I’m on the verge of a Caddy Shack moment and if improvised explosive devices existed for vole management, I’d blow up my whole yard right now. For the first time in several days, the sun’s out and I thought I’d walk the garden in search of the first signs of Spring. What I discovered had me spewing sentence enhancers. It’s a far cry from the serenity I envisioned this morning.
Last June, I planted a tree form Vanilla Strawberry panicle hydrangea. The caliper of the tree can’t be much over an inch, as you can see in the picture above. It’s immaturity and sunny southern exposure make it a perfect candidate for tree wrap, which I had every intention of doing. There really is no excuse not to do it, especially since I have vole issues. Notice the little trail in the mulch leading to the tree as well as the small entrance/exit hole near that small evergreen branch on the right. Voles!
Serious vole damage to one of my Centennial Blush magnolias last fall forced me to stake it with the hope that it would make it through the winter. The upside to today is that the buds are beginning to swell on all branches except for a few. The root damage was so severe that this tree was leaning with barely any root support on the right side. My hope is a bit guarded since we are only into the middle of January and there’s still plenty more winter left and a vole population to annihilate. Your thoughts and prayers would be most welcome at this time.
All the smaller trees in my garden got a once over and tree wrap that will remain in place until spring. We have snow coming tonight and into the weekend and I didn’t want to encourage the voles to nibble the tender bark of these young trees under the cover of snow. I used Tanglefoot Tangle Guard to wrap the trunk on a slight angle, overlapping each go-around starting from the bottom and working my way up. It takes just a few minutes to do.
Tree wrap comes in a roll and feels and looks like thin corrugated cardboard with a bit of give. This is my first time using this type of wrap. Previously used wraps have had a more elastic feel and were easier to secure, which I did this time with some packing tape (it’s all I have right now but should hold until I can get some proper tape), but it’s all good if it protects my little trees.
As I checked the rest of the garden, I discovered what I believe to be a vole skull and a few bones at the base of one of my Beijing Gold Peking Lilac trees. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at death with such satisfaction. I suspect my neighbor’s cat, Ally, had something to do with it. She’s been lurking in my garden a lot this winter, especially since my dog Stella died a few weeks ago. My kids laugh each morning when I take off after her in my jammies with a little bowl of milk. It’s the nurturer in me I guess, but I think she’s my hitman and the hitman always gets paid.
Linda Jean says
I love your hitman! I have voles in my yard, but I apparently have nothing of interest growing in my perennial beds. I see the neighbors’ cats visiting and an occasional hawking swooping in. I suspect they are helping with population control. I hope you are successful in saving your hydrangea.
Heather Blackmore says
Isn’t she pretty?! She’s more like a dog and we love her. Glad the voles haven’t troubled you as they have me. Sounds like you have a few “hitmen” of your own!