The Q&A Archives: Rodent damage

Question: This week I discovered a Stargazer Lily bulb had been dug up. also my small tomato plant had been dug up. Can squirrels be the cause? We have many in and around our yard. If so, what can I do to protect my plants?

Answer: Squirrels can be terrible pests! They won't bother daffodils and other narcissi bulbs (which taste terrible to them!), but they find lilies, tulips and crocus in particular to be worth the effort to sniff out and dig up.

The only sure-fire way to protect your tasty bulb treats from squirrels is to lay wire mesh such as chicken wire on top of the bed. The squirrels can't dig through the mesh and the flowers will grow neatly through the holes.

Bulbs are most vulnerable in fall immediately after planting when the soil is still soft and worked up. Digging then is easy! Squirrels often "chance" upon bulbs when burying their nuts in soft ground. Or they are attracted by "planting debris" such as bits of papery bulb tunics and other bulb-scented bits from the bulb bags. Don't advertise your plantingsclean up and keep those squirrels guessing!

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