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Squirrels and bulbs

(12 Posts)
Thecazelets Wed 21-Sep-16 17:06:09

Am thinking about bulb planting soon. Mainly alliums and tulips. Last year my bulbs were a failure as most of them were dug up by squirrels. Every time I looked out of the window a squirrel seemed to scamper past with one of my bulbs in its mouth. Where did I go wrong? Too shallow? Too early/late? (planted in the last week of Oct). Only been in the house a year and inherited a completely bare garden, so wd love to see things come up this time! Any tips gratefully received!

shovetheholly Wed 21-Sep-16 17:14:00

I have lots of squirrels too, I feel your pain!

I do a number of things

- I put out fat balls for them once I'm planting bulbs, which seems to distract them from stealing my lovely garden. You can buy big boxes for a few quid in Poundland etc. I just leave them on the lawn. Like most other critters, they seem to take readily available food in preference to digging.

- I bury bulbs a tiny bit deeper than suggested (by a centimetre or two). Things like alliums can go in really quite deep - use a tape measure as the large ones can go in 6 inches, and that's more than you think.

- For really valuable stuff, I make cages out of chicken wire and bury them a few inches down then wire on a lid. They look odd for a bit but can be pulled up once the bulbs are through. Will try to take a picture. When you've spent ££ on an expensive bulb, you do NOT want it becoming a squirrel dinner!

Thecazelets Wed 21-Sep-16 17:18:24

Thank you - will definitely give those a go - I've seen the fatballs in PL. I bought some chicken wire in preparation last week but wasn't quite sure how to use it - a pic wd be great if you get a chance!

Squeegle Wed 21-Sep-16 17:20:48

Those pesky squirrels get everywhere

shovetheholly Wed 21-Sep-16 17:26:30

Here is my bulb cage for my precious Cedric Morris daffs (gollum, gollum).

shovetheholly Wed 21-Sep-16 17:28:26

It is a totally amateur job. The sides go down under the earth by about 6 inches, and the top is just wired on. When they are through and cracking on, I will gently lift it off.

Thecazelets Wed 21-Sep-16 17:31:20

That is such a brilliant idea! I'm going to have a go at something similar this weekend!

shovetheholly Wed 21-Sep-16 17:37:30

I hope you'll not need it for all bulbs! (You'll be there for hours with the chicken wire!!) But might be useful for the ones that don't like to be planted deep and are therefore vulnerable to the squirrels.

Alternatively, you could adopt a pine marten. grin I read an interesting thing - apparently where these are in the ecosystem, the red squirrel population starts to recover. And the reason is that they are smaller and can get to the end of twigs where the fat grey squirrels can't go and the pine martens definitely can't. So the pine martens tend to catch and eat the greys and not the reds.

Thecazelets Wed 21-Sep-16 17:42:03

Tempting....! (We are close to a very large royal park though so suspect I'd need more than one!)

shovetheholly Wed 21-Sep-16 17:43:46

I'm pretty sure red pandas would eat them too. I also have bamboo in my garden. It's win, win.

Thecazelets Wed 21-Sep-16 19:16:13


Qwebec Thu 22-Sep-16 01:15:46

I've been told that squirrels only seriously crave crocus and tulip bulbs. I live in squirrel land and it seems to be true. Daffodils and muscaris are left alone. I gave up on crocus, but there is a fool proof tip for tulips.

Pland them 30cm deep. The squirrels try and try to dig them up ( I have holes all over them in the fall) but soon give up because it is too deep for them. In addition, many local gardeners say that the bulbs last longuer like this.

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