A Tutorial on Growing Lilies: Any suggestions to prevent moles or voles from eating the bulbs?

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A Tutorial on Growing Lilies

By magnolialover
July 19, 2013

You have decided you need liliums in your garden. It has happened to many of us! Lily growing is not difficult and is very rewarding.

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Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
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BookerC1
Jul 19, 2013 2:08 PM CST
I had many beautiful lilies, and seem to have been invaded by some digging rodents. I found holes and burrows near all my liles, and most did not emerge this year. I'm heartbroken to have lost them, particularly a beautiful, tall Silk Road that used to bloom beside my front door. I've planted daffodils all around the bulbs, but this didn't deter the little burrowers. Ideas? Confused
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Jul 21, 2013 7:49 PM CST
You know, there are traps, bait, cages to plant your lilies in underground. But one thing that we have found that works better than all of that, is a couple of friendlier feral cats. They keep the rodent population at bay. We just provide them with food daily and shelter from the harsh winter outdoors.
Tracey
Name: Angie
Mackinaw, IL (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Region: Illinois
Irises Bulbs Daylilies Lilies Herbs Clematis
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BookerC1
Jul 22, 2013 11:19 AM CST
We had three feral cats living in our shed, a mama and two of her offspring, but our town decided there were getting to be too many, and trapped and killed them. A neighbor had even trapped and taken many to the vet to get vaccinated and fixed, and then re-released them with ear notches to indicate they'd been "taken care of," but now they're all gone. Now we've got a booming population of rabbits, mice, and burrowing rodents again. Sad My beagle tries to dig them out of their burrows whenever she can, but she's never actually caught one, and she does make a royal mess digging in my flower beds.

Name: Meredith
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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Meredith79
Oct 24, 2015 7:08 AM CST
I lost a clump of lilies last winter to rodents.. My outdoor cat is getting up there in age and doesn't seem interested in being outside and catching things anymore.. I plan on using bulb cages like these... http://www.instructables.com/id/Gardeners-underground-bulb-c...
[Last edited by Meredith79 - Oct 24, 2015 7:10 AM (+)]
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Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Sep 18, 2016 7:17 PM CST
I like a good cage too. I don't trust the lightweight chicken wire bulb cages found at garden centers—I don't think they'd hold off a determined Western Pocket Gopher too long. I've had those things follow Dyckia roots out of the ground and chew their way up into plastic nursery pots.

I prefer cold-dipped galvanized 1/2" hardware cloth as protection from all sorts of critters, whether it's birds and squirrels tearing into flats of seedlings or gophers eating bulbs in the ground. Cold-dipped galvanizing is the type with the dull, rough finish, and is much thicker than hot-dip galvanizing, which is thin and shiny. You might have to go to an old-timey hardware store or a farm supply to find it.

The cages I make for lilies are approximately 12" to 14" in diameter and 12" deep, so they can go for a few years without dividing or replanting. Fabrication is simple, cut the wire to size, wrap it into a tube shape, wire it closed, cut a bottom piece and wire that in place. Sometimes I use the free ends of the cut hardware cloth to weave the pieces together.

The disadvantage to all this is that a large hole has to be dug, but it's worth it, because to a gopher, Lilium is probably the tastiest thing you can plant.

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