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Kerb Reduces Stem Girdling by Meadow Voles

Stem girdling by meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) is a serious problem in young forest plantations and orchards in southern Ontario (1). Dense, continuous sod cover provides ideal habitat for meadow voles, and patches of even a few square meters of grass or broadleaf weeds may support a few voles. As long as there is an ample supply of succulent herbaceous vegetation, voles do not feed on tree bark. However, when the population has outgrown the food supply, or during the winter when normal food is not available, voles eat the bark of young trees (fig. 1). Large populations of voles invariably cause extensive damage; but even as few as 4 to 6 voles per acre (10 to 15 voles per ha) can cause severe damage by girdling the stems of all trees within their radius of activity (2).

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Author(s): F. W. von Althen

Publication: Tree Planters' Notes - Volume 30, Number 4 (1979)

Section: general

Volume: 30

Number: 4