chipmunk,squirrels or both

PattyK(z5 MA)October 5, 2005

I am so mad I never had this problem...I justed planted about 20 tulip bulbs the other day well when i looked out today i found all of the bulbs up above the ground ..6 inches of dirt all over..could it be chipmunks squirrels or both..I seen both a chipmunk and squirrel this morning running through the garden

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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Trap the buggers! They did that to my newly planted bulbs last fall and dug out new shoots this spring. I am planting a lot of bulbs right now and I am ready this time: following advices here, I bought several bags of blood meal. After planting a patch, before closing shop for the day, I spread bloodmeal all over the planting area. So far, knock on wood --- or on the head of those tree rats, not a one has been disturbed. Try that.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 4:01PM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

I saw on TV a tip to repel squirrels. Put a tsp of peppermint oil (not peppermint extract) in a spray bottle and spray it around the area you want to protect from squirrels. I presume it works for chipmunks, too. You get the oil at a health food store.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 8:17PM
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PattyK(z5 MA)

after talking to a few people they think it could also be skunks,because it is happening at night--also i put bone meal in the hole and i read where that smell can attract these pests and learn..I replanted them all and hoping they leave alone..will see tonite..

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 4:49PM
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My cats love blood meal. I have to hide it in a closet so they can't get to it.

Wonder if you could lay some fencing (like chicken wire) over the top and hold it down with bricks, if that would keep them from digging up the bulbs? Just a thought. I know you can plant the bulbs in wire baskets to keep the squirrels, moles, whatever from eating the bulbs, but who wants to buy a bunch of baskets to plant your bulbs in? Not me - and they're expensive.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 8:19PM
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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

I have another trick to keep the squirrels from digging up bulbs. After planting, I lay down wood boards, plywood or leftover strips of siding over the beds and put stones to hold them down. (Loks terible but I don't care) I suppose landscape fabric would work as well. Once the ground is frozen, and they can't dig, I remove the boards. The next challenge is in the Spring - keeping them from chomping the flower stems. Hot pepper wax spray works for me. I hate squirrels!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 8:47PM
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Soak your bulbs in Ropel, let them dry, then plant. I guarantee you the squirrels will not dig them up. One whiff of Ropel and they will go away.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:57PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

How long do you soak your bulbs in Ropel? A gardening coach told me about Ropel and I do have some of that spray. Where do you let them dry to keep the critters from bothering them while they are drying?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 9:58AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

JerseyGirl..Your source of hot pepper wax?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 10:00AM
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The squirrels in my area are pretty crazy. I put stuff in the ground, they dig it out. I am pretty sure that it's not skunks. Skunks dig in the ground for grubs, not bulbs.

Here's what I tried so far:

1. Use hot pepper.

At my local grocery store, I can buy bags of red cayenne pepper in bulk. When I buried the bulbs with couple of tablespoon of cayenne. Just to be on the safe side,I sprinkle some on top of the soil.

Result: roughly 50% effective. Squirrels still dig up the bulbs, but at a reduced rate.

2. Ropel

Ropel is a liquid that doesn't actually smell that bad, but supposedly is terrible in smell and taste to animals. I breathed in some by accident when I spray and did notice that it was nasty. Any way, Ropel is also systemic so that it soaks into the plant. Don't use it on your vegetables or you'll wonder why everyone is retching at the dinner table.

I use an empty yogurt container and filled it with bulbs, then pour in the Ropel. The instruction said to soak 1 minute, but I did 5 min just in case :-). Use a dishwashing gloves (not the one you are using to wash dishes) to pull out the bulb and lay it on some newspaper to dry. Buried the bulbs and spray some on top just in case.

Result: $#@$#@, a few bulbs were still digged up, there's just no stopping the buggers. It was still an improvement over the pepper.

Next time, I may also lay some chicken wire on top.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 1:15PM
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I know it's frustrating when our hard work is dug up and destroyed, but *please* don't use cayenne pepper or any other pepper powder. The squirrells are only trying to eat, and they end up with the burning pepper in their eyes and have been known to scratch their eyes out trying to stop the burning.

Throw some daffodil bulbs in there, it helps, and I'm going to pick up some of Blueheron's recommended peppermint oil tomorrow (if I can move from plainting 265 bulbs - might need more A535 by then!).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 12:03AM
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I guess there is a danger of that, but most of the time I see them just eating the stuff with cayenne and all. i think the chicken wire idea will be the best bet. Once it's starts growing, they won't dig it up.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 1:25PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I'm posting a link to my thread from a couple of years back, on what proved the solution for me. I tried soaks in Ropel, I tried pepper, I tried everything. My squirrels are demons. They even ate daffodils. Nothing worked until the wire mesh. It's really easy to use. I put bark mulch over the top, so you never even see it's there. I use the same mesh every year now. I just pull it up in the spring right after things start sprouting. If they are small bulbs, you don't have to: but certainly I pull it up for tulips, as the leaves won't fit through the holes. I have it cut in various sizes like 12" x 12", 6" x 12", etc. The criiters forget what is under there, so for the second year of each bulb, you don't need anything to protect it.

Here is a link that might be useful: It worked! Wire mesh

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 8:23PM
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