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Good Winter For Meadow Voles – Not So Much For Woody Plants

4-16-15  meadow vole sign 009Warming temperatures have revealed the considerable amount of activity that occurred under the protective deep layer of snow this past winter. In addition to a multitude of exposed meadow vole runways, there are ample signs of the voracious appetite of this small rodent. Given that more than 90% of a meadow vole’s diet consists of vegetable matter, that it can eat more than its own body weight in 24 hours, and that it breeds throughout the year, it is no surprise that the bark of many woody plants was consumed this winter, resulting in much girdling, and thus the demise, of many shrubs and saplings.

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5 responses

  1. Kathryn

    Destructive little fellows. But, good owl food! And foxes, and coyotes and…

    April 16, 2015 at 9:55 am

  2. Knox Johnson

    We have had an extreme amount of vole damage to various plants at our farm. Most notably our blackberry plants, rosa rugosa, and wild grape vines. We also lost a Korean Spice Bush Viburnum that was never touched in 8 years. They seemed to particularly love feeding on clover plants in the lawn as evidenced in their ground surface tunneling as they wandered the subnievian (SP?) zone in their search for food. This year’s blackberry crop is already a failure.

    April 16, 2015 at 11:50 am

  3. Arrrgh, gardener’s nemesis! I planted 50 new tulips last fall and I think they’ve left only 3. When will I ever learn?

    April 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm

  4. So sorry, Eliza, this is when it’s sometimes difficult to like rodents, big and small! It’s woodchucks in my vegetable garden that get me the most!

    April 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm

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