Bulbs – Protection from Squirrels

Q: I’m on a big gardening kick this year and I want to plants lots of bulbs. People tell me that squirrels will dig them up if I don’t protect them the first year. How should I do this?

A: Indeed, squirrels can be pretty pesky in fall. They dig some bulbs and eat them but in other cases, they bury their nuts where the earth is soft and leave the bulbs on the soil=s surface. If you are planting a defined area with bulbs, the best way to protect them is to plant the bulbs normally but then cover the bed with a layer of chicken wire. Cover the wire with pine straw and no passerby will be the wiser. Squirrel dentist bills will be quite high, however.

If you are planting the bulbs among already-established perennial plant, the situation is tougher. You could place a square of chicken wire above each bulb but that could become laborious.

A couple of avid gardeners have told me that they protect their bulbs by pouring a half-cup of Perma-till in each hole they dig for bulbs. Perma-till is a gritty permanent soil amendment sold at local nurseries. Presumably the squirrels are once again thwarted by the prospect of dental damage.

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