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  • From: Richard MURPHY <>
  • To: nafex <>
  • Subject: [NAFEX] vole protection
  • Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 23:56:55 +0000

Hello Guys;

In the Spring of 2005, I made the first trip to my orchard in Maine, planted
in the Spring of '04.

TWENTY apple trees; girdled about 5" up off the ground. In a panic, I ran
around checking the other rows of trees.
They were all OK.
Why did the Voles only attack apple row A, and not rows B thru F ??
In the early fall of 2004, I tilled and seeded the acre along-side row A for
the coming Saskatoon planting.
Every little bastard Vole fled the scene; some of them heading North, right
into apple row A.
There, they found baby apple trees, surrounded by pine bark mulch; food and
shelter !!

I ended up replacing all 20 trees. Yes, that hurt.
But, since then, I've not had a single Vole incident, because I know what to

There are 6 elements to a successful Vole Mitigation program.

1. Scalp the surrounding turf, weeds to 2" or less, for +/- 6 feet either
side of the plant. 8 feet is better still.
(Voles are horrified of open daylight, as they are hawk food, and
they know it.) This one act is 80% of the battle!
2. Use tree wraps. Spiral, convoluted, metal window screen; you decide.
3. Use mulch as you normally would. Wood chips are better than pine bark
'fluff', which they are masters at sculpting.
4. Distribute Rodenticide Blocks every 12 feet along the row, under the
mulch. If pets are local, use bait stations to keep them safe.
5. If there's only a few plants, pull back the mulch 12" away from the
tree / bush trunk.
6. As another of us has forwarded; trim whatever you're growing to have
at least 12" of 'single trunk', that can be wrapped.
(I tried wrapping little multi-stem bushes by the hundred. A serious
waste of time / money.)

Optional: I also installed a 'Hawk Pole' that I made from chopping down a
Poplar tree. It has a 3' crossbar stick at the top, about 20' up off the
ground. Folks laughed at first. But, every once in a while, I see a smallish
hawk on the pole. He sits there, then he swoops down, grabs a 'hot lunch',
and carries it off to the hedge row trees to eat it.

Optional # 2 My friend's Jack Russel sits on the riding mower as my friend
mows the apple alleys. He sees any fleeing voles, jumps off, kills them by
horrific shaking, then resumes his place on the mower. I love that little


  • [NAFEX] vole protection, Richard MURPHY, 05/25/2011

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