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Managing Voles & Denver Tree Care

December 18, 2015

This time of year, meadow mice, or voles, make their way out of their burrow hole – many times to find their way back to another, but can also head straight for your trees or plants. These rodents multiply quickly and create their tunnels under snow cover within the grass. The more snow, the more activity you will see from voles. Wild and rummaging critters can cause all manner of damage to your home, garden, yard, and plant life. Do you know what to do once the damage has happened? Your top Denver tree care service has the advice you need to manage the damage and control your surroundings:
  • Keep Watch for Gnaw Marks: while many different types of animals will chew and gnaw on branches, stems, and bark, vole typically leave the ends of any stems pointed as opposed to cut off at an angle or leaving a rough edge. Another area that would be affected by voles is at the root of the trees. They will gnaw the outside bark of the tree, leaving it exposed and potentially causing major damage or killing it. Pay particular attention if you have young shrubs or junipers, as they would likely die from the damage caused.
  • Treading on Spongy Soil: When you walk across soil that slightly gives way, or bounces back a bit, it is a sign that you might have voles in the vicinity. The cause of the spongy-feeling beneath your feet is due to the tunnels and space created beneath the surface.  Burrowing voles under the grass will either head through to another burrow or end up munching on the bark of your tree. These pathways create damage to your lawn and grass growth, and are important to identify to try and prevent further damage.
While a professional pest control company could be your best option for removal and management, there are some ways you can be proactive to prevent voles from damaging your grass and trees. Take some steps before the snow hits the ground to make sure you don’t encounter this issue, like planting grass that is less conducive to providing shelter for voles as they burrow. The removal of any tall grasses will help eliminate this problem, as voles seek areas that have greater coverage and typically will not stay in open areas.

Another idea for protecting your trees and shrubs from voles is to provide them with a barrier. Using something like a hardware cloth to surround the base of the tree and extend below into the soil at least a few inches (up to 6) can keep voles from accessing the base bark.

Make sure to keep a mindful eye on your grass and trees this winter and remember the signs of pesky intruders that may cause damage to your beloved home and flourishing trees. Questions? Contact the experts at American Arbor Care for more information and tips to better maintain your plants, trees, grass, and more. Learn about winter plant protection and what to do if your tree is covered in snow.