Save the bulbs: How to protect tulips, crocuses and other fall plantings from squirrels and chipmunks


“I had danger with squirrels and chipmunks digging up my tulip and crocus bulbs last tumble. Tulips and crocuses are a pair of my current spring vegetation, and I am planning to plant them again this tumble. Is there one thing I will enact to discourage these animals from the bulbs?”

— Adrianna Melecio, Highwood

Squirrels and chipmunks is in general a nuisance and frustration when they dig up newly planted bulbs. They’re attracted to the freshly dug earth that would perhaps perhaps be a result of planting bulbs and would perhaps perhaps be subtle to discourage. When they toddle across the terrified soil, they compare what is buried there and discontinue up discovering bulbs, versus a stash of nuts.

The squirrels on occasion type the bulbs after which honest tumble them somewhere within the yard. Squirrels are less liable to dig in a bed that has other properly-rooted plant life look after perennials. Squirrels on occasion dig up the bulbs quickly after planting, but now not in subsequent years. I finished planting crocus at dwelling because of the consistent losses, although over time those that survived the preliminary years have multiplied.

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A correct diagram to offer protection to your unusual bulb planting is to duvet the distance with chicken wire or plastic backyard netting to stop squirrels and chipmunks from digging within the distance. Stake the wire or netting in with panorama staples or exhaust bricks to stable it on the skin of the soil. Then install a mild-weight layer mulch whenever you happen to’d purchase to disguise it.

A good way to protect new bulb plantings is to cover the area with chicken wire or plastic garden netting to prevent squirrels and chipmunks from digging.

A correct diagram to offer protection to unusual bulb plantings is to duvet the distance with chicken wire or plastic backyard netting to stop squirrels and chipmunks from digging. (RJ Carlson/Chicago Botanic Garden)

The wire or netting would perhaps perhaps be eliminated in spring sooner than the bulbs originate rising. Hen wire with 1-stoop openings will also be put over the bulbs underground after which covered with soil. This will deter squirrels from digging while permitting the bulbs to grow by the wire and flower in spring.

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Easy up the positioning whenever you might perhaps perhaps be finished planting, since any bulb particles — look after the papery tunics that would perhaps perhaps tumble off the bulbs — will appeal to squirrels. There are repellents on hand in backyard services and products that you will be in a region to dip the bulbs in sooner than planting, or treat the skin soil with repellent after planting for some potential immediate-time interval deterrence. Results have a tendency to be mixed with these solutions.

Steer stoop of using mothballs, since they’re toxic when ingested and can add pointless toxins to your soil. A lightweight layer of mulch will give the bulbs extra time to keep roots while serving to to discourage squirrels. Squirrels on occasion handiest dig a pair of inches under the soil surface, so plant your better bulbs look after tulips deeper to produce extra protection. Most forms would perhaps perhaps be planted 8 inches deep.

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Tulips and crocuses have a tendency to be favorites for animals to thrill in. Try planting bulbs much like daffodils, decorative onions, grape hyacinth, fritillaria, snowdrops, chilly weather aconite and Siberian squill that are extra proof against animals.

For extra plant advice, contact the Plant Knowledge Service at the Chicago Botanic Garden at Tim Johnson is senior director of horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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