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How can I shield my backyard from squirrels? Specific Occasions

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I had an enormous downside with squirrels digging up my tulip bulbs final 12 months. Tulips are one among my favourite spring flowers, so I wish to attempt planting them once more this 12 months. What can I do to guard the bulbs?

Phil Nowicki, Morton Grove

Squirrels are a nuisance and frustration for a lot of gardeners when the animals dig up newly planted tulip and crocus bulbs. They’re drawn to the freshly dug earth after you plant your bulbs and could be tough to discourage. After they uncover the disturbed soil, they examine what’s buried there and find yourself discovering your bulbs versus a stash of nuts. The squirrels generally style the bulbs after which simply drop them someplace in your yard. Squirrels are much less prone to dig in a mattress that has different well-established crops like perennials in it. Usually, the squirrels simply dig up the bulbs the primary 12 months that they’re planted, so that you simply must get them by way of the primary fall. I’ve had issues with chipmunks digging up my crocus in subsequent years after planting them, so I made a decision to not plant crocus.

A great way to guard your new bulb planting is to cowl the realm with hen wire or plastic backyard netting to stop the squirrels from digging within the space. Stake the wire or netting in with panorama staples or use bricks to safe it on the floor of the soil. Then set up a light-weight layer of mulch if you wish to cover it. The wire or netting could be eliminated in spring earlier than the bulbs begin rising. The hen wire with 1-inch openings will also be put over the bulbs underground after which lined with soil. This may deter squirrels from digging whereas permitting the bulbs to develop by way of the wire and flower in spring.

Clear up the planting website when you’re completed planting, since any bulb particles (just like the papery tunics that fall off the bulbs) can appeal to squirrels and chipmunks. One choice is to dip bulbs in liquid repellents which can be obtainable in backyard facilities earlier than planting. I’ve additionally had success utilizing granular repellents unfold on high of the areas the place bulbs are planted. Unfold the repellent proper after planting. In most dwelling gardens, the place bulbs are blended in with different crops, it’s not sensible to cowl the soil floor with netting to guard the bulbs. Keep away from utilizing mothballs, since they’re poisonous when ingested and should add pointless toxins to your soil. A lightweight layer of mulch will give the bulbs extra time to ascertain roots and likewise helps to discourage squirrels. Usually, squirrels will solely dig a couple of inches beneath the soil floor, so plant bigger bulbs like tulips deeper to supply extra safety. Most varieties could be planted 8 inches deep.

Tulips and crocuses are usually favorites for animals to eat. Strive planting bulbs comparable to daffodils, decorative onions, grape hyacinth, fritillaria, snowdrops, and winter aconite which can be extra animal resistant each after planting within the fall and within the spring when progress begins.

For extra plant recommendation, contact the Plant Info Service on the Chicago Botanic Backyard at plantinfo@chicagobotanic.org. Tim Johnson is senior director of horticulture on the Chicago Botanic Backyard.


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