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more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

Posted by yvette_adams z5 Quebec ( on
Mon, Mar 29, 10 at 17:51

I never gave this subject much thought till I moved to a rural area last year, and did my ritual bulb plant in the fall.

Day after day, the little fellas watched me from the trees and as soon as I retreated to my warm kitchen, dug up every single bulb I put down!

After the first day, when I saw what was happening, I asked a friend and was advised to cover the bulbs good with cayenne pepper.

It was definitely worst the following day! I think they thought I was seasoning the bulbs for them.

Then I heard about old human hair trick, but perhaps I did it wrong. Because on the third day, I tried that , raiding my family's hair brushes and even giving myself bangs to get a bit more hair. I laid the hair on top of where I had planted the bulbs, and patted it down with some damp soil. They considered this a personal invitation. A day or two later, most of the hair had blown away, and once again, my garden had been ravaged.

More than 40 rather expensive tulip bulbs were pinched, as well as 115 crocus bulbs (they left me 5!)

Now for next year, I am wondering if I should get tons of hair from the hairdresser, and perhaps plant it down deep around the bulbs. Does anyone know if that will work? I've also heard of a product called "Repel All". Does that work? And finally, my mother-in-law has a recipe that is a mix of Murphy's Oil soap, Tabasco, Cayenne pepper and water, that she has heard will work.

Also I have read here about chicken wire, but I don't really understand what should be done with it. Anybody know which, if any of these ideas is worth investing in?

Thanks in advance, to any one who replies....Yvette

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

I used a trick I learned from an arboretum in PA.
When planting my bulbs, I sprikle baby powder or talcum powder in the hole . I've not had problems with having bulbs dug up after this method.

When using powder, make certain not to inhale it! It is harmful.

RE: more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

That's one I had not heard before, and it sounds cheaper and less trouble than the other remedies. Thanks Carol.

Here's two other suggestions I have had:
1)forget about crocuses. They are Mr. Squirrel's favourite, and he will find them no matter what.
2)do the bulb planting as close to the first snowfall as possible. I don't know if that would help, though.

RE: more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

The chicken wire (make sure it's a type with really small holes) is staked down over the whole flowerbed as soon as bulbs are planted. You can either leave it there permanently (especially with small bulbs like crocuses) or remove it when the bulbs sprout.

RE: more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

Thanks Sunandshadow for your interest in this problem.
I don't see how I could put chicken wire over the whole beds, since there are plenty of perennials in these beds as well.
Unless I used the chicken wire in small pieces? would that work? and also, what would you recommend for a stake with this method?

RE: more on squirrels (or as DH calls them 'tree rats'!)

I don't think putting them in small pieces would keep the squirrels out. Chicken wire is intended to be put down when 'building' a flowerbed from scratch. You can clip holes in it if you want to put a larger plant here and there, but the more holes there are, the more squirrel entry points there are. Standard stakes used are landscaping staples (a big piece of metal bent in a U).

If you want to put just a bulb here and there, bulb cages might be more what you are looking for. This is a chicken wire container about the size of a drinking glass, a tulip bulb is place inside then the whole container is planted. For crocuses you could use a sideways tube or box and put a row of 3 or 4 crocus bulbs in it.

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