Ask a Question forum: Help: Burrowing Rodent destroying beds etc

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Name: Che Clark
Chicago, IL (western suburbs) (Zone 5b)
checlarkglobal
Nov 28, 2017 4:46 PM CST
Increasing number of holes, found plants eaten up from underground. Can anyone advise what to do? Not great pics....sorry.

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 28, 2017 4:54 PM CST
Voles ? Castor oil might deter them or the spray that you can buy, which makes them think a fox is in the neighbourhood.
They destroyed my bulbs last spring.
Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
Cottage Gardener Lilies Organic Gardener
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katesflowers
Nov 28, 2017 7:59 PM CST
Oh Che
I also found many holes around my perennial gardens.
Voles!
I have seen garter snakes elsewhere on our property and carried them to the perennial beds, instructing them to "get busy" !
That did the trick. My lilies have multiplied and no more bulb losses. And no more voles.
I see my snakes occasionally, sunning between the plants. I say howdy partner.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Nov 29, 2017 11:32 AM CST
Howdy, from out west , Che.:tiphat:
We don't have voles out hear, but , we have gophers, a relative of voles and moles. They all burrow and eat plants up. Sad The Devils.
This will work. For years, and years ! But 😞 involves some work .

Use Galvanized Hardware Cloth. Like they put on bottoms of rabbit hutches . Dig a hole , the size of your bed, around 12 inches deep, or so. Build a box, bottom and 4 sides, with hardware cloth. Use plenty of hog rings to fasten it all together, you don't want any gaps, for the devil's to find, believe me, they will. nodding
Place box in hole, and fill it in.

If they come out of ground at nite to feed ! Your gonna need a border, they can't get through, or climb over.
I'd extend hardware cloth up above ground level, then put a wood border, so you don't cut yourself, when working in the bed.
Now !!! Some people may tell you to use chicken wire because it's cheaper. Please please ! DON'T waist your time, money and effort to save a few dollars, and have a failure.

To much work ? I have an idea, that I think would work, be cheaper , and less work. First !!! You need to know, how deep a vole will burrow or dig. Then, dig a trench, all the way around bed, deeper than they will dig. I would leave trench open a couple days, as not to trap any voles inside. Then ! Ha ha 😀 Then, hardware cloth in trench. Fence the devil's out.
Makes , LOGICAL , since to me.
There's a real solution, and an idea, for you. 👍👍👍
Let me know, if you can improve on controlling the booger's.
Ta Ta !
.😎😎😎



Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 29, 2017 12:49 PM CST
I agree with Philip about the hardware cloth idea. And yes, the chicken wire rusts out too quickly and you'd be wasting money.
The hardware cloth needs to be at least 6 inches below ground and a foot above ground ( *Blush* or was it the other way around? Rolling on the floor laughing )
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Nov 29, 2017 1:23 PM CST
Che - I'm in agreement on voles. They're pretty much omnivores. Look like field mice but dark gray. I only notice them in the colder weather when they're dashing around. I get Rat Magic and sprinkle around and that seems to help. Can't buy in IN but not sure about IL. You can try the castor oil stuff - they do sell some in granular form.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Nov 29, 2017 2:05 PM CST
Oh, I was curious about gophers and found this which might be helpful to you: http://www.thegopherguy.com/pa...

I came to this thread because I have problems with chipmunks and thought your's might be the same. They can be extremely problematic. But the chipmunks I have don't really eat my plants. They are omnivores though.

Chipmunks are usually active in the day so you can see them either peeking out of their holes, or coming and going. Helps a lot with ID. Gophers are nocturnal and mostly underground feeders so harder to visually ID.

Good luck! If you ever need info about chipmunks, I'm your person! Thumbs down
AKA Joey.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Nov 29, 2017 6:07 PM CST
@joannakat Howdy Joanna I tip my hat to you.
I like live a block from a ditch. Gophers only seam to eat my artichoke plants. Suckers eat it off at ground level. My problem is, they never come up, and make mounds. If they did, I could get them with traps.
So, I'm planning on building a twelve inch raised bed, on top of hardware wire . Outsmart, the little DEVIL'S ###!!! 😀😀😀

On Castor Oil... I wanted to try it as a cat and varment deterrent from vegetables . Went to several pharmancies ! They looked at me, as if I was crazy ! Or said, they never heard of it ! REALLY !!!
Is that bizzarre ! Or WHAT ??? Grumbling
Where can a person find Castor Oil ?

Also : You got me intreaged , in what this, thegopherguy, has to say ?
Ta ta !😀!
😎😎😎




Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 29, 2017 6:29 PM CST
Castor oil used to be easy to find anywhere! I didn't know it had fallen by the wayside. Maybe you can find it online, Philip?
Ok, just found it on Amazon, of course!
https://www.amazon.com/castor-...
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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Nov 29, 2017 7:45 PM CST
Philipwonel said:@joannakat Howdy Joanna I tip my hat to you.
I like live a block from a ditch. Gophers only seam to eat my artichoke plants. Suckers eat it off at ground level. My problem is, they never come up, and make mounds. If they did, I could get them with traps.
So, I'm planning on building a twelve inch raised bed, on top of hardware wire . Outsmart, the little DEVIL'S ###!!! 😀😀😀

On Castor Oil... I wanted to try it as a cat and varment deterrent from vegetables . Went to several pharmancies ! They looked at me, as if I was crazy ! Or said, they never heard of it ! REALLY !!!
Is that bizzarre ! Or WHAT ??? Grumbling
Where can a person find Castor Oil ?

Also : You got me intreaged , in what this, thegopherguy, has to say ?
Ta ta !😀!
😎😎😎


This is what I have to say about raised beds: The thread "Elevated Bed Idea" in Gardening Ideas forum

I've found that those prickly mats work really well for deterring all animals that walk on the ground. https://www.google.com/search?...

Then, you don't have to put anything on/in your soil, and you don't have to reapply either. Or think about the effect it has on your food.

Good luck!

AKA Joey.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Nov 30, 2017 9:44 AM CST
When I purchased armadillo deterrent, the active ingredient mentioned was castor oil... unfortunately, it was useless.

I've found that simply dropping castor seeds in the tunnels (of those burrowing pests) is effective... unfortunately, those are getting harder and harder to find.

One year, I was drying seeds on window screens, and rats or mice or something discovered a food source.... a few castor beans solved the prob.

I'm of mixed feelings about the wire remedy, as it's my understanding that the galvanized metal is toxic?

really don't want to poison my food....
[Last edited by stone - Nov 30, 2017 9:46 AM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
My dogs love me; some people don't.
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greene
Nov 30, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Castor oil can be purchased via the internet from Swansons.
https://www.swansonvitamins.co...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Nov 30, 2017 10:59 AM CST
We have voles/meadow mice and chipmunks here.

Chipmunks are territorial, hibernate and are omnivorous. In the latter regard, I've rescued fledgling birds from them.

We do, however, have a lot of voles/meadow mice, though perhaps the resident chipmunk may be keeping their numbers down a bit. We also have a lot of closely maintained perennial plants. The only losses in the whole garden, that I'm aware of, is to the spring bulbs. Unfortunately the crocuses, which we particularly like, are not poisonous and voles mine them out, as Che says, from below.

My friend, David Tomlinson (Merlin's Hollow) handles this by leaving warfarin, inside pop/beer cans, on the ground. He enlarges the holes in the cans, but only big enough so that nothing larger than a vole can get in. He says this never completely solves the problem, but it does keep the spring bulb losses down. Personally, I simply plant more bulbs in fall to balance off the losses in winter and later. If there was any other plant losses to the voles, I would probably be forced to follow David's lead.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Nov 30, 2017 11:10 AM CST
SunnyBorders said:

My friend, David Tomlinson (Merlin's Hollow) handles this by leaving warfarin, inside pop/beer cans, on the ground.


Warfarin is an anticoagulant, right? Personally, I'm against using any type of poison, Warfarin included, on creatures. The reason is that they don't stay inside the holder (can in this case) and can be eaten by other creatures such as birds. Essentially, this means that the bird is eating poison and will probably die too.

Equally effective is the mouse or rat trap if you decide to do something that kills, and it won't harm other creatures. Planting bulbs in cages can be very helpful too. Just as an aside, there is no poison that chipmunks will eat.
AKA Joey.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Nov 30, 2017 1:51 PM CST
True, but it's a first-generation AR (anticoagulant rodenticide). It's less lethal and less prone to bioaccumulation than its second-generation successors.

https://www.nature.com/news/ki...

I'll have to ask whether David leaves the cans out throughout the growing season, but I've always assumed not. Re snakes: there is a herpetarium at Merlin's Hollow (in a scree part of the garden); not in the herbaceous garden where the spring bulbs (and voles) are.

Got me wondering how anticoagulant rodenticides are applied in berry farms and orchards.
Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Nov 30, 2017 5:00 PM CST
Hello Che;
Here in southern Colorado we have pocket gophers that get out of hand about every other year. While the snake idea is great, the school staff have cows because "there's snakes out there!" and don't really care about the ankle busters the gophers leave on the grounds. Over the many years I've been fighting them the most effective non poisonous remedy is to find their current abode ( they have a few spread out ) and up-end a half full DeepRock bottle in the hole, they will honestly, actually , no b.s., run right into the bottle! and what or how you deal with them then is up to you, I make it quick with a good whack of a hammer Shrug!
Hope this helps.
J.R.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Nov 30, 2017 5:42 PM CST
According to this wildlife directory, the plains pocket gopher is the only gopher that occurs in Illinois, its distribution is given as:

"Plains pocket gophers are found throughout much of the mid-section of Illinois. Their range extends from St. Clair and Madison counties to east and south of the Illinois River over to the Kankakee River and south of that river to the border of Indiana. They can be locally abundant."

http://web.extension.illinois....

If the plants are being eaten from the base, it could well be voles. Here voles will munch away at hosta roots (and other plants) during the winter so that in spring all that's left is a hosta pancake that just lifts off the ground. The plants will recover if firmly replaced so they can re-root but it really sets them back.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Dec 1, 2017 9:16 AM CST
WOW, Stone Crying I didn't know Galvanized wire would release toxins in the soil ! Thank You for heads up 👍. Do they make hardware cloth that's not Galvanized???

I keep telling myself, im gonna start building elevated raised beds, the ol legs can't handle kneeling and bending down much any more 😟 !
Maybe this will get me started. 😀
Wish me luck Stone 👍
Your welcome to come on over and help me. I'll provide ya room and board !!! If ya ever get out this way 🕵️.
Adios there buddy.
Garden Hoe' !!!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
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SunnyBorders
Dec 1, 2017 12:42 PM CST
Re galvanized (zinc coated) wire. I suspect that its does not release toxins into the soil to any substantive degree.

I once had the great pleasure of teaching Chemistry and was in the habit of checking Material Safety Data Sheets.

See the Safety Data Sheet for Galvanized Steel Products below.

The only clear problem seems to be when their galvanized steel products are operated on (e.g. burning, welding, sawing, etc.).
In that case, see Section 2; the Hazard Categories (1 worst) to 4 (least) are associated with the Hazard Classification.
Perhaps there is a minimal release of particles into the air if the wire is cut; so you could wear a dust mask.

http://www.power-strut.com/DB/...
[Last edited by SunnyBorders - Dec 1, 2017 1:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Marguerite Bushman

mnbdfb
Dec 2, 2017 9:32 AM CST
I was told to use a brand called Tomcat. Place the specified dose in a Mason jar with a V-shaped notch cut in the lid. Set on a slightly raised portion of soil so water drains away from the opening. ( Voles will not eat wet bait.) Cover with a milk crate to prevent the jar being disturbed or eaten by a pet. The friends who told me of this method have two dogs and the most beautiful hosts and no voles, except for the random stray vole, who doesn'T live long.

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