Tenacious bulb eaters

Tue. Oct. 17, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Tenacious bulb eaters

You were captivated by all those magazines with beautiful spring lawns filled with crocuses, daffodils and hyacinth.  You saw your gardens teeming with tulip color.  You plotted the area out and planted with abandon.  Then the squirrels showed up, those tenacious little bulb eaters.  ARG.


People have discussed ideas about what to do for as long as we’ve planted bulbs.  The best method so far is to sink chicken wire into the ground around your bulb bed and then cover the area with more chicken wire and mulch it.  REMOVE the wire when they start to grow…. then watch for rabbits!

That idea is great if you have a small permanent bed but rather impractical for many of us who like to pop them in here and there.  Other gardeners say that just laying the chicken wire on top along with mulching the area works for them.  I would lay down straw mulch over this to remind me that there’s chicken wire underneath.

Some folks say their dog keeps the squirrels away.  Good dog, mine chases them and has even caught a couple but it’s still not enough!  They are persistent little creatures and will eat even bulbs that they’re NOT supposed to like, such as grape hyacinth and daffodils.

However, they’re not big on onions, so Alliums are a good choice, as are Pinkbells, Squill and Summer Snowflake.

blue squill
Summer snowflake

There’s a product called Tree Guard that you can spray your bulbs with before you plant.  It’s main ingredient is called Bitrex and is quite bitter tasting to animals.  It’s safe for the environment and contains latex which makes it stick to the bulb.

I thought I’d share some pretty bulbs for a large planting I found from White Flower Farm.