How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Plant Bulbs
image by Photograph by em connell mccarty
After you have spent the morning planting tulips and crocuses, the last thing you want is to come back and find that squirrels have dug up and eaten the bulbs. Squirrels always have an eye out for food and sometimes happen across bulbs while trying to bury something else. Learn how to hide bulbs or make them unappealing to squirrels, giving the flowers a chance to grow.
Decide if you want to treat your bulbs with a pest deterrent before you plant them. You can use a product containing Bitrex, which keeps deer and other animals from eating plants. Soak the bulbs in this product before planting them. You also can sprinkle liberal amounts of ground red pepper in the hole as you plant the bulbs.
Plant your bulbs as deeply as recommended, pack the ground down firmly and hide evidence of digging by covering the area with leaves, straw or mulch. Also remove any debris that may smell of the bulbs just planted. Redirect the squirrels by putting lots of peanuts in another area of your yard.
If you choose to skip the other steps, you can soak your freshly planted garden to make the area as muddy as possible. Squirrels do not like water or mud. The water also will wash away the scent of the bulbs.
Alternately, you could cover the area with chicken wire. Stake it with wire stakes or rocks. If this is a spring planting, remove the chicken wire when the bulbs begin to sprout. If you are planting in the autumn, remove the chicken wire when the ground has frozen hard enough to deter the squirrels.
Put a predator in your garden. If you have access to a noisy dog or an aggressive cat, make a habit of letting it into your flower beds while the squirrels are most active: early morning and late afternoon. Squirrels bed down well before dark. Just the scent of a predator around the newly planted bulbs may be enough to keep squirrels away, especially if you supplied them with peanuts in another area of your yard.