How to Solve Common Problems With Spring Bulbs

The bulbs for spring flowering tulips and daffodils should have been planted by now although in some locations November is still not too late. But if you find that your precious bulbs are now being dug up by squirrels what can you do? This is just one of the common problems addressed in this article by Jennifer Connell which I found on the Three Dogs in a Garden website.

Q: Squirrels are digging up and eating my tulips bulbs! What can I do?
There tend to be lots of squirrels looking for an easy meal in my backyard every fall. Here is what I have learned to do to prevent them from adding my tulips to the dinner menu:
1. Do not place your bulbs on the surface of the ground while you dig the hole to plant them. Squirrels have a good sense of smell. You might as well put up a sign, “Tulips planted here. Please dig.” Instead place your tulips in a basket or plastic bucket while you work.
2. Don’t make it easy for squirrels to dig up your bulbs.?Plant tulips deeply. Forget the little hand trowel and go get a shovel. You are more likely to dig to the proper depth with a shovel. On average tulips should be planted to a depth of 6-8 inches. (As an added bonus tulips planted deeply are more likely to bloom reliably year to year.)


3. After you dig down and place your bulbs, backfill the hole and firm?down?the soil really well with your foot.?Most squirrels will go for food buried just under the surface of the soil.?If the little beggars do have the nerve to try to dig for your tulips, at least you have made it difficult for them by planting deeply and compacting the soil. Most squirrels will move on to much easier quarry.
4. Disguise the area where you planted your tulips by covering the surface with mulch or leaves as a final way to hide your buried treasure.
5. I have never resorted to repellents, but if you have squirrels that are determined pests, you may want to try an organic repellent (available at your local nursery). I have also read that red pepper flakes sprinkled on the surface of the soil are a great organic deterrent.
6. If all else fails, plant bulbs that squirrels don’t like to eat. Examples include: daffodils, alliums, scilla and hyacinths.

See more at Three Dogs In A Garden