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Bulb Barriers




This article was found in Gardening How To and we thought it was important information and should be passed along.

There's something wonderful about planting bulbs.  No matter how cold it is outside, you get a taste of spring when you kneel in the dirt to settle your future flowers into their new homes.  You can already visualize your hard work paying off in a neighbor-stopping show of flowers after months of winter brown.

Too bad our spring dreams are so often spoiled by hungry critters.  Animals can detect fresh bulbs in the ground, and they'll head over to your newly dug beds for a tasty snack as soon as you go inside for a cup of coffee.

Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to protect your bulbs.  Here are a few tips that are both effective and nontoxic - they won't harm humans, pets, or wildlife
.
The easiest way to keep squirrels, deer, mice, and other creatures from eating your bulbs is to plant bulbs they don't like.  Animals love the taste of tulips and crocuses far more than any other bulbs.  Others, like daffodils, alliums, and fritillaries, taste or smell so awful that critters leave them alone.
The bad news is, of course, that you'd have to go without tulips and crocuses to be truly safe from critters.  And for a lot of gardeners, spring just isn't spring without these two beauties.  If you're in this category, don't worry - you can still plant your favorites.   You'll need to rig up a barriers to keep pests from digging up your bulbs.

Once you've placed the bulbs, spread a length of chicken wire over the top of them, tucking the edges into the soil.  Then cover everything with soil just like you normally would.  The wire won't be visible, and the bulbs will easily send up shoots thought the spaces in the wire.  Be sure to get rid of all your planting debris, especially any leftover bulb tunics, which smell good and will attract squirrels like crazy.

A less tidy but equally effective strategy is to lay old window screens on top of your newly planted bulb beds.  The screens are too heavy for squirrels to move and too difficult to dig through.  But they allow for good air circulation and rainfall.  Remove the screens after three or four weeks, when the new-bulb smell has dissipated and the ground has settled.

Don't have screens?  For smaller areas, use boards or pot bases weighted down with rocks to cover beds until curious squirrels have moved on to other things.
Some gardeners skid barriers altogether and give their bulbs a protective suit of armor by dipping them in solutions like Bulb Guard and Propel.  These products make bulbs taste and smell bad so that so that a wide range of critters, including squirrels, gophers, and voles, will leave the alone.
Keep fall foraging squirrels away from bulbs by giving them other things to munch on.  Feeders that offer peanuts or dried corn are a good choice.
If you love tulips and don't want to worry about whether squirrels will devour your bulbs, try purchasing potted, pre-grown tulips in the spring.  They are available at garden center once the weather warms up, these tulips will likely be safe from squirrels, who forage much less in spring than fall.  Once they're in the ground, treat them like you would any other tulip in your garden.


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