Mole and vole damage can be completely prevented using wire baskets. This is one of the most effective rodent protection methods, both short and long term. It is totally safe to children and pets … and one of the few methods where no harm is done to any animals. Unfortunately, the method can be expensive and involve a lot of effort in some cases.
How does this method work?
A cage or basket made of galvanized wire mesh, hardware cloth or strong plastic is placed around the roots of the plant to be protected. Gopher, mole and vole damage is prevented since the animals physically cannot get to the roots. This method is easiest to apply before trees, bushes or bulbs are actually planted.
Cages or baskets can be cylindrical or rectangular and come in different sizes. You can also make your own putting together sheets of mesh with a wire or string. The mesh size should not exceed 3/4 in (2 cm).
Where plants are already in the ground it is usually not feasible to place them into a cage or basket. In this case you can dig a thin trench around the plant(s) … placing the wire mesh at least 8 in (20 cm) deep into the ground.
For lawns or bigger areas such as flower or vegetable beds, the mesh is ideally placed both on the sides and at the bottom:
- Sides: The mesh needs to be placed vertically at least 8 in (20 cm) deep. This is done most easily by digging a narrow trench.
- Bottom: For lawns it is important that the bottom mesh is placed at the right depth, neither too high nor to low: About 2 in (5 cm) is ideal. For flower and vegetable beds we recommend 8-12 in (20-30 cm) although the exact depth is less critical here.
In many situations, placing a mesh at the bottom of a large area is not possible or too expensive: In such cases only doing the sides will already avoid most of the mole and vole damage.
Can mole and vole damage really be prevented?
Absolutely yes. This is indeed one of the most effective methods to prevent mole and vole damage. It works immediately and lasts many years.
As mentioned, protection is less strong if there is no mesh at the bottom and if the area is big. (But even then, you should see a significant improvement.)
Is this method expensive?
Yes, unless the area or number of plants to be protected from mole and vole damage is small. You can save money by making the baskets/cages yourself. This is not difficult, but can be quite an effort.
On lawns, flower and vegetable beds you can avoid most of the cost by placing the mesh only on the sides, but not at the bottom. As mentioned, this will increase the risk of mole and vole damage to some extent.
How much effort does this method involve?
Low effort, if:
- You are placing cages around single plants or bulbs before planting them.
- You are reshaping your lawn/flower/vegetable as part of a larger landscaping effort. In this case big machines are already moving layers of soil … and placing a wire mesh in between is relatively low extra effort.
High effort, if:
- You are placing mesh around existing plants or below existing lawns or flower beds.
Even though this method to avoid mole and vole damage can be very high effort, a big benefit is that it only need to do it once.
Environmental, animal and safety matters
This is clearly one of the most environmentally friendly methods: Once the mesh is placed, there is no harm to any animals and the environment at all.
Furthermore, this method is totally safe for children and pets.
Summary of pro’s and con’s
- 100% effective against mole and vole damage: both immediately and ongoing
- Very friendly to animals and the environment
- Safe to pets and children
- Zero ongoing maintenance effort & costs
- Expensive unless the area or number of plants is small
- Can be high effort depending on the situation
For a complete overview over all 18 vole and mole control methods … see our page: “18 methods for getting rid of voles and moles”