Keeping Squirrels out of your Bulbs

It’s a question we hear every fall.  After spending time to plant some spring-flowering bulbs, squirrels are notorious for digging them back up again.  They don’t seem to bother daffodils and other narcissi bulbs but find the tulips and crocus particularly tasty!

Here are some natural ways to (hopefully) keep them at bay

Clean up after yourself – bulbs are the most vulnerable immediately after planting when the soil is still soft and worked up.  They may be attracted by the bits of papery bulb pieces and other bulb-scented bits.

Keep them guessing – after planting, cover the area over your bulbs and beds with 2” of fresh cedar bark mulch.  This may be enough to mask the smell of your bulbs

Stop the digging – lay wire mesh (1” chicken wire) over the beds and then cover with a layer of soil, compost or mulch.  The bulbs will have no problem growing through this next spring.  Immediately after planting, lay down old screens in frames until the ground settles and the squirrels move on, then remove them.  The screen weighs enough to slow the squirrels down but will still allow for air circulation and rainfall.

Don’t forget to fertilize – apply Pure Hen Manure by Acti-Sol.  This fertilizer is made from hen manure and is 100% natural.  It is in a granular form and is easy to use by just sprinkling it on your gardens.  Hen manure increases the quantity of organic matter in the soil, improves biological activity and water retention.  It has been known to keep the squirrels away!

Some say yes, some say no – home remedies including cayenne pepper or moth-ball flakes work for some and not for others.  Be sure to re-apply during wet weather to keep it effective.  It’s worth a try!

If you can’t beat them – If you have a persistent squirrel population, you may want to reduce the temptation for them and modify your plantings to only include daffodils, Allium and Fritillaria.  Some choose to actually feed the squirrels with peanuts during the fall and winter.  This suggestion is to keep them well-fed, they might actually leave the bulbs alone!

What works for you?