by Christian Harper, Horticulturist
Do your attempts to add spring beauty to your
garden with bulbs seem more like a nutritional supplement program
for the neighborhood squirrels? Not only squirrels, but also various
other critters stand poised to decimate your plantings this fall,
or even more disheartening, next spring when they emerge from their
winter's sleep. Instead of looking for chemical solutions, here are
a few easy, non-toxic ways to safeguard your bulb display.
had chronic problems with rodents, rabbits, or deer, stick with bulbs
that are unpalatable to them. Daffodils - their bulbs, leaves, and
flowers - are poisonous to animals and will generally be avoided
without so much as a nibble. Similarly, alliums, being a member of
the onion family, seem to repel most animals with their strong odor.
I've rarely seen damage to either of the beautiful blue bulbs of
early spring, Siberian squill (Scilla) or glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa).
Other bulbs that seem resistant to animal munching are snowdrops
(Galanthus), fritillaries (Fritillaria), and Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides
Tulips and crocus, on the other hand, seem
to be favorites, susceptible when first planted to squirrels and
chipmunks and at bloom time to rabbits and deer. Planting your bulbs
deep - six to eight inches for larger bulbs and four to six inches
for smaller bulbs, can minimize planting time problems. Most rodents
won't dig more than a few inches before they give up.
that's worked wonders at Olbrich is a liberal sprinkling of the lawn
fertilizer Milorganite scattered over the planting site. This granular
product is made from processed sewage sludge and its funky odor is
unappreciated by animals. A re-application in spring can help with
rabbits, but sometimes temporary fencing is the only surefire protection.
with many plants, we suggest that you plant bulbs abundantly, since
Mother Nature often demands that you share!
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