Do the bulbs of daffodils keep moles and other rodents from plant roots? If so, how far apart and how deep should they be planted? If this does not work, what can you recommend (that works) to keep them from destroying the plant roots?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Carolyn: It is true that some plants are more resistant than others when it comes to critter damage, but this is not necessarily true for the roots of plants. It sounds like you are having more of an issue with the roots being disturbed as opposed to the foliage. Daffodil bulbs will not prevent root damage to other plants. Identifying the culprit is going to be the first step in solving the problem. I would suspect you are dealing with either voles or moles. Are the roots of your plants actually being nibbled on or just uplifted from where the tunnels are made? The following is some basic information on moles and voles that might help decipher what you are dealing with. Moles are rarely seen because they live their entire lives underground. They create a network of tunnels that are both shallow and deep, depending on the moisture and temperature of the soil. These solitary animals travel in constant search of food. They feed on earthworms, insects, and grubs. Trapping them is the best way to eliminate them from your property. The good news is that if the culprits you are dealing with truly are moles, they are not going to be abundant in numbers. Usually there are only three to five per acre. Set your traps only where you know the tunnels are currently being used. To find out where the active tunnels are, walk on the raised surface and watch for the next 24 hours for it to be disturbed. Traps are much easier to use on surface tunnels/burrows, and this time of year they are living closer to the surface so trapping them now will help keep population numbers down. As for voles, there are a couple different kinds, but the pine vole is usually the culprit of underground damage. Of course, I cannot say for sure but from what you have described these small mammals are a possibility, especially if you are pulling up plants and the roots have been eaten or if the bark has actual teeth marks. These critters are only 4-5 inches long at maturity but can do some serious damage to plant material. They usually live in loose soil as this makes it easier for them to dig their tunnels. These tunnels can be a foot deep and contain many adult and young voles. These rodents do not venture very far so it would be feasible to trap them depending on the space you are dealing with. Active tunnels can be identified the same way as described for moles.