Getting Your Lake Tahoe/Truckee Yard Ready For Summer! Part 1 – Controlling Moles and Voles   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

This will be the first in a series of articles dealing with getting your yard ready for summer: controlling garden pests (today), planning a drought tolerant yard for our current water restrictions, putting in some inexpensive curb appeal to wow potential buyers and growing plants in shade and vegetables in sun in your high country garden.




Spring is a relative term here in the mountains. Teasingly warm, sunny days quickly followed by snow and sleet. I suddenly have hail in my yard even as I write this. (Where was this in February when we actually wanted it???) But hey, we need the water, so we’ll take it!

That being said, our growing season is precariously short, and if we want a glorious summer garden, we have to start preparing those areas now.


Today, we’re focused on controlling garden pests while still being good stewards of our fragile forest environment.

For the first time ever, I’m battling moles/voles. They’ve managed to eat almost everything I’ve planted in the last two years. A thriving potted plant from the nursery would be a wilted mass once in the ground. Close inspection revealed a new series of tunnels in the entire planter and the roots of everything completely eaten away, leaving behind dieing, shriveled, soon to be brown tufts above ground. Being not too wild about providing an expensive outdoor buffet for the little beasts, this year I declared war!

Most suggestions however on how to combat moles, voles and gophers  involved poisons, but in our wildlife rich environment, using them has some tragic and unexpected consequences:

This is from Dave Rees’ post on Facebook~ 



I died today.
I was found by a kind, sweet woman who does wildlife rescue.
I was so sick, I could barely open my eyes.
She took me inside, cradling me in her warm arms, and made me warm and comfortable.
I opened my eyes and looked at her and thanked her for making my last few minutes as comfortable as possible.
But i was too sick to keep fighting anymore.
I had eaten a mouse that was poisoned, and it made me very sick.
I closed my yellow eyes for the last time and went somewhere else.

Please, all I ask is never use poison to kill the mice.
Poison kills owls, like me.
All I wanted was a mouse for dinner.
I died today….

Please SHARE this for poison awareness.
Stop the use of poison for rats or mice. Live traps are the best to use. Catch and release. Please.
Save a precious life today, because all life is precious.

* * *

While using poisons my seem expedient, it’s important to keep in mind what else along the food chain you’re also killing once the poisoned critter is ingested. In addition to owls, the list includes bald eagles and hawks, the rarely seen red fox, coyotes and even your own feline pets. In addition, these poisons can seep into the ground water and wash into creeks, rivers and lakes. Bad idea all around.

So I was thrilled to find this suggestion.  Lining your plants or even whole planters with hardware wire. Your plants get protected, the environment is safe from poisons, and the critters we share this lovely area with get to live another day to hunt your garden pests. Win, Win all around!

Hardware wire. Try chewing through this vermin!

Hardware wire. Try chewing through this vermin!


In short order, I had dug out the planter and boxed it in with the hardware wire.  In addition, this allowed me to mix in some much needed compost with the excavated dirt as I filled the planter back in. (Most of our soil is decomposed pine needles and is way too acidic, nutrient deficient and has very poor drainage and/or water retention ability.) The area is now ready for new plants to thrive in once our weather becomes more consistently warm.

Be aware. Be kind. There are almost always better solutions to combat common garden pests than using poisons.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

Lifestyles of the Kitchen Famous

Kitchens . Baths . Interiors . Design . By Michelle Portesi

Tahoe Truckee Outdoor

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

Outside Inn

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

Much Ado with Nothing

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

Eat Picks

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee


Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

%d bloggers like this: