The Q&A Archives: Animal Eating Tulip Buds

Question: Most of my tulip buds are being devoured by some animal -- sliced clean across just below the bud. Sometimes a bud is left on the ground, but most are totally gone. We feed birds and thus have many squirrels, but it has been suggested that perhaps a skunk or rabbit is the culprit, although we have seen no evidence remaining. Certain tulips have had their leaves savaged, perhaps in an attempt to dig for a bud? Is there anything that can be done to ensure tulip bloom?

Answer: Well, it could be as your friend suggested-rabbits. I doubt a skunk would do that. Usually they dig for grubs. Squirrels have been known to munch buds. You can obtain cat or dog hair from a groomer to spread around the plantings as a deterrent, or use a commercially produced predator urine (Burpee Seeds offers some -; ph# 800/888-1447).

The other possible culprit is the good old white tailed deer! There are ways to deter deer, but they aren't terribly successful unless it's a 6 foot fence (search our database for all the compiled suggestions). Personally, I have used Milorganite which is a fertilizer made from Milwaulkie sludge. It has no odor that humans can smell, is good for the garden and certainly repels deer. Since I started using it about 2 years ago, I've had no problem with deer in my perennial beds...and they walk right across my yard! It can be purchased at Home Depot as well as most Agway stores.

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