Newly Planted Bulbs Need Protection from Hungry Rodents
Although Bugs Bunny and Chip and Dale may be funny in the cartoons, real-life animals can be maddening to gardeners, sometimes digging up or chewing up new plantings before the job is even done.
Many bulbs are particularly tasty and they are planted at just the time the rascally rodents are fattening up for the winter.
So, what is the frustrated gardener to do? Following are some suggestions to try.
To prevent squirrels and chipmunks from digging up new plantings, try creating a physical barrier. Place individual bulbs or clumps of bulbs in a "basket" made of chicken wire before planting. If planting large numbers of bulbs in trenches, lay the chicken wire at the bottom of the trench, place the bulbs as desired and then add a second layer of wire on top and fill in with soil as usual. Although this is a rather labor intensive process, it is probably the most effective way to keep rodents out of bulb beds.
Another option is to try a repellent. Repellents may be commercially produced or homemade, and they are designed to repel animals with an unpleasant smell or taste.
A variety of commercial products are available in garden centers and through mail order catalogs. Homemade repellents can be concocted of materials such as hot pepper flakes or pepper solutions, human or pet hair, blood meal, mothballs and rotting eggs.
These products vary in effectiveness. Liquid or granular products tend to wash away after precipitation and must be reapplied frequently in order to remain effective. Some bulbs with strong odor - fritillaria or garlic, for example - act as rodent repellents when planted among tulips, crocus or other tasty bulbs. …