One of the interesting things about gardening is how all kinds of things are related and we really don’t think about them as such.
The First Thing To Understand About What To Control
Here’s a simple way to remember what’s eating your lawn or garden.
- Voles eat vegetables (or grass or things green) They leave the pathways in your lawn in the spring.
- Moles eat meat (as in grubs etc) they leave burrows and hills.
Mole or Vole?
If you have trouble remembering which is which – moles and voles…
- M = meat eater and these are Moles. They tunnel and leave volcanoes on your lawn.
- V= vegetation eater and these are Voles. They are like mice, hiding anywhere they can above ground and leave trails in the lawn after snow has melted. But not tunnels
Why Nuking The Lawn For Grubs Doesn’t Get Rid of Moles
Moles love grubs but they’re “meat-eaters” so they’re also after worms. Worms are good guys in the garden and improve your soil. So even if your lawn care service nuked your lawn for grubs, there is still a food source.
As for nuking lawns, I suspect there are still grubs there. Grubs are not a single year event — different species live in the ground for different number of years. So you’re going to see most grubs living there for at least one full year before they make their way to the surface as adults in their second year.
Some Gardeners Swear By Fox Urine
I have no experience with fox urine but I’ve always wondered how one collects fox urine? I’m assuming from fox farms that produce fur.
Sonic Torpedoes Work
I do know that the sonic torpedoes seem to work for some gardeners(stick a humming torpedo into the ground, the sound drives them away) and that mole-med or castor beans work as well.
The ultimate grub protection is a combination of Doom (a natural fungus) and predator nematodes (that eat them).
Castor Oil is also reputed to work and there are products on the marketfor these.
Or you can go to the drugstore and buy castor oil in small bottles. Mix it up at 4 ounces of castor oil to one gallon of water and a squirt of dish soap (to help it stick and spray onto plants) and then soak the areas you want protected.
Getting Rid Of Voles
- They are a bit harder to eliminate as the castor oil that bothers moles doesn’t seem to affect them.
- You might try a sonic torpedo. This is a tubular battery-operated apparatus that vibrates away and when inserted into the ground, sets up a vibration that apparently they do not like. There are also sonic devices that are advertised as being effective against these creatures. Plug them in and rodents will leave when the appropriate frequency is created.
- Cats work really well. More than one cat owner has written with tales of how much dear kitty loves to bring home “presents”.
- These pests hide in long grass (cut it) and piles of old boards (remove them) and other piles of vegetation (shred them and compost them) and any other place that a mouse would hide. If you remove as many of these hiding places as possible, you’ll reduce the level of damage in the lawn. But unfortunately, if you live next to a hay-field or park, you’ll always have them.
- Physical traps work as does bait. But you have to ensure pets and children don’t get into either. Note that mouse/rat bait will kill voles but the carcass is then reputed to be poisonous to anything that eats the dead body.
- Mothballs do not work (the critter simply doesn’t get moths) and
- Chewing gum also doesn’t work (except that vole-dentists get more work repairing the cavities from all that gum sugar).
My Two Cents On All These Tips
My take on most of these things is that they all work “a little bit”. None of them are a silver bullet able to completely control the problem.
And that’s the joy and beauty (and frustration for new organic gardeners) 😉 You have to do a lot of little things to give your plants an edge to grow well.
You’ll never control all the problems (even with chemicals you never really get ’em all) but you learn to relax and understand that your lawn and gardens are living things — sharing with the good, the bad and the ugly every season.