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Problem with my Iris Cristata

CayugaCayuga Posts: 4

I grow iris cristata as a ground cover.  Very pretty & keeps the weeds at bay.  This winter was a very harsh one, Five feet of snow. In some areas, the iris cristata are all but gone....I suspect they were eaten under the snow cover.  Does anyone know about this & what I can do to protect them next winter?

Thanks for your help


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    Hi Cayuga. I'll bump you up the forum but most of us are UK based and won't know your pests.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • CayugaCayuga Posts: 4

    Oh.  I did not realize that. Thanks.  I have done some more reading & found out that voles like iris roots.  Do you have voles in the UK & if so, what do you do about them?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    We do have assorted voles. What we don't have is five feet of snow. In one of our more severe winters (maybe 6 inches of snow), voles ate the bark of much of my privet hedge.  But they're good owl food and all part of life's rich tapestry. I didn't grudge them the hedge, just disappointed they didn't kill the b......y thingimage

    Some parts of the UK get more snow but here in  East Anglia our only extreme is dryness.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,901

    We have lots of voles in our garden. As Nut says, they are very popular with the owls. In fact, I think they are their staple food. When the owls can't eat them because of thick snow (yes, 6"!), the vole population soars and, of course, the owl population crashes. This happened to us a few winters ago and we are still noticing the imbalance. Fortunately, the voles are also predated by lots of other things too. Which is a shame because they are extremely cute little things.

    They look cuter than this in the fleshimage

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • CayugaCayuga Posts: 4

    Ah!  That's interesting!  We have a resident owl who has been very vociferous day & night!  Maybe he is feasting.image

    The vole is indeed very cute....but I am afraid I am still a Scrooge.  We have a problem with deer ticks here in New England.  They carry Lyme disease, which has been a real problem  Rodents are hosts as well for the deer tick. I wish you could seethe get-up I put on in order to work in the garden & still protect myself from these ticks.  They are s tiny you can hardly see them.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,407

    I live in North-west England, up in the hills. We recently had a new fence erected bordering one of our fields. On a preliminary survey, we saw lots of little piles of rush stems near lots of little vole holes, where they had been feeding under the snow (we get a bit more than 6", especially when it drifts!). We also saw piles of owl pellets adjacent to nearby fence posts! Pretty sure voles are your culprits.

  • CayugaCayuga Posts: 4

    Thanks guys.  I'll just hope the resident owl will do his thing.

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