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How to Plant Wildflowers
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by Suzanne DeJohn
Pesky, hungry squirrels love devouring your garden, bulbs and all! Read on for our best tips in keeping them away from your favorite plants.
Although their antics are fun to watch, squirrels can be a real nuisance when they dig up your newly planted bulbs. The simplest way to prevent problems is to plant bulbs they don't like to eat. Here are some of the bulbs found to be distasteful to squirrels:
Pink Charm Large Cupped Daffodil has been a rosy standard in the Daffodil world for many years. Its large-cupped, 3-4” flowers are pure white with a deep pink cup and lighter pink...
Cassata Daffodil is best described as delicate, yet, its large flowers make an even larger statement in the landscape. A mid-season bloomer, ‘Cassata’ is a split-corona daffodil ...
Dutch Master or King Alfred Improved has been America's favorite daffodil for decades. It's great for naturalizing and creates the perfect early burst of classic yellow color. (Narci...
A mix of the best and longest blooming daffodils. You'll just love all the colors. Ideal for mass plantings and excellent for naturalizing. (Narcissus)...
Plant tulips and crocus, on the other hand, and you're putting out the equivalent of catnip for your cat (or chocolate for me). That doesn't mean you can't enjoy these beauties, it just means you have to outsmart the squirrels. There are two ways to approach this: place a barrier between the bulbs and the squirrels, or use a deterrent — something the squirrels avoid.
There are a number of repellent sprays on the market that may help deter squirrels, with mixed reviews on how effective they are. You may need to reapply them frequently, especially after a rain.
Avoid sprinkling ground hot pepper around planting beds. The powder can get into the eyes of animals and cause them excruciating pain.
If you want to try hot pepper, the Humane Society recommends using a hot pepper wax spray, which adheres to plants and is less likely to get into animals' eyes. And avoid using mothballs; they're toxic when ingested and may add unnecessary toxins to your soil.
Some gardeners go so far as to dig out the entire planting bed, line it with chicken wire, plant the bulbs and then wrap the chicken wire up the sides and over the top of the bed. The squirrels can't dig through the wire mesh but the bulbs can easily grow through the holes.
Hyacinth & Daffodil Early Spring Delight Mix
Hardware cloth lines the bottom of this raised bed, and is folded and secured up the outside edges. Unlike chicken wire, hardware cloth has much tighter openings that smaller rodents can't squeeze through! You can find it at home improvement stores in 10 and 25 ft' coils. Chicken wire, however, is the smarter choice for covering your plantings, as it will allow your bulbs to sprout and emerge through the holes.
Squirrels are particularly attracted to newly planted bulbs — when the diggin' is easy! Covering the planting area for the first month or two after planting may be enough to let the soil settle and trick the squirrels. You can cover it with anything squirrels can't dig through but rain can permeate, like chicken wire, hardware cloth or window screens. Planting bulbs later in the fall, after the squirrels have done most of their food cacheing, may prevent some loss of bulbs, too.
Instead of planting a solid bed of tulips and crocus, you can try interplanting with some of the bulbs mentioned above that are usually avoided by squirrels. That may offer some measure of protection.
Ideally, you want squirrels to make their meals away from the garden. This may require some trickiness on your part!
Hopefully, these techniques will help you foil foraging squirrels this fall, so you can enjoy colorful blooms next spring.
This stunning collection includes varieties of purple tulips, all with different hues that will bloom from early to late spring. Try planting big displays so your garden remains colo...
This delightful collection includes varieties of pink tulips, all with different shades that will bloom from early to late spring. Try planting big displays so your garden remains co...
This bright collection includes varieties of red tulips, all with different shades that will bloom from early to late spring. Try planting big displays so your garden remains colorfu...
Tecolote White Ranunculus produce full, rose-like blooms with double petals and straight stems, making them perfect for cut flower arrangements and wedding bouquets. Tolerating both ...