Woody stem shrubs fall over....rootball is smooth...what is eating them.

Asked April 16, 2019, 1:58 PM EDT

My Weglia bushes and another bush (gets red berry clusters) got all ready for spring, then just toppled over and died. I am attaching a photo. There is a huge tulip poplar right there so if there is a root eater, I am concerned about the integrity of this 60-70 foot tree.

Caroline County Maryland vole damage shrub

1 Response

This looks like the work of voles. Voles are active all season long and are notorious for tunneling underneath shrubs to feed on the bark. We can actually see what looks like gnawing on the roots in your photos. Their feeding causes the damaged stems to die and snap off. They will not damage the tulip tree but as you see they can cause significant damage. Please look at the following information found on our website,
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/voles

Deb