Bulbs forum: Can't justify planting Crocus anymore...sigh

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
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UrbanWild
Mar 14, 2018 9:15 PM CST

Grumbling

For 2 years squirrels have decimated the well over 1400 crocus I planted in varous beds arond the yard. I like most of them but have 1 or 2 that do bad things. Anyway, to combat the damage last year and this year, I used old coffee grounds, hot pepper flakes, powdered garlic, and ground hot peppers. I also bribed them with all the sunflower, corn, and peanuts they could eat. They still go for Crocus like cats on catnip. So, moving forward, I just can't justify continuing to plant Crocus. There are several natives I hope to use instead if I can find them. I will still look for nonnatives but only those that really draw early pollinators...and don't seem all that attractive to squirrels!!!
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
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Bonehead
Mar 14, 2018 9:18 PM CST
Some battles are not worth it. I would focus on natives, makes better sense to me.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
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William
Mar 15, 2018 3:01 AM CST
Sorry to hear that UrbanWild. Sad Over the years I have had to give up on growing many plants and bulbs because of problems with animals, pests and diseases, so I know how disappointing it can be. Lost many crocus too for various reasons, but never all of them.

Don't believe our native red squirrels dig bulbs so haven't tried it myself, but I think I read that someone on this forum had good success with using crushed oyster shells to protect bulbs from being dug, maybe its worth a try(on a very small scale). However, I do agree with Deb's comment, better to grow what thrives for you.

I think it is very valuable to have a good mix of species to spreads the risks around a bit. Better to add a few bulbs every year (even better to divide your own bulbs!!!) to see what really works. I still remember the disappointment I felt when buying Daffodils in larger quantities only to discover that I had a problem with the narcissus bulb fly D'Oh! and almost all the bulbs were killed. Now I only have very few and the bulb fly needs to be hunted and the bulbs dug up or grown in pots and inspected for larvae every year. Needless to say I have very few daffodils now...

I had deer kill all of my tulips, but now have a good spray so grow them again... but will always remember that it might not work for ever.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
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CarolineScott
Mar 16, 2018 6:33 AM CST
Last spring I was very disappointed with my bulb plantings from the fall before. I was pleased that I had outwitted the squirrels by using cayenne and covering the plantings with plastic web trays. A family of voles moved in, and they attacked the plantings from below ! I have heard that castor oil might deter them, but it needs to be the unrefined Castor oil which has an oder to it.

I did not plant many bulbs last fall, and won't this fall either.
The fall of 2019 , I will do a really good planting of bulbs so I can enjoy them in my 80 th spring ! But only if I can get the castor oil for the voles. Bulbs are expensive too !
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Mar 17, 2018 2:18 PM (+)]
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Sweden
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William
Mar 16, 2018 7:47 AM CST
I hate voles Grumbling . I have however not seen much - if any - damage to bulbs from voles since I managed to trap all moles in my garden. The voles I have here love to travel in the mole runs and attack bulbs from below. Now they cannot do that anymore. Hurray!
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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crawgarden
Mar 16, 2018 8:52 AM CST
I have found if I incorporate pea gravel with my plants the voles do not seem to bother them.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Mar 19, 2018 4:40 AM CST
Have you tried any Crocus tommasinianus varieties? I'm finding rodents don't bother them very often.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Mar 21, 2018 9:32 AM CST
I planted 600 Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant' in December. They have started to pop but don't yet have an idea of survivorship. Oddly enough, the squirrels don't seem to be bothering any of the yellow crocus planted during the the last two winters.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Christie
43016 (Zone 6b)
Plays in the water.
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cwhitt
Mar 26, 2018 6:39 AM CST
My squirrels dug them up, took one bite out of each bulb (just enough to kill them) and then left the remains right by the walkway for me to see. Grumbling I have moved on to hyacinths.
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sallysmom
Apr 1, 2018 5:43 AM CST
For the first time ever, I watched out the dining room window & saw squirrels dig mine up. I was so angry because they have never done that. My husband bought Critter Ridder which we have used in the past but this time even with sprinkling it heavily, it didn't seem to work. Next fall, I think I will put some screen over the bulbs or maybe I will just not plant them at all. It isn't worth doing a lot when I usually just plant the really cheap ones in the back. I do have Tommies that we planted in wire cages but the voles will get those if they can.

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