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Re: [nafex] Rodent Damage

I guess sometimes too cold can be a blessing. Our soil will be freezing any time now and except for the top half inch, which may thaw if exposed during the Jan. thaw, it will remain frozen solid until sometime in April. I know what you mean about the below ground feasting. Unfortunately, when I went out to dig my carrots last Friday, I found them 75% eaten from the top down, some leaving only the gnawed core. This is the first time that this has happened to me and I can't tell you how absolutely wild I was. I grow the Imperator Long variety and always have a bumper crop of delicious giant carrots that take us all the way into spring. BUMMER!!!!! ..................vic

dwalsh/wchase wrote:

Vic, In the PNW, voles (aka meadow mice) will chew the bark at soil level, but they will also chew off any young roots below the soil and if left alone, they will reduce the underground part of my nursery trees to marshmallow sticks or shish-ke-bab skewers. So the aluminum foil will protect against the soil level chewing, but is no use against the underground feasting. For my precious nursery trees, I dig them up and store them in the carport (also protects against anthracnose canker) and I sell them in the spring. For those trees which are left in the ground over winter, I use zinc phosphide as a quick take-down in Oct/Nov and then I set out Tee traps with Ramik bait. My nursery rows are surrounded with chicken wire to keep dogs and cats away from the Ramik and to keep rabbits away from the trees. For the young trees in my orchard (usually 2+ years old), I put a plastic tree wrap around the trunk. This is about 16" high and I'm OK so long as we don't have a big snowfall.    A few years ago we had about 14" snow and this gave the rabbits a boost up and they chewed above the plastic tree guards. Once the trees get to be about three years old they seem to be OK, but the one and two year old trees can be easily killed.  I notice them in February as they stand at an angle in the row.  When I touch them they are really 'loose' in the soil i.e. no roots.    I still put plastic tree guards around the older trees until I run out of tree wraps. Another thing I try to do is keep the surrounding area weed-free.  The mice love to travel in the weeds and are protected from eagles and hawks by the weeds.    I lift my weed cloth in November because I found the voles were having a great time eating and partying under the weedcloth protected from the predators. As for the poison being a danger to the hawks and eagles.  I've erected perching poles in the nursery area (12' high with a cross bar), but I find these two birds of prey do not work in my orchard, they prefer the open grasslands of the llama pastures.       The coyotes also prefer the open grasslands. A member of the BC Ministry of Agriculture told me the voles also like loose soil, so when I'm finished digging trees I try to stomp down any of the soil near the remaining trees.  I must admit, I'm not convinced that they like loose soil.  They've made a fantastic network of tunnels in the llama pastures which have very hard-packed soil. You can see why I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the deer-fencing went up.   And the chicken wire keeps the rabbits (and dogs and cats) away from the nursery trees, now if I could only get those voles! Derry Derry Walsh & Bill Chase  email:wchase@interchange.ubc.ca
Aldergrove,  B. C.,  Canada
phone/fax (604) 856-9316
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Home web page  http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/wchase/HTML
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 but someone may be able to use it for mice and vole protection.
What has worked well for my nursery trees in 'vole country' NH is heavy duty aluminum foil. vic

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