If the ground where you live is not completely frozen solid, you can still plant your spring bulbs. Bulbs need a chance to set roots before the ground freezes so that they can get a running start in the spring. One of the most aggravating thing about planting bulbs is going outside a day or two (sometimes an hour or two) later to find that the squirrels or chipmunks (or other garden-destroying rodent), has dug up all of your bulbs, taken a bite out of them and left them for dead. There are some things you can do to squirrel-proof your bulbs for the winter so that you can enjoy a lovely spring bulb garden.
Protecting your Spring Flowering Bulbs
- You can use ground red pepper to help protect your bulbs. If you are going to do this, it is probably worth the time to go to a wholesale store and get a very large container of pepper. When you plant the bulbs, liberally sprinkle ground red pepper in the hole, then put the bulb in the hole and sprinkle more red pepper over the bulbs. Squirrels might dig up a few bulbs, but they will stop after a few mouthfuls of pepper.
- Some people build little chicken-wire cages in which to plant their bulbs. This works by blocking squirrels and (large) chipmunks from the bulbs, but still allows the bulbs to sprout and grow through the cage. If you are planting a large area, this is not a very cost-effective method, and you will want to dig up the cage in the spring after the bulbs bloom. You should not use a chicken-wire cage if you are going to plant bulbs for naturalizing.
- Squirrel repellent is one of the best ways to keep squirrels from chomping away at your plants. You can use a combination of spray and granules when planting bulbs. Thoroughly spray bulbs with I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent, let dry and then plant as usual. You can mix some granular repellent in with the soil as you plant and finish with a sprinkling of repellent on the top of the soil when done.
Try some of these tried-and-true tested methods to keep the squirrels away from your bulbs, and get ready to welcome your beautiful spring flowers. (In about four months!)