I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Sepp Holzer on moles and voles  RSS feed

 
Posts: 18
Location: socal
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I would like to give a kudos to Cris. We had a very pleasant email discussion and I would like to convey to the group how much I believe he and others behind the scenes are working to keep this a pleasant place. Thanks Cris.
 
Posts: 79
Location: West Central Alberta, Canada
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The main issue with voles here is under the snow in winter- usually they have just set up shop in 'grass' areas (grass, clover, etc, our turf is quite varied with native plants and escaped agricultural forage species) and in spring leave behind some piles of grass etc. Probably some effects on the smoothness of soil would bother a lawn keeper, but we don't have lawns, just mowed areas, so I don't care about that..lol So thus far, they haven't bothered me much.
However, as I build more gardens, both food and ornamental, there could be problems - I'm wondering what I will see this spring in woodland beds and rockgardens since the snow cover came early- Oct 20! and is still there, and probably will be at least another month if not longer.. The snow, of course, protects them from predators, and they can do what they will for months. I've never seen them do anything to trees here, but flower bulbs are very vulnerable (some people plant them in hardware cloth cages, but that sounds like a lot of work if you are planting many), and digging in other beds can be a problem- I lost a large plant of Pulsatilla vulgaris last year, though they left the bulbs in that bed alone.
I'm wondering if anyone has had good results from any of the repellents available? They don't even need to leave my property, just move over a couple of metres away from beds onto natural vegetation
We have pocket gophers too, though it seems like only one at a time, and not always.. so far I've been lucky to have no serious damage, but the potential is there.. I do like the idea of planting things they particularly like in a number of scattered spots. What about herbs to grow either as live repellent or scattered dry for that purpose?

We used to have a german shepherd who actually hunted them through the snow in winter! She would stand still- listening to or smelling them? then occasionally pounce. In the spring we'd find her results when the snow melted. I doubt she made a major impact on their population, but maybe some dent....

We do have owls visit, and likely coyotes- though no tracks outside the paths, so they aren't catching voles in winter. There is a spot where we dump our vegetable scraps over winter, and some critters or other from the bush visit it to forage. This year I've noticed large wing marks in the snow around it- I'm guessing owls are trying to catch some of the visitors? I have not seen any clear evidence of an owl catch/kill though: no fur or blood traces, just the wing marks and a big of disturbed snow.... I wonder if this could be set up somehow even more in favour of the owls? Don't know if it's voles visiting, or mice or only squirrels and rabbits (quite certainly the last two).
 
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My muscovy ducks got a large townsend vole two days ago. They also cleared my chicken coop of rats and mice.
 
Cohan Fulford
Posts: 79
Location: West Central Alberta, Canada
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Our snow is mostly gone (still some big piles along the driveway in shade) especially in the areas where there are usually voles- little or no sign of them this year- I guess they must have had a natural population crash last year, so in spite of the long snow season when they usually thrive, no activity in or near any beds..
 
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Ferrets, weasels and large snakes are good control.
Wiener dogs will hunt until there fore limbs are bare from the digging, mine killed farm animals too so I had to get rid of him.

For me not tilling has made a huge difference in gofer holes, at least on the surface
 
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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I've still got an active critter--I think it is a vole, too big for a mouse--that seems to be living in the mulch of my garden beds. I've seen the furry brown critter skitter from one bed to the other and down the hole. It has eaten off a couple of little broccoli seedlings and a brussels sprout, that I barely planted a few days ago. I hope I don't get a repeat of last summer, when the critter(s?) hollowed out or damaged a bunch of my carrots and potatoes.
 
Posts: 1285
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Ah Pinterest. Takes me to such interesting places. I adopted 5 orphaned kittens in the hopes that they grow into big, bad vole eating machines. If they don't....... Those voles really rip up my trees and since I'm barely established it's a real problem.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1285
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Cohan Fulford wrote:The main issue with voles here is under the snow in winter- usually they have just set up shop in 'grass' areas (grass, clover, etc, our turf is quite varied with native plants and escaped agricultural forage species) and in spring leave behind some piles of grass etc. Probably some effects on the smoothness of soil would bother a lawn keeper, but we don't have lawns, just mowed areas, so I don't care about that..lol So thus far, they haven't bothered me much.
However, as I build more gardens, both food and ornamental, there could be problems - I'm wondering what I will see this spring in woodland beds and rockgardens since the snow cover came early- Oct 20! and is still there, and probably will be at least another month if not longer.. The snow, of course, protects them from predators, and they can do what they will for months. I've never seen them do anything to trees here, but flower bulbs are very vulnerable (some people plant them in hardware cloth cages, but that sounds like a lot of work if you are planting many), and digging in other beds can be a problem- I lost a large plant of Pulsatilla vulgaris last year, though they left the bulbs in that bed alone.
I'm wondering if anyone has had good results from any of the repellents available? They don't even need to leave my property, just move over a couple of metres away from beds onto natural vegetation
We have pocket gophers too, though it seems like only one at a time, and not always.. so far I've been lucky to have no serious damage, but the potential is there.. I do like the idea of planting things they particularly like in a number of scattered spots. What about herbs to grow either as live repellent or scattered dry for that purpose?

We used to have a german shepherd who actually hunted them through the snow in winter! She would stand still- listening to or smelling them? then occasionally pounce. In the spring we'd find her results when the snow melted. I doubt she made a major impact on their population, but maybe some dent....

We do have owls visit, and likely coyotes- though no tracks outside the paths, so they aren't catching voles in winter. There is a spot where we dump our vegetable scraps over winter, and some critters or other from the bush visit it to forage. This year I've noticed large wing marks in the snow around it- I'm guessing owls are trying to catch some of the visitors? I have not seen any clear evidence of an owl catch/kill though: no fur or blood traces, just the wing marks and a big of disturbed snow.... I wonder if this could be set up somehow even more in favour of the owls? Don't know if it's voles visiting, or mice or only squirrels and rabbits (quite certainly the last two).


After a hard winter I noticed one of my trees leaning. I went over and picked it right out of the ground. They'd done this:
dead-tree.jpg
[Thumbnail for dead-tree.jpg]
 
steward
Posts: 3933
Location: Zone 9b
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Paul's newest video about voles:



 
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Not only that, but if you leave dogs to wander, they dig both of um up, awesome eh? What fun!+
 
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Thank you. Classic Permaculture perspective. What most farmers see as a problem, Permaculturists see as a resource.
 
Posts: 378
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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I'm about to find out if the voles will be problematic here...I've never hindered them, and when I built a hugelbed three years ago, they proceeded to turn it into a giant vole condo. Now I see them running all over the place. I thought maybe last winter they would do some damage, but all I found were a few nibbles. This summer they ate on a few spuds and carrots and felled some grain stalks, but not enough to cause alarm. They were everywhere, so I think this winter will be a good test. Up here people think I'm nuts to tolerate them, but I hate to go on a killing jag until I know I have a problem, and so far I don't. I also think the aeration they introduce may help warm our cold soil. My theory is that the reason most people have problems with them in their orchards here is that there is nothing but fruit trees and some grass. What else are they supposed to eat? I'm in the midst of my "plant everything everywhere" campaign, so there are all kinds of vole comestibles available. I know a guy who spreads sunflower seeds to lure them away from his plants. The main problem here isn't with them eating the roots in winter, because the entire root zone is frozen solid, so instead they end up girdling trunks. I lost a Nanking cherry that way, and one apple tree was girdled except for a tiny isthmus of bark. It survived, although it took a long tome to recover, and is still more of a bush than a tree ten years later. I finally got one apple from it a couple years ago. But anyway, now I have plenty more selection, so I'm hoping it will enable the voles to remain part of the system without destroying its main function of providing me with what I want.
 
Posts: 296
Location: North Central New York
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bee chicken food preservation forest garden tiny house woodworking
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Voles -- my dog's favorite toy. If only I could teach him to NOT roll in their dead little bodies...
 
Posts: 493
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There are pests and there are pests.
Moles I love, I have always found them useful.
My family hates them. They want a smooth lawn.

Voles are another story
I view them like the rats in all the horse barns around me.
Both build up a large summer population and become a major problem when the easy to find food runs out.

Now a solid reason to have a cat!!!
I base my need to trap or remove voles on the number of voles the cat brings me.
When voles become daily offering from my cat, it is time to take action.
If I get the occasional vole, let the cat play with them.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Northern British Columbia & Western Switzerland
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Anybody have any suggestions regarding voles and blueberry bushes?  I have some new blueberry bushes in our school garden - now in about 30 cm (or a foot) of snow.  Do I have to worry about voles or do anything else to protect these dormant bushes during the winter?  I'm in western Switzerland at about 1300 meters/4200 feet.

Currently I'm just observing, but I'd hate to lose these babies so soon after planting.

I'd be obliged for any suggestions regarding wintering blueberries, esp. regarding protection from voles or other rodents.

Thanks,
Hugh
 
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