Hosta Apocalypse - Advice Needed


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Hello - relatively new to Hosta gardening here -- I planted my first ones four years ago. I now have over 40 with 10 different varieties - or at least I did. I live near the top of a mountain in southwest Virginia in zone 6a and my house backs up to dense woodland. I had trouble with deer damage the first two years but after putting up a deer fence (and subsequently raising the height) I had my first year in 2017 deer free. All my hostas looked great through the end of the season last year but now I have a new terror which I can only assume are voles. Never had any evidence of them before but instead of describing the extent of the devastation, I've included a few pictures. The pictures attached below are of two of my beds - basically before and after - one from late May 2017 and the other taken just a few days ago.

Out of all my hostas I had only seven successfully come up and of those only five remain. For the most part I never even saw shoots. At first, I thought they were just late. We had a topsy turvy winter with a freakishly warm February with temps many days in the 70s and a few in the 80s but then very cold temps and snow in late March and the first half of April. I thought maybe growth had begun earlier than normal and then was killed off in the cold but week after week I saw no signs of my hostas while many things came up around them. Apart from the five or six that started coming up in early May (all at the fringes of the garden) I saw nothing until the second half of May when I observed some growth out of maybe an additional seven or eight but this growth was not as it should be - weak and small shoots as if it was secondary growth. Then over then next couple of days, one by one the this small new growth vanished.

I didn't even know about voles and hostas but then read something online. I started digging and I did find around several of the hostas trails between the mulch and the ground - I also found a few holes a little bigger than my thumb. But can voles cause all this destruction? Most of the pictures I found online of vole damage showed grown plants that had been eaten through at the ground level but these guys must have been eating the growth before it ever emerged. Since then, our cat has caught a couple voles but is not that interested in them and I think their numbers must be a veritable plague. I still haven't seen a vole myself though while working in the garden. I bought some of the Plantskydd repellent - the granular formula that specifically mentions voles and put it down almost everywhere. I read about putting wire mesh around all the hostas and down into the soil as a possible solution but to do that I would have to rip up all my drip hoses and the garden is really too large to be watered effectively by hand. Poison is not an option because of our animals and I don't want to kill off anything unintended. Has anyone ever had anything like this? Is there anything else I can do that works? Electronic devices? Snake scarecrows?

Also, do I need to reconcile myself to the fact that many of my hostas are just probably gone? Can they come back from that? In my digging I did find some rhizomes with little shoots but not many. In a few places it seemed like the whole thing might be hollowed out.

Sorry for the long post but I've been quite disheartened by this and would appreciate any advice. Much thanks in advance.
 

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Sounds like what we started with and where we have ended up. We even feed deer as a distraction but it just slowed the inevitable. You might try containers. Hosta must be incredibly tasty. I should try it sometime.
 
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Sorry to hear about your hosta problems, just wanted to say welcome to the forum :)
 

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