One of the most common questions I got asked at the garden center was how to get rid of voles and moles. In this article, I will only cover voles since moles, as obnoxious as they can be, don’t harm plants. Voles, however, are very destructive to plants and while there are chemical and natural deterrents available, I prefer to use barriers of plants that are unappealing to these root eaters.
Some of my favorite plants to use are bulbs, specifically, daffodil (Narcissus) bulbs. They are not only unappealing to voles, but also to deer. I typically plant them around most of my fruit trees and occasionally around my fruiting shrubs. They make a nice decorative base around the trees. Combine them with some other colorful flowers such as pansies, and you get an eye-catching burst of color in early Spring.
Daffodils aren’t the only bulbs that work or the only plants. Others include Grape Hyacinths (Muscari Armeniaca), Crown Imperials (Fritillaria), and some Alliums. Plants include Hellebore & Castor Bean. Both of these are toxic to pets and humans, so be wary where you put them.
One bulb you don’t want to plant as a deterrent is Tulips. Not only do voles love them, but so do deer and squirrels.
There are other methods for keeping these rodents away, including wire cages buried around your plants, but these are a pain to do and can be unsightly. Bulbs on the other hand only require one planting and they are there working for you year after year, and they’re beautiful and easy to put in as your planting your trees, especially if you’re doing it in the fall. Just pop them in around the base before you completely fill the hole.