Rats vs rats

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Fri, 03 Sep 2004 19:09:17 PDT
For decades I've been using six-inch cubes of 1/4 inch galvanized wire mesh
for crocus and tulips, among others. The mesh is expensive, but it lasts
for decades. There will be rough edges, and they're hard on unprotected
hands - and just as hard, I hope, on curious noses sniffing around the bulb

The question was asked: what bulbs do mice and rats attack? Here are two
lists which should guide beginners. 

Under my conditions, the following are rarely if ever bothered by rodents
(some have other problems): hyacinths, squills, glories-of-the-snow, grape
hyacinths, ornithogalums,  reticulate irises, juno irises, Dutch irises,
bearded irises, colchicums, some lilies (those with Lilium candidum or L.
henryi in their background in particular, but definitely not most),
anemones, ranunculus, alliums, daylilies,  aroids in general,
Ipheion/Tristagma, Cyclamen (past the yearling stage), Eremurus, peonies,
Camassia, Eranthis, some frits and amaryllids in general (Narcissus,
Amaryllis, Galanthus, Lycoris, Nerine for instance). 

The particularly vulnerable sorts include crocus, tulips, erythroniums and
most lilies.

One aspect of the vole problem has yet to be mentioned in this discussion.
Periodically, the vole population burgeons, seemingly exponentially. They
become so numerous that they show up in broad daylight. During these
periods, there will be feeding frenzies: even ordinarily unpalatable bulbs
such as those of small daffodils or the tubers of Anemone blanda or lesser
celandine will start to disappear if not protected. I have no idea if these
are eaten or just carried off to be stored. During these periods it's not
unusual to see big Hosta in the garden go slightly off color: if you give
the plant a slight push, the whole thing topples over because the voles
have eaten almost all of the roots. 

After writing the above, I read Kathy Stokmanis' post on the same topic.
One caution: half inch mesh would probably not keep out our local voles,
some of which are not much bigger than the last two joints of an adult's
middle finger.  

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the dearth of bulbs in
the local indigenous flora seems to be telling me something. 

More information about the pbs mailing list