Lilies forum: Vole Damage--lilium, winter 2013-14

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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 19, 2014 8:39 PM CST
The pictures below show just how destructive voles can be. I lost eight plants in a row in one of my gardens: the one in the pictures and seven others, which of there was nothing left but a handfull of scales (last picture). The eight individual bulbs were produced by cross pollination and can not be replaced by repurchase. The one in the picture was a pretty large double nose in process of dividing. All eight bulbs were part of a much larger group replanted last Fall in a relocation project. Note: For some reason the first picture uploaded to this site vertically, when it should be horizontal for full view as taken.
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Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Apr 19, 2014 9:04 PM CST
Any chance the chewed up one would repair itself or maybe you could scale what was left?
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Apr 19, 2014 10:16 PM CST
Destructive little varmints!
Name: Øystein Hermansen
Østfold,Norway (Zone 5b)
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grapus
Apr 20, 2014 1:02 AM CST
They have eaten many exiting lilies here also, lilies I can't replace.

A few years ago I rebuild one of the beds I grow my lilies, in this one I also grow some martagons. The rebuilding was done in the fall. When the spring come I could see that voles had been there and no martagons come up that year, I think. I also had planted L. hansonii that fall that was given to me. But the year after most of the lilies come up but most of common martagon only few. But the next years many small martagons germinated where there had never been martagons before. A friend of mine told me that it was the voles that had spread the martagon. It's only sad that it's the common martagon and not Cattaniae that I lost. Here are the martagons the voles planted for me.


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Ille bra,se.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 20, 2014 6:23 AM CST
That's interesting how they ended up spreading the Martagons like that. I suppose some of those loose scales I found (which were still buried) would have produced bulblets too. I think voles instinctively try to spread their food source much the same as squirrels bury acorns. I have watched them, studied them a lot--because I can't beat them. They're pretty intelligent creatures. I've been pretty lucky the past 2 or 3 years, but this year the record deep snow allowed the ground to thaw in spots under the mulch. By the looks of peoples yards in the area, the voles had a very good winter. There's damage in everyone's yard like the picture below of damage in mine. One poor guy's yard is tore up from end to end so horrific it makes almost make a person laugh out loud. Except it not funny.

Voles are not likely to touch conventional mouse or gopher poisons if they've got enough other food. Somebody told me to try soaking a potato in anti freeze that has a little Coca Cola added to it for sweetness. I might try putting some around the outer edges of the yard next winter.

Photos taken earlier this Spring is one of the 5 areas I have damaged.


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Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
Apr 20, 2014 10:46 AM CST
I had voles in my yard this winter for the first time ever! I think they got my Black Prince martagon as well as a few pardalinum, species tulips and a couple other marts.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 21, 2014 6:50 PM CST
I split the damaged bulb, powdered each half lightly with Captan and planted one part shallow in the garden and potted the other. The individual scales were not really large enough to support bulblets to any size. The basil plate was still strong, so as a unit, the scales remaining should support new growth and maybe even a few bulblets. But I don't expect to see anything green this year.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 22, 2014 6:22 AM CST
If you noticed, in Oystein's and my case, the damage occurred with new Fall plantings where the soil has not had a chance to fully compact. In every case of vole's attacking a bulb here, they've gained entry by chewing out the old stem and going down the stem hole. This is true for old established gardens as well as new gardens. If the old stem hole is large enough, they can go right down to the bulb even if the ground is frozen. If it isn't, they just make it a little larger. But with the softer soil of a new planting their job is a lot easier, frozen or not. My practice has always been to leave about 2 inches of stem showing with new plantings so besides the marker, the stem tells me exactly where the bulb is and that helps me set a straight row. But, from now on with new plantings, I'm going to cut the stem short so it ends up a couple inches below ground level. Hopefully, this will seal off their usual entry when the ground is frozen and at least hide it if it isn't frozen.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Apr 22, 2014 6:27 AM CST
Perhaps you should pull the stems completely in the fall,
at least with one you are able to....
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 22, 2014 6:52 AM CST
MostTrumpets and Aurelians stay green until very late around here--some have to freeze back. So the stems are still solid. Some of the earlier Trumpets possibly but those later more Aurelian type hang in there pretty tough.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Apr 22, 2014 7:29 AM (+)]
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BUGGYCRAZY
Apr 22, 2014 10:09 PM CST
This is why Cats belong in lily gardens.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Apr 24, 2014 2:38 AM CST
Voles have an instinct for finding lily bulbs.I had trails going up to and into containers where lilies were planted. I tried planting daffs around sections where I had lilies. I dont think it has made a difference.

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