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Protect Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs from Voles and Rabbits

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Act now to protect your new plantings from winter damage caused by voles.

Voles are small mice-like animals that live in grassy fields, meadows and under bushy evergreens and brush piles. They leave trails in the lawn under the snow when scurrying about looking food such as seeds, fleshy roots of perennials and the bark of young trees and shrubs. 

Protect new plantings by pulling mulch back from the base of trees and shrubs.  Consider installing a cylinder of ¼” mesh hardware cloth around young and newly planted trees and shrubs. Sink the bottom 4 inches of the hardware cloth into the ground.  Create a barrier of hardware cloth at least 4 feet high to help curb rabbit damage. These furry critters also feed on the bark of trees and shrubs when food is scarce in winter.

A bit more information: Deer are another threat to landscape plants. Apply repellents before they start feeding. Sturdy 6-foot-high fencing surrounding small areas of new plantings can help. Fencing should be far enough away to prevent deer from reaching over to eat, but small to prevent them from jumping into the secured space.


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