The Q&A Archives: Pests Eating Bulbs

Question: I planted bulbs a few weeks ago. I now see that the tulip bulbs have been dug up and a few are left half eaten laying around. I did have a ground hog living in the area. Would it have eaten the bulbs or would it have been squirrels. How can I prevent them digging up the bulbs and having them for dinner.

Answer: It can be difficult to protect bulbs from hungry critters. Squirrels definitely love to eat tulip bulbs! You can try to protect them by planting them deeply and watering them in well, then covering the area with wire mesh such as hardware cloth or an old window screeen. Some people claim success by dipping them in a rodent repellent just prior to planting. Other gardeners devise wire mesh baskets and plant the bulbs in those. Still others have had success using an animal repellent sprayed on the surface of the ground and repeated according to the label instructions. Unfortunately, in my experience a heavy squirrel or rodent population can decimate bulb plantings so I plant daffodils instead because they don't eat those.

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