How to Stop Voles from Eating Plants: Effective Methods and Prevention Tips

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Voles, also known as meadow mice, are small rodents that can cause significant damage to gardens and landscapes.

These creatures are herbivorous and will consume various plants, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Voles can be particularly problematic in the winter when they consume the bark of trees and shrubs, which can lead to plant death.

If you are struggling with voles in your garden, there are a few steps you can take to prevent them from eating your plants.

Installing physical barriers is an effective way to prevent voles from eating plants. This can include burying wire mesh around the perimeter of your garden or placing wire baskets around individual plants.

Another option is to use repellents, which can be either natural or chemical. Natural repellents include castor oil and predator urine, while chemical repellents are available in granular or spray form.

It is important to note that voles are persistent creatures, and it may take a combination of tactics to control them effectively.

You can protect your garden and enjoy a bountiful harvest by taking proactive steps to prevent voles from eating your plants.


Vole Damage to Plants

Signs of Vole Damage


Voles are small rodents that can cause significant damage to plants by gnawing on the roots, stems, and bark. Some common signs of vole damage include:

  • Plants that are wilted, stunted, or have yellowing leaves
  • Girdling of the stem or trunk, which can cause the plant to die
  • Tunnels or runways in the soil around the base of the plant
  • Mounds of soil or vegetation around the base of the plant

Plants Preferred by Voles


Voles are known to feed on various plants, but some are more susceptible to damage than others. Here are a few examples of plants that are commonly targeted by voles:

  • Bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses
  • Perennials, including hostas, daylilies, and coneflowers
  • Shrubs, such as boxwood, juniper, and yew
  • Trees, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, and evergreens

It’s important to note that voles may not always be the sole cause of plant damage. Other factors like disease, pests, or environmental stress can also contribute to plant decline.

Therefore, it’s essential to correctly identify the cause of the damage before taking action to control voles.


Preventing Vole Damage

Garden Maintenance

Keeping the garden clean and tidy is essential in preventing voles from eating plants. Gardeners should remove any debris, such as piles of leaves, sticks, or rocks, that could provide shelter for voles.

It is also important to mow the lawn regularly and trim the grass to eliminate hiding places for voles.


Use of Repellents


Gardeners can use several types of repellents to deter voles from eating plants. Some of these repellents include:

  • Castor oil: This natural repellent can be applied to the soil around plants and repels voles.
  • Garlic: A garlic spray can be applied to plants to deter voles from eating them.
  • Ultrasonic devices emit high-pitched sounds that voles find unpleasant and can effectively keep them away from plants.

Vole-Resistant Plants


Gardeners can also choose to plant vole-resistant plants to avoid damage to their gardens. Some plants that are known to be resistant to voles include:

  • Daffodils: These plants are poisonous to voles and are therefore not eaten by them.
  • Alliums: Plants in the onion family, such as garlic and chives, are also known to be unappealing to voles.
  • Fritillaria: This plant has a strong odor that voles find unpleasant and will avoid.

By taking these steps, gardeners can prevent voles from eating plants and keep their gardens looking beautiful.


Vole Trapping and Removal

Choosing a Vole Trap


When it comes to choosing a vole trap, there are several options available. Live traps are humane and allow for the safe release of the captured voles, while snap traps are quick and efficient but may not be as humane. Some popular types of vole traps include:

  • Live traps capture the vole alive, allowing for safe release. They are typically made of wire mesh and have a door that closes behind the vole once it enters the trap.
  • Snap traps: These traps use a spring-loaded bar to kill the vole quickly. They are typically made of plastic or metal and can be baited with peanut butter or other food.

Effective Trapping Strategies


Once you have chosen a vole trap, it’s essential to use it effectively to ensure success. Here are some tips for effective vole trapping:

  • Place the trap where voles are active, such as near their burrows or where you have seen plant damage.
  • Bait the trap with peanut butter, apple slices, or other food that voles are attracted to.
  • Check the trap at least once daily to ensure that any captured voles are removed promptly.
  • If using a live trap, release the vole at least a mile from your property to prevent it from returning.

Following these strategies, you can trap and remove voles from your garden or yard. Remember always to handle traps carefully and captured voles to prevent injury to yourself or the vole.


Professional Vole Control Services


It may be time to call in the professionals when all else fails. Professional vole control services can be an effective way to eliminate voles from your garden or property.

These services typically use a combination of trapping, baiting, and exclusion techniques to remove voles and prevent them from returning.

When choosing a professional vole control service, it’s essential to do your research. Look for a company with experience in vole control and a good reputation in your area.

Ask for references and check online reviews to ensure the company is reliable and effective.

Professional vole control services can be expensive, so it’s essential to weigh the cost against the potential damage that voles can cause to your plants and property.

Sometimes, trying DIY methods may be more cost-effective before resorting to professional help.

If you decide to hire a professional vole control service, ask about their methods and any potential risks to other wildlife or pets. It’s also important to discuss any warranties or guarantees that the company offers for its services.

Overall, professional vole control services can be a helpful option for those struggling with a severe vole infestation. However, it’s essential to research and carefully consider the cost and potential risks before deciding.


Understanding Voles

Vole Species

Voles are small rodents that belong to the family Cricetidae. There are several species of voles, but the most common are the meadow vole, the pine vole, and the prairie vole.

The meadow vole is the most widespread species and can be found in grasslands, meadows, and woodland areas. The pine vole is found in coniferous forests and feeds on the roots of trees and shrubs.

The prairie vole is found in grasslands and feeds on grasses and other vegetation.


Vole Behavior


Voles are active throughout the year and are most active at night. They are herbivores and feed on plants’ roots, stems, and leaves. They can cause significant damage to gardens, crops, and ornamental plants.

Voles are social animals and live in colonies. They construct elaborate tunnel systems in the soil, which they use for protection from predators and as a means of transportation.

They also use these tunnels to store food and to raise their young.

Voles breed throughout the year and can produce several litters per year. The gestation period is around three weeks, and the young are weaned after two to three weeks.

In summary, voles are small rodents active throughout the year and feed on plants. They live in colonies and construct elaborate tunnel systems in the soil. Understanding their behavior and habitat is essential in developing effective control strategies.




In conclusion, voles can cause significant damage to plants and gardens. However, there are several effective methods to prevent and stop voles from eating plants. Using a combination of deterrents and traps, gardeners and homeowners can protect their plants and property from these pesky rodents.

Some of the most effective methods for preventing voles from eating plants include planting vole-resistant plants, creating physical barriers, and using natural repellents such as garlic or castor oil. Additionally, using traps such as snap traps or live traps can help control vole populations and prevent further plant damage.

It is important to note that while voles can be a nuisance, they are also an essential part of the ecosystem and play a role in maintaining soil health. Therefore, it is necessary to use humane methods when controlling vole populations, such as releasing trapped voles in a nearby field or forested area.

Overall, with the right approach and tools, it is possible to prevent and stop voles from eating plants and keep gardens and landscapes healthy and thriving.

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