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How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Plant Bulbs

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How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Plant Bulbs

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How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Plant Bulbs image by Photograph by em connell mccarty

Overview

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some dogs like to dig in soft ground as well -- if you suspect your dog is a digger, do not leave it in the garden unsupervised. A dog may do more damage than squirrels. Some cats will dig in soft ground to bury their feces. If you put your cat in the garden, consider putting out a litter box with her to deter her from using your garden as such.

Things You'll Need

  • Bitrex
  • Ground Red Pepper
  • Peanuts
  • Garden Hose
  • Chicken Wire
  • Wire Stakes or Rocks
  • Dog or Cat

References

  • IMustGarden.com
  • Beginner-Gardening.com
  • Flower-Gardening-Made-Easy.com

Who Can Help

  • Squirrel Information
Keywords: Squirrels, Tulip, Crocuses, Bulbs, Plant

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for more than 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She is continuing her study of English and writing at the University of Wisconsin. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction and essays. McCarty's fiction has been published in "Hip Mama" magazine and "Danse Macabre."

Photo by: Photograph by em connell mccarty