Worst Vole damage I've ever seen

The snow has finally melted in the top have of my nursery and i was amazed by the vole damage. I didn’t put protection around my berry bushes so looks like my raspberries will be cut to the ground. I’m a bit worried about the blueberries, can I root cuttings taken now? Ill be collecting apple scions and grape cuttings. Those critters chewed right through the grape vines above the hardwire cloth that protects the base.

blueberry damage

didn’t know that vole could climb like this.


i hear you. im in the same zone here and im starting to see similar damage. we still have about 16in. of snow but the places exposed are showing the same despite putting out poison bait blocks around the property in nov. voles suck! i just got a new female cat as part of my arsenal. last year my neighbor to the east lost all of his 30 blueberries due to gridling by voles.


This is the first time for me seeing vole damage up 6ft. Was just at my neighbor’s and he has damage on his 8" crab apples. I heard daffodils and crocus repel voles… i might need a good planting of those.

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I m considering putting an owl box on my suburban property to help with this problem. Does anyone have any experience with owls and voles?

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We have great horned owls. Also voles, rabbits, squirrels and mice. I think the raptors get all they can eat and barely make a dent.


I’ve never seen voles do that either, they generally operate below the snow- they are too vulnerable to predators to want to hang around on the surface. Maybe yours had a tunnel system in the snow. Sometimes you can come out after every snow and tamp it down and keep rolling out foil to protect the trunk throughout the season… but I’ve only had to do that for rabbits here. They are the only animal I’ve seen do what happened to your plants. I’m sure you’d know if it was rabbits though- when they do that kind of damage there are turds everywhere- like a rabbit stock-yard. There tunnels you can see and if you are holding a shotgun you can kill them when they pop out when you tamp the snow down.

Seems there’s always some new disaster to thwart the dreams of fruit growers. All you can do is plow ahead. Here in the east coast we get a perfect season for growing fruit about once every 15 years I’d guess, but if you grow enough different stuff it seems there’s always something to harvest.


Noticed this vid on YT last night.

Get rid of them in a week.

PVC pipe bait stations. Operational in deep snow ???

I have never seen anything close to that kind of damage to fruit trees or blueberries here. I did have a couple rabbits that started gnawing on my new blueberry shoots and even a few bites on my illini blackberry canes…

I trapped… killed…and ate those critters.


garlic also.


they travel along the ground under the snow in winter. you see their trails on the lawn when the snow melts. usually the depth of snow limits how high they can chew. might be something else like porcupine eating higher than that.



@steveb4 nailed it the voles do hate garlic. They cut wide paths around mine. Use callery or BET rootstocks for pears if they are not a problem in your area. A field here has millions of voles. The idea traps, predators, poison, etc. will work may not be realistic. Every spring, i smile when i see an elm tree stripped beside my pear. Do what works for you, but know your enemies. There are many battles i fought with things like voles over the years and as such i feel qualafied to tell you in Kansas they will be here long after your not. Since your not going to win in a battle a million to one against the voles consider cheating. When i was a kid we didn’t lock our doors. One day after staying over with a few friends houses i asked my mom why we didn’t lock our doors. My mother smiled and said we dont have anything anybody wants to steal. Realizing my mother was right ofcourse i knew thieves we will have with us always. In my childhood though there were a million thieves in the world not one was stopping at my house. The same is true of voles they will come if you have what they want. Being angry, Hating them, arming yourself, preparing for battle, poisoning them , spending on pest control etc.wont change that. Having lived here all my life in my little peace of the world i survive here by my blessings, skills, and knowledge, not by my strength. Voles won’t beat me anymore than all those frustrated people in nearly every state in the union beat their wild pears. The wild pears will outlive us all including the voles. BET is a pear rootstock not on anyones invasive list. They hate them as bad or worse than callery. Size up your enemies which is voles, bacterial disease like fireblight, animals like deer and rabbits, fungal diseases , and insects. My grandpa told me in life do what noone else wanted to. Does any thief want to pick pears on a 100 degree day out of a 30 feet tall pear tree? If they are that desperate they need them more than me and i will give them a tree worth of pears. Will they pick two trees worth? A family of racoons were hungry last year and had eyes on one pear tree which was half warren and half karls favorite and robbed me for those. Consider that very complimentary they walked past 100 other pears to get there. We laughed about it because we had eaten all we wanted already. If you have lots of trees and trees that work in your area you will still have problems but there will be less of them. If you live in an apple growing state where the rainfall is higher grow apples because voles can’t live as well in tunnels full of water. In Kansas voles die of old age usually. @39thparallel or anyone else in Kansas will see the validity in my method. Deer can’t climb to steal my pears from 30 feet tall full sized trees. When my trees are babies they have thorns. Fireblight can’t kill pears resistant to fireblight like kieffer, warren, karls favorite, maxine, potomac, ayers, harrow sweet, harrow delight, ts hardy, tenn, leona, ya li, duchess d’ angoulme, etc. . Rabbits wont chew on callery or BET rootstocks so graft several feet up not at ground level like normal. Hope this post helps someone to live a happier life. The voles will become inconsequential to you when most things you grow are not on their menu. Many people view their home and their land as their kingdom. It is not my kingdom i’m living in their kingdom. In Kansas many of my neighbors have fought nature all their lives and when they pass away i know nature is still here.


If you watch The Permaculture Orchard videos by Stephan Sobkowiak he has a dog ‘Bo’ that digs them all up and kills them. My Aussies do the same thing here. I was kinda mad at first seeing the tunnels that they dug out but then i saw that they were doing their job.



Soil aeriation is a good thing and you dont have to plow.

i completly agree. i try and work with nature as much as i can. usually the predators keep the voles in check but when i see lots of sign just before snow flies, i put out the bait stations. they go off to die in their burrows under the snow so there isnt anything to threaten other animals. callery and bet rootstock isnt cold hardy here but mountain ash is and voles dont eat it so thats what i use, most what i have here they wont touch but they like the bush fruit thats impossible to protect . thankfully if gridled most will come back from the roots. im hopping as my orchard matures, i will have more than enough to share as i enjoy seeing the animals that have come around to stay in there. in march i had a ruffed grouse come eat scratch with my chickens. first time ive seen one here.


Yep. I’ve been inspecting my orchards for vole damage. Zero to be found. Also zero tunnels in the orchard floor vegetation there, but there’s plenty in my lawn (where I don’t place any bait stations).

A number of winters ago, voles just hammered my lilacs. That made me and my wife less than happy. I started running a bait station among them in early fall after that and voila…no vole damage.

I’ve never found a dead vole in spring


My worry is that his hawks are more eating the poisoned voles.


So it might be benificial to plant garlic at the base of vulnerable trees.


I remember reading about mixing plaster of paris powder with peanut butter (in the Holistic Orchard). I think im going to try snap traps under 5 gallon buckets and pvc with peanut butter plaster. Going to have to try and find a size that wont get chipmunks. Chipmunks get pretty tame and will let you pet them if you give them peanuts. The kids love them.




So I’m getting a ton of garlic and daffodils, and planting them…everywhere. Higher hardware cloth (1/4" space galvanized wire)collars on the grape vines. Going kill thos SoBs all summer, and clear out the brush and wood piles. Thinking of putting metal (like flashing) bands/wrap 2-3" wide above the hardware cloth to make it hard to climb.
If that fails im getting a cat. Dont want to poison, i got owls and halks that are always in my garden, vineyard and orchard (now i see why). I could use a nice pine snake or 10.

I understand not wanting to poison, but I can assure you that I have large numbers of birds of prey (kestrels to bald eagles) and have never found any of them dead. I have built perches for predatory birds in my orchards. They love and use them. Vole bait stations built and used correctly do zero damage to any birds of prey, no matter what the interwebs might say.

edited to add…we’ve got a wonderful outdoor cat. She showed up 8 years ago thanks to some POS dumping her “in the country”. She kills plenty of rodents (and birds unfortunately), but it would likely take 10 or more like her to control what the bait stations accomplish.