How to Keep Squirrels From Digging Up Crocus Bulbs


Squirrels are often a nuisance to the home gardener and can cause serious damage if left unattended. One of their favored snacks is bulbs, and crocus bulbs top the list of favorites. Crocuses have smaller bulbs that are usually planted just 2 or 3 inches beneath the soil, making them easy to dig up. Fortunately, there are several ways to help keep squirrels from digging up your crocus bulbs that can be applied at planting time or after the crocuses are established.

Step 1

Dip your crocus bulbs in a repellent designed for squirrels and other rodents before you plant them. Ropel liquid repellent and Hinder are two well-known such products. Alternatively, spray the area with these same repellents if your crocuses are already planted and growing. You should spray again after each time it rains.

Step 2

Lay chicken wire on top of the soil immediately after you plant the crocus bulbs. Cover the screen with mulch or some additional topsoil. The crocuses will grow through the chicken wire.

Step 3

Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top of the soil around your plants. This will help deter the squirrels from digging your crocus bulbs. You'll have to reapply cayenne after it rains.

Step 4

Lay down chicken wire after you cut off the foliage in the fall when it dies back after the first frost. Remove any mulch and debris first and cut back the foliage to the ground, then lay down the chicken wire and cover it back up with the mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Rodent and rabbit repellent
  • Chicken wire, 1/2 inch mesh
  • Cayenne pepper


  • University of Minnesota Ask a Master Gardener: Squirrels
  • Cornell University: How to Grow Bulbs
  • Bulb FAQs

Who Can Help

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension Publications: Control of Tree Squirrel Damage
Keywords: squirrels digging garden, squirrels digging bulbs, crocus bulbs

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.