Mole & Vole Damage

Turf damage from tunneling moles

Greetings in the new year gardeners,

Well, Christmas is finally packed up and put away. That took 5 days or more, because the outdoors just kept beckoning. I thought for sure that my gardening season was over back in November when the rain wouldn't end and we got dumped on with early snow. I never got a chance to rake that thick, sodden layer of leaves- not to mention the load still unreleased from above. But, lo and behold, the snow soon disappeared, soil thawed and dried, and the bulk of remaining leaves came tumbling down. Until today I had continually been grabbing those couple of hours before dark to rake, cut back perennials, clear brush, sneak in some pruning, and even transplant as late as mid December. I guess you could call me driven when weather permits late in the year. Much to do and not enough time in the spring.

Anyway, what has been of great concern to me in this clean-up has been the extent of mole and vole damage seemingly everywhere. My newly seeded August lawn was establishing beautifully until October when raised tunnels and holes from moles appeared aplenty. By November the lawn looked like a mine field! This was after a couple of repellent applications, which very much surprised me. Utterly frustrated, I went on a spearing spree! Is this what they'd recommend at the Farmers' Exchange?? Unlikely, unless pressed... a good venting is well worth it!

When it finally dawned on me that I should check my l perennial bed, I peeled back leaves and was dismayed to find u-shaped grooves railroading across the surface, deep holes of various sizes, and, of course, that dreadful sinking when one steps on the soil- all signs of devastation. I must say, though, that the tulips that I planted with oyster shells and repellent  appear unscathed, as were the areas where repellents were applied early enough and heavy enough. I did dig a few hostas where it felt spongy, and nothing was left. I'll just have to wait to see what survives in the spring. 

Because I won't use poison baits, my recourse amounts to using repellents and a husband who is a mighty trapper when it comes to using Havahart and snap traps. Together we shall prevail! My personal takeaway from this experience so far is to apply a series of different repellents earlier and more frequently from late summer on.

With little or no snow cover I'll be back out there. However, I could use Mother Nature turning against me for a couple of months. That would keep me inside to attend to all those indoor projects.

Hmmm... now where am I planting the peas this year?

Happy New Year. That's it for now.

Judy Ratta-Harrington