Lilies forum: Do moles eat lily bulbs?

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Apr 19, 2015 8:39 PM CST
Just wondering because I planted a few and I noticed I have moles! (maybe voles? definitely squirrels) I guess if they eat them, I won't plant any more, because I have not been able to get rid of them as of yet.

Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
Apr 19, 2015 9:01 PM CST
Something eats them. Squirrels, moles, voles, mice... not sure. we planted a dozen pink salmon Asiatic lily bulbs that did great last year. this year? not one has come back. not even broken ground yet- which is odd because most other lilies are a foot tall already. I find it hard to believe all dozen were done in by cold winter temps...

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patweppler
Apr 20, 2015 4:38 AM CST
what I do is plant one fritillary in each of my flat beds...... this is what the nurseries use to stop the squirrels and other critters from taking their bulbs and it does wanders for the garden pests....
they are called a skunk bulb mostly.
you plant them on their side and they do stink but the come up with a nice flower in the springtime.......
I have done this for years in all my gardens...... never lost a crocus or anything
they also keep cats and dogs from using your flowers beds as a bathroom...........

they are not cheap to buy..........they might bloom the first year and not bloom after that but the bulbs keeps working underground for years and years.......

usually buy them in the fall but you might find them in the spring for sale too.........

you can check out the flower here on the plants site.....just search the name
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 20, 2015 7:15 AM CST
I gave up on tulips for the same reason. Every time I plant them, they never come up. None of them. I am sure critters are eating them so I quit wasting my money! I will look into the fritillary bulbs. Never heard of them I guess.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
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pardalinum
Apr 20, 2015 10:00 AM CST

Moderator

There are probably hundreds of different fritillarias but I suspect the one you are looking for is Fritillaria Imperialis:

https://www.google.com/search?q=fritillaria+imperialis&ie=ut...
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 20, 2015 10:11 AM CST
so will any variety work?

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Apr 20, 2015 5:20 PM CST
Fritillaria Imperialis

that is the only variety that worked for me..........
they bloom a rather neat flower here in the springtime along with the tulips and so on
I just planted mine as the focal part of my spring garden...........one to each flat bed

at my other place where I had them I had deer and rabbits by the 100's and lots of other critters..
voles and moles and all kinds of things....
they do a great job
here they run about 8.00 a bulb or so........

a friend at the nursery told me to get one..they use them all the time too........in the fields of daffs and tulips........

for me not to loose one crocus out of hundreds of them here even in the new place with one of these bulbs planted.......says a lot..
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Apr 20, 2015 6:13 PM CST
Moles general will not eat vegetative matter. They like insects, mollusks and worms. I can't personally attest to any animal deterrent qualities of Fritillaria imperialis, but I do have this experience:
Many years ago, I planted Fritillaria imperialis in the fall (not as an animal deterrent). The following spring, when they were up and growing, a mole tunneled directly over one of the bulbs and continued on - a straight line with no evidence of curiosity or deterrence. What the frit bulb might do for other pests, I have no idea.

Other fritillarias would definitely not work. In fact, some Frit species are very yummy to some animals. Frit species closely related to F. imperialis are not available to try or buy.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 21, 2015 11:02 AM CST
Smiling Don't confuse the two: Moles and Voles.

Ground moles (as they're commonly referred to) are the larger of the two with big front paws that resemble a baseball catcher's mitt. They're often associated with a raised tunnel meandering through a yard They are not vegetarians and won't eat bulbs or roots, as a rule. They travel through their tunnels at daybreak, noon and evening in search of trapped insects for food and will use the same tunnel over and over for days or even weeks as a means of obtaining their food. In a sense, they are more helpful than harmful. Voles, the much smaller of the two, are about the size of a large mouse, a large wedge shaped head, short neck and big shoulders made for barging ahead or thrusting through the soil to get at their food. They are vegetarians and prefer high starch content foodstuffs like bulbs and tubers. Most of the damage done by voles is done during the winter, invisibly under the cover of snow or mulch where the ground is not frozen. A good way to combat that is to wait for the ground to freeze at the surface before applying winter mulch.

Squirrels eat tulips, crocos and daffs, etc. and will often transplant some in the lawn. Chipmunks won't eat tulips but love crocos , stripped gophers will dig down under the plant and eat all of them from the bottom. Anything newly planted is a potential feast. The way I work around these little critters is to use chicken wire extensively. With larger tulip beds I lay chicken wire down a couple inches above the planted bulb level, then cover with another couple inches of soil. With newly planted lilies, I lay the chicken wire on top but rake a little soil over it to keep it in place until everything seems to have lost interest. Then I remove it and use it for rabbit fencing later.

One neat thing I do that works really well for small bulb flowers (but not lilies) is to cut the bottom out of '1 gallon' size or larger plastic pot, dig a nice round hole and place the pot about an inch or so below ground level. Then, fill the pot with soil to desired bulb level, place/space the bulbs around and cover them with desired amount of soil. Then, cut a circle of chicken wire somewhat larger than the pot so it can be folded down around the edge of the pot a couple inches. Then backfill the pot and wire all around the outside. You won't lose another bulb to squirrels, chipmunks or gophers. It even looks great to have a few pots planted at random throughout a lawn. The pot itself is hidden from view and it gives the appearance of an nice little clump of flowers blooming here and there. Smiling

springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 21, 2015 2:59 PM CST
I don't know what kind of critters I have, maybe a dozen or more of each Smiling

I also had a ground hog last summer. Neighbor trapped a opossum. Always something.

Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 21, 2015 4:09 PM CST
Well, possums won't bother lilies but the woodchuck's got to go! There's all kinds of critters we as gardeners experience in life and it all boils down to finding ways to cope with them. Most of the time that's not too difficult--just a little extra work here and there. Green Grin!

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Apr 21, 2015 6:38 PM CST
and then there is the Rabbit that loves the new shoots of the expensive martagons I planted.........
these are in pots and seen it checking out the large pot this morning.....
sent out a Labrador to keep an eye on the lily pots for a bit..hahaha
but I have since covered them..........for a bit....
the temps are cold here this week and they need to be covered

there are lots of critters here ........of all kinds

I had a coon that made this place his home last year..... he slept all day in the maple tree out of the front and ate all the fruit and seeds from the tulip tree during the night time. he never touched a thing anywhere else in the yard..........

I swear by the skunk bulbs for doing there thing though........
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 27, 2015 6:29 AM CST
Wondered if anyone has tried planting their bulbs in a plastic kiddie pool? I thought that would keep the moles out?

Celebrating Gardening: 2015
patweppler
Apr 27, 2015 7:04 AM CST
a raised lily bed maybe as well.........
a lot of them that are premade have some cool things that come with them to stop the critters from coming in......
if you search raised garden beds on Amazon there is one there that has a nice bed with a top that also turns into a green house.
they are a bit pricey but at the same time......so are the lily bulbs some of them
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 27, 2015 9:23 AM CST
I am not into pricey, so that is why I thought of the kiddie pool. I think I could surround it w rock and mulch over it so none of the plastic would show. I think drilling 3/8 hole all over the bottom would allow drainage? Maybe a couple bags of pea gravel at the bottom?
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Apr 27, 2015 10:59 AM CST
Frilly, I think that would be a good idea for amending a soil a certain way for species lilies!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 27, 2015 12:20 PM CST
Sounds like an idea, except there's only one problem: MOLES won't eat your lilies, not any part of them, neither the bulb nor the foliage. However, VOLES will, but they travel above ground on the surface, both winter and summer. VOLES generally attack lily bulbs in the winter by digging down through the old stem hole in search of baby stem bulblets and bulbs when their normal food supply is short. In the summer, when other food sources are abundant, they are seldom a major concern, although they will occasionally chew a budded stem off so they can get at the buds to eat. On the other hand, think of ground MOLES as somewhat of a friend; they aerate the soil a little with their underground tunnels and feed off underground insects, some of which can be harmful to your lilies.

Concerning your idea of using a pool with many drain holes, remember this: Regardless of how many drain holes you have, in the winter if they all freeze shut, you end up with a pool of mud that freezes and thaws--the ideal condition to end up with a bunch of rotten bulbs the following spring. Depending on your winter climate, this may be a major concern. Grumbling


springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 27, 2015 5:13 PM CST
well burst my bubble why don't ya! Hadn't thought of the drain holes freezing, yes you are right about that. Well as the ol' coyote used to say 'back to the drawing board!"

Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Apr 28, 2015 5:19 AM CST
So, if your in Missouri, your best vole protection in winter is to let the ground freeze hard on top before adding any winter mulch protection (probably just after Christmas). And then, really the only ones that would need winter protection would be your Trumpet types. Asiatics and Longiflorum Asiatics wouldn't need any winter protection at all.

Your idea with the pool was cute, but even so, chipmunks and gophers and bunnies would be jumping up in there anyway. The only sure way to keep those little critters out is by fencing with chicken wire or better yet, hardware clothe. You can see right through it and it's hardly noticeable when properly installed. It doesn't look bad, if that's what you might think.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Apr 28, 2015 6:12 AM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 28, 2015 5:41 AM CST
hmm. Might try that. Hadn't thought of it! Thank you all for the suggestions!

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