[permaculture] PERMACULTURE & RODENTS

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Wed Jun 27 14:45:51 EDT 2007


Laurence,
Here in Indiana (and much of the south east US) we have, in addition to 
mice, chipmunks, shrews, and moles, the vole...a sort of short-tailed 
mouse...which eats the roots of most plants. All of their burrowing and 
chewing behaviors around woody perennials are reduced by heavily 
planting narcissus and daffodil within the driplines. All of them are 
helpful in improving drainage in our heavy clay soils. The shrews are 
predators on the rest of them. We definitely need more snakes and we're 
improving their habitat with rocks and brush piles/berms and water 
features. The steadily growing populations of frogs and toads encourages 
snakes. Haven't seen rats but I have no doubt that they are around. Cats 
abound in our neighborhood (we don't have any) but they don't seem to 
have much effect on rodent numbers. Chipmunks also consume a wide range 
of garden fruits and veggies.

Another strategy we employ is to plant our woody species with as much 
coarse gravel around their roots as possible. Many rodents don't like to 
dig through this material as it tears up their paws, especially if 
something like pumice is used. The principle gravel available in this 
region is limestone which cannot be used around blueberries and other 
acid-loving species.

I haven't seen them nesting in mulch yet.
Keith

Laurence Gaffney wrote:
> As the Fruit & Nut Trees we have planted as part of the Implementation of a Permaculture Design start to commence producing we are finding that Rodents (mice/rats)  have increased their numbers significantly.
>
> Most of the Nuts ( particularly Macadamia & Pistachio) are taken by them before we get to them. Most of the fruit they seem to like too though we still get some.
> Vegetables also (particularly Pumpkins) are on their menu too.
>
> They seem to like making homes in mulch. 
> We have been told that we have a Snake deficiency; perhaps even an Eagle deficiency also.  (We do have both)
> We do not have a cat and are not all that keen on getting one
> .
> The proportion of produce going to Rodents is currently probably about 50/50 but is trending rapidly in their favour.
> It is a question of Balance I guess.
>
> Any thoughts out their on:-
> 1.   The role of Rodents in the Permaculture System.
> 2.   Assessment of Ecological Balance.
> 3.   Mitigation.
>
> Laurence Gaffney
> Coolish Temperate Australia
>   
-- 
Keith Johnson
"Be fruitful and mulch apply."
Permaculture Activist Magazine
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