Lawn Damage from Voles
Voles cause damage by feeding on a wide range of garden plants including beet, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, turnip, spinach, and tomato. Turf and other landscape plantings such as lilies and dichondra may be damaged.
Voles will gnaw the bark of fruit trees including apple and citrus. Trees and shrubs with a low profile, such as arborvitae are also at risk.
Vole damage to tree trunks normally occurs from a few inches above ground to a few inches below ground. Although voles are poor climbers, if they can climb on to low-hanging branches they may cause damage higher up on trees as well.
Voles are active day and night, year-round. They are normally found in areas with dense vegetation. Voles dig many short, shallow burrows and make underground nests of grass, stems, and leaves. In areas with winter snow, voles will burrow in and through the snow to the surface.
Several adults and young may occupy a burrow system. Home-range size varies with habitat quality, food supply, and population levels, but in most cases it is no more than a few hundred square feet.
Voles are mostly herbivorous, feeding on a variety of grasses, herbaceous plants, bulbs, and tubers. They eat bark and roots of trees, usually in fall or winter. Voles store seeds and other plant matter in underground chambers.
- Commonly called a “meadow mouse”
- Found throughout the world
- Greyish brown to blackish brown in color
- Similar in size to the house mouse
- Short furry tail (roughly half the length of a house mouse)
- Active all year-round—will burrow under snow
- Feeds on a variety of vegetation
- Extremely prolific reproducers, they have 5-10 litters per year and 3-5 babies per litter.