One of the annual fall traditions at our house is planting new flower bulbs every fall. It’s one of our activities on our fall to-do list for getting the yard ready for winter. We rake the leaves, we unplug and drain the hoses, clean up the property and plant bulbs to enjoy in the spring.
Everyone loves seeing those spring flowers pop up after a long winter. But before it gets to that point, they need to survive those darn squirrels in the fall.
The squirrels seem to think we’re hiding meals for them in our yard. They will happily dig up tulip bulbs and eat them or carry them away.
In this post, we list tips on how to keep those pesky squirrels from eating your flower bulbs.
Use chicken wire mesh
One of the most effective methods is to use wide wire mesh as a screen by burying your flower bulbs below it. You can use chicken wire from the hardware store, lay it directly on top of your flower bed, and extend the edges away from your plantings and then stake it down. You can place another layer of much over the mesh so it’s not visible.
This will prevent squirrels from digging through down to where your bulbs are. By using a wide mesh, there will still be room for the flower shoots to grow through the openings. Some people choose to pull the mesh up in the spring. It should work either way.
Related: What animal is digging in my garden?
Plant bulbs deep enough and clean up debris
Make sure you aren’t leaving your bulbs too close to the surface where they are easier to find. Plant your tulip bulbs three times deeper than the height of the bulbs. When you are done planting your bulbs, clean up all debris, especially bulb husks and bad bulbs. Flower bulb debris attracts squirrels who may start sniffing and digging out the bulbs you just planted.
Add layer of sharp gravel
When you are planting bulbs, add a layer of sharp edge gravel or grit around and above them when planting. You can find it in home improvement stores because it is often used to provide drainage under patio pavers. Most squirrels and chipmunks do not like to dig through sharp debris and it will deter them going after your flower bulbs.
Use squirrel repellents
People report varying levels of success using natural repellents to deter squirrels. Many of them will need to be reapplied regularly because they will wear away naturally, especially with rain. A natural repellent that some people use is red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
Set up a squirrel feeding station
Some gardeners have had luck with offering an alternative food source to squirrels. The idea is that you set up a feeding station for them in a part of your yard far away from your bulbs so that it attracts the squirrels to there. It has worked for some people but others say all it did was attract more squirrels.
Related: How to get rid of squirrels
Plant bulbs squirrels don’t eat
Squirrels love tulip bulbs but they will leave daffodil bulbs alone. It might be easier for you to just plant bulbs that squirrels don’t want to eat.
Flower bulbs squirrels don’t like
- Muscari (grape hyacinth)
- Siberian Iris
We hope these tips can help protect your spring flowers!