Garden Solutions Center Ask the Expert
Got a question? Ask and find your answer right here.
- Boise, ID
how do you prevent squirrels from digging up tulip, etc. bulbs and burying peanuts in our flowers and trees
- Oakland, OR
You have two options. The first is to place a barrier between your bulbs and the squirrels; the second is to use a repellent. You can protect your bulbs by encasing the bulbs in a chicken wire cage, or by digging up the bed and laying chicken wire beneath the bulbs and right above the bulb. However, the easiest way to keep squirrels away from your bulbs and deter them from burying peanuts in your flower beds and by trees is with a repellent.
There are many squirrel repellent sprays and powders available online, at garden centers and at your local K-Mart store. “Shake Away” and “Deer Off’ or two examples. (Many of the deer repellents also work for rabbits and squirrels.) The repellents may be scent based with ingredients that include the urine of a predator (such as a fox), or taste based, with ingredients such as cayenne. Look for a hot pepper wax spray that adheres to plants rather than sprinkling cayenne pepper around the garden as the ground hot pepper can get into the eyes of animals and pets. You need to be diligent and repeat the application every few weeks to every few months, depending on the product and weather conditions. Some gardeners have had success by sprinkling blood meal (an organic high-nitrogen fertilizer) around frequented areas. And you can always mix up the smell of desirable bulbs by interpolating bulbs known to repel squirrels, such as allium, daffodils, muscari, or scilla. Good luck and see you in the garden!