Thinking about planting some bulbs but hesitating because pesky critters dig them up for a snack? Well plant one on me I say……don’t be afraid to make a fall investment in your “hort-folio” with these simple pointers. Spring flowering bulbs are a self-contained package of spring color……easy to grow in well drained soil. The problem is they are a prized snack for pesky predators preparing for cold weather. First remember that when you dig up the soil to plant your bulbs it will make critters curious about what is going on. They figure you planted the delicious bulbs to help them fatten up for winter! I feel the 4 best ways to attack the problem are:
1) Plant some bulbs throughout your display that are distasteful to critters both in bulb form and when they emerge in spring. Best choices are Alliums and Fritillaria (pictured in orange above). The best bulbs to discourage foliage and flower grazing by deer and others would be Allium, Fritillaria, Daffodils and Dutch Iris. If you have heavy deer pressure you may want to avoid Tulips, they are like candy to deer. Reference “Deerly Departed” above on my home page for a link to a deer resistant plant list.
2) When you plant, dig the hole or trench and place chicken wire in the base of the hole. Position the bulbs, fill with some soil and then fold the chicken wire over the top filling in the rest of the hole with soil. The bulbs will grow through the chicken wire and the wire will keep out digging rodents.
3) Digging of soil will make hungry investigators curious. Keep some old screen windows around that you can throw on top of the loosened soil. Those cute chipmunks can’t help but think you loosened the soil just to make digging easier for them! Keep Alvin out by discouraging them with screening over the top which will still allow fall rains to moisten the soil. Pull the screens when the ground freezes.
4) Another suggestion is to put the bulbs in a plastic 5 gallon pail and spray them with a stinky repellant. You might want to spray the surface soil after planting too provided the area isn’t directly under your bedroom window! Use gloves when planting.
Outsmart those wiley critters this fall and plant one (or more) on me!