If you have ornamental trees in your yard, you may be at risk of a common nuisance wildlife occurrence known as vole girdling, which generally becomes a problem around fall and winter. Voles will chew the bark of planted and ornamental tree trunks, causing extensive bark and tissue damage. If you want your trees to grow tall and strong, you must put a stop to any vole activity on your property.
Continue reading to learn the most effective method for protecting your trees from nuisance voles.
Girdling is basically a chewing action. Voles will nibble and chew at tree bark and roots when there is not much else around for them to eat. This is why tree girdling is most noticeable in the early spring, once all the snow melts away. The most common trees targeted are fruit trees, especially apple trees, chestnut trees, and even junipers.
Signs of vole girdling are often very easy to discern. Look for wide patches of missing bark near the base of tree trunks, or on tree roots. Although not necessarily a sign of girdling, a common sign of a vole infestation is large spots of dead grass in your lawn. If you know you have a vole problem, you can prevent tree girdling more effectively by taking action before the damage can occur.
Preventing Vole Girdling
The best way to prevent tree girdling is to mitigate the nuisance wildlife activity on your property. This includes making any necessary environmental modifications, and even hiring a professional wildlife abatement company for animal proofing services. Effective environmental modifications basically entail removing any food, water, and shelter sources used by nuisance wildlife. This includes making sure your lawn is cut very short. The less underbrush and ground cover, the less places voles have to hide.
When it comes to protecting gardens and fruit trees, you may want to try installing a type of fence or barrier. For instance, homeowners have had success with vole control by installing hardware cloth cylinders around the base of tree trunks. For best results, use a mesh fencing that is 1/4 inch or less in size, and bury it at least 3 inches into the ground.