Tree murderers! Voles? Or something else?

I think one of those is a mouse

Post edited for accuracy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Just keep the ground totally bare a couple foot around the trees going into winter. Losses went from 30% to less then 1% since I started doing that.


I’ve been running a basically “unplanned experiment” with some wild and ornamental crabs here. Any of them that I have painted with latex/drywall compound and have left unprotected (no aluminum window screen) have yet to be damaged by voles or rabbits. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to leave my grafted trees unprotected, but it is at least interesting.

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So pea gravel probably isn’t necessary?

Reviving this thread to show what vole tunnels look like in the great white north after a little snow melt.

These are meadow voles that mostly stay above ground. I luckily don’t have to contend with the underground pine voles that killed @Huvid 's tree.

This is what they can do to your summer veggies as well


If you have a 5 gallon bucket, a piece of wood to put up the side of the bucket, a thin stick to skewer a disposable 1 pint water bottle to put across the top of the bucket, and some peanut butter to slather the water bottle, you’ll catch a few that way. Water or something sticky at the bottom of the bucket (or a cage of some sort) also helps, depending on how humane of a demise you want for the critter.


Digging around today, I came on a pine vole tunnel, heading straight from an arborvitae clump to a juniper clump.

Thanks again, everyone. By the way, I did save that tree by grafting new rootstock onto it (inarching). It’s happier in a new location.

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The plastic pot is a good tip. Also 1/4 or 3/8 wire mesh is sometimes used. I just lost two small apple trees with 3 grafts each so I lost 6 apple varieties to pine voles. They are like mini beavers. They haven’t been a problem in a long time but with all the rain this year the ground is soft and there is plenty for them to eat. I’m going to set up some pvc bait stations. Not sure what the best poison bate is. Also will try some traps. I think @alan uses traps with peanut butter. Also new planting will need a physical barrier.


I’m dealing with the darn things as well. Last spring I found out they’d decimated my stool bed. Now that I’ve got a large nursery bed to protect, bait stations have been placed. I went with anticoagulant bait, since it seems like it would be sub-lethal if a large animal ate it. I don’t want to kill their predators! Wrapped above ground portion of orchard trees with cut up strips of wire screen. Also planning to spray some garlic infused castor oil.

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I am considering keeping a couple of cats to control voles, but I am concerned the cats may go up some of the 60-70’ trees around my property, and not being able to come back to the ground. How likely is that to happen?

My cat never did that but he is very clever.

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Not very likely. They SAY they can’t get back down, but they usually do.

It helps if you have an experienced cat teach the younger ones.

Get some rescue cats that know the ropes

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best bait in Zn Phosphide pellets

In most places, to get a fumigant like that you’ll need some kind of state certification that allows the purchase and use of restricted use pesticides. Fumigants are nothing to play with.

These are pellets. The gas is released when the eaten pellets react with HCl in the rodent’s stomach. The rodent itself is not toxic to predators. I’ve seen safety reviews that find near zero risk.

The pellets can be placed in vole trails, but they quickly degrade when wet. My preferred method is to use a PVC bait station that restricts entry to animals the size of voles and mice.


Last fall the voles destroyed my small 3 variety grafted apple tree. I was about to throw it into the compost pile but decided to just it press back in the ground since it had such a nice mole sharpened point on it but no roots. This spring it is again growing so it regrew roots.