Something’s eating my bulbs!

By Judy Bernard, Master Gardener

In an earlier post, I talked about digging up spring bulbs for planting them in the fall and about planting them. I didn’t talk about the little critters that dig them up. In addition to the usual tulip bulbs which disappear, I’ve had asiatic lily,  gladiola, and even garlic bulbs dug up. Most of them were eaten (except for the garlic). They don’t seem to dig up established bulbs, so what can we do to keep new bulbs where we want them to grow and bloom?

There are several strategies that fall into 2 categories–repellants and barriers.

Repellants

  • Blood meal – this also nourishes the soil naturally, so it’s a preferred one.
  • Urine – human male urine will deter most animals. Cat urine can be used in the form of cat litter.
  • Hot pepper sprinkled on the ground, although lately this treatment has been considered inhumane due to the pain that it causes the critter doing the digging.

Repellants will need to be reapplied when washed away with rain or after watering.

flower-bulbs-494399_640

Barriers

Chicken wire cages will be the most effective prevention. Just put a layer of chicken wire in the bottom of the hole, place the bulbs on top, put another layer of chicken wire on top of the bulbs and nothing will be able to get at the bulbs.

Another thing you can use is green plastic strawberry baskets for 2 or 3 bulbs.

The articles below will give more information about what you can do. Let us know how you make out!

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/bgen/protect-flower-bulbs.htm

https://www.adrbulbs.com/page/Squirrels-Deer-Pests

 

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