Close up of an eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in a backyard in Panama City, Florida, USA

Keeping Critters Out

Planting bulbs in the fall is such a treat! Your summer plants are done and before winter sets in, you have just enough time to get bulbs in the ground for a spectacular display come spring. You’ve got the proper technique with prepping and planting. Heck, you even planted a succession of blooming bulbs so you can get the most out of all your bulbs when spring finally arrives. The only trouble you have now is those pesky critters that think that you’ve planted an all you can eat buffet!  Bulbs are a favorite snack for animals such as deer, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, and voles. Don’t let that deter you from planting this fall. Take some of these precautions while planting and you’ll be good to grow!

First, Bulb selection

There are bulbs that are more tempting for animals such as tulips and crocus. To protect your favorite bulbs, intermingle other bulbs to camouflage the tastier selections. Think alliums, daffodils, snow drops, and grape hyacinth. They may leave the whole lot alone by just adding the less palatable bulbs to the mix but if they are still digging them up, keep reading.
Planting bulbs in containers

Second, try Physical barriers

You can make getting to bulbs more challenging by implementing a few different materials like gravel and mesh. Dig the proper depth for your bulb assortment and add a layer of gravel or stones before planting the bulbs. This can help minimize the attack from below. Cover your bulbs with soil and then add another layer of stone to make digging them from above harder as well. Another strategy is to lay a wire mesh on top of the newly planted bulbs, removing it in spring when they start to sprout. You can also encase your bulbs in mesh/wire cages to keep them protected from every angle.
A gadget to make bulb planting easier

Third, Clean up

Any residual scents may entice critters. Interplant your bulbs amongst annuals, perennials, and shrubs to keep them undercover. A more established landscape may make it more difficult to get to the bulbs if there are other plants in the way.
what to grew in the fall

Fourth, Use amendments

Hold off on using soil amendments that are on the more stinky side, like bone meal. Using deterrents is an option as well but keep in mind that you have to apply them frequently to get the most out of them.  

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