Tip to keep voles from damaging hostas

baskets on top of hosta plants
Photo courtesy Kathy Guest Shadrack

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Here is a tip about voles from Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society.

She has a problem with voles even though hawks, foxes and coyotes visit her gardens.

In order to give her garden a fighting chance, she covers the crowns of her hostas with baskets she got from a dollar store. If the crown is really large, she chooses deer netting instead of a basket. She uses landscape pins to hold the baskets and netting in place.

Voles will burrow under the baskets, so how does this help?

Shadrack also pours a castor oil solution to the crown of the plant.

“It’s not a poison; it’s a deterrent,” she said.

The voles could burrow under the plants, “but they don’t,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years. It’s a lot of work, but it keeps my heart from breaking in the spring.”

The solution is made from castor oil, dishwashing liquid (to break up the oil) and water. You can find a recipe here.

Read more about moles and voles here.

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