The winter months may seem bleak, but contrary to popular belief, two types of little critters that love to wreck your lawn and garden, don’t go completely dormant in the winter. That means during a warm winter like the one we’ve had, moles and voles remained fairly active and are already causing trouble under the soil.

Voles will eat the roots of plants, so they are a critter that should definitely cause concern. In your perennial garden, under your rose bushes and even Japanese Maple Trees, if you were to pull up these plants you may find they now have no roots at all.

Moles eat insects, so they’ll leave your plants alone, but they can make a real mess of your lawn with their tunnels.

The sooner you put thought into controlling these creatures, the better off you’ll be.

I recommend putting down an all-natural repellent – such as I Must Garden All Natural Mole and Vole Repellent or Vole Scram – on your lawn to drive away moles and in your gardens to keep voles at bay. Because these are all-natural products, there is no reason to worry about it harming your plants, or pets, for that matter. These products basically coat the food sources for these critters with a smell and a taste that discourages them from making your yard their home.

The best way to use these products is to apply them once per month throughout the season as a preventative measure. If you already know you have an active problem, it’s best to start with a curative approach and make your first three applications weekly.

You’ll know you have an active mole problem if you see mounded tunnels in your yard or find yourself sinking into your lawn as you walk on it. When it comes to voles, holes near the roots of your plants are a good indicator. When it’s time to prune back your rose bushes and do yard clean up and you find some plants come up with no roots, that’s another sure sign.

Even if you’ve never seen an indication of moles or voles in your yard, it doesn’t hurt to take preventative measures to be sure they never move into your property.

For people who have a severe problem and are looking to take a more aggressive route and eliminate moles and voles rather than just drive them away, we do offer natural and synthetic bait options.

If you’re looking to protect a special plant or two that you often find loses its roots to hungry critters, one final alternative is to use a Gopher Shield, a stainless steel mesh bag that you place your plants roots in before it’s planted.

With varying sizes up to 15 gallons, it’s a great solution to a known problem.

With the right tools and perhaps a little creativity, you’ll be prepared to control those critters before they cramp your lawn and garden style.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help.

Voles may appear to be smaller and cuter versions of mice but don’t let their outward good looks fool you. For those of you who are not very fond of winter, I am going to give you one more reason to put winter on your “naughty” list…Voles! Voles love warmer winters and continue to breed, tunnel and feed. They happily girdle roots, gnaw on bark, and munch on bulbs. They tunnel freely in the soft earth and snow, damaging trees and shrubs all the way up to the snow line. Their kissing cousins, moles, are a pest too but they are meat eaters and don’t do the extensive damage that voles do to our plants. Our focus is voles this fall & winter, but fortunately treating for voles will also greatly help to reduce mole populations in unwanted areas.

Get ready now! Keep a bag of Mole & Vole Repellent in your garden shed or garage. When the weather station gives us a warning of our first snowfall, grab that bag you tucked away, head out into the garden, and protect your favorite plants before the snow falls. It is really important to get a repellent down around the roots of your plants. Voles will be much less likely to wreak winter havoc on their roots if they are deterred by something smelly and distasteful. Don’t let them have a field day under the cover of snow.

I know I am jumping way ahead now but as soon as the snow melts, heading into next spring, reapply vole repellent. This is often when you will see these crazy-looking runways all over your lawn and into your garden beds, a sure sign of voles. Don’t wait to take action or you will be kicking yourself later. Get ahead of the game and outsmart those critters

Come see us at Van Wilgens. We would love to help!