Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Snow Walking for Vole Control

20150211BVoles are short-tailed mice of the genus Microtus who have  the very bad habit of gnawing the bark of shrubs and young trees during the winter. They especially like fruit tree bark and will often kill young trees by ringing them entirely (removing a full circle of bark). It’s in years when snow is abundant that they are the most harmful, as they dig tunnels under the snow to their favorite plants and can do their damage out of sight of their usual predators (owls, foxes, cats, etc.).

20150211One easy way to discourage voles is to walk all around susceptible plants to push the snow down. This will create a barrier of hardened snow they won’t be able to penetrate. Note that, photo aside, it is permissible to wear winter boots to accomplish this task.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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