voles from munching on your other plants.


Daffodils contain a toxic chemical that makes them unpalatable to voles. Planting these bulbs in your garden can help keep voles away from your other plants.


Fritillarias, also known as checkered lilies, have a strong odor that voles find unappealing. Planting these bulbs in your garden can help deter voles from eating other plants.


Hyacinths contain a toxic chemical that makes them unpalatable to voles. Planting these bulbs in your garden can help keep voles away from your other plants.


Narcissus, also known as daffodils, contain a toxic chemical that makes them unpalatable to voles. Planting these bulbs in your garden can help keep voles away from your other plants.

While these plants may not be guaranteed to keep voles away, they can help reduce the likelihood of them munching on your other plants. It’s important to remember that voles are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything when food is scarce.


In conclusion, based on the research, it is safe to say that voles eat peonies. While there may be some variation in how voles feed on peonies, the evidence suggests that they consume these plants.

However, it is important to note that voles are not the only animals that may damage peonies. Other common culprits include rabbits, deer, and groundhogs. As such, gardeners need to take steps to protect their peonies from all potential threats.

Some effective strategies for protecting peonies from voles and other pests include:

  • Planting peonies in raised beds or containers
  • Using physical barriers, such as wire mesh or hardware cloth, to prevent animals from accessing the plants
  • Applying repellents or deterrents, such as predator urine or spicy sprays, to the surrounding area

Ultimately, the best approach will depend on each gardener’s specific circumstances and needs. By taking the time to understand the threats facing their peonies and implementing appropriate measures, gardeners can help ensure that these beautiful plants thrive for years to come.

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