The Q&A Archives: Digging in mulch

Question: I recently remulched my flower beds and planted bulbs. Since that time I have noticed something has been digging in the mulch and uprooting the bulbs, but not eating or taking them away. I figure it is either neighborhood cats using the area as a kitty litter or squirrels hiding their nuts. I have tried moth balls and black pepper but have not been able to get them to stop. Suggestions please?

Answer: Based on your description I am not certain what is happening. Although cats sometimes like to use a freshly mulched area they do not typically dig into the soil and certainly not deeply enough to expose bulbs planted at the correct depth. Squirrels might be the more likely culprit although they will usually steal the bulb and rebury it. Skunks sometimes dig holes, too. Either way, there are commercially formulated spray on repellants you can try (sold at garden centers) or you can cover the area with wire mesh until it freezes -- old window screens are great for this. Remove the wire in the spring when the bulbs begin to emerge.

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