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Bulbs & Squirrels

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From: Jean Boyle
Toms River, NJ
I've read that blood meal will discourage squirrels from digging up my newly planted bulbs. But the guy at the garden center said I should try Bone meal instead as it will fertilize also. Well, now I'm reading that this will attract squirrels. I think the critters did mess with one spot I planted but in general, they seemed to stay away (probably because I left out some smooshed halloween pumpkins about 30 feet away for them to feed on). Was my garden center guy wrong? Also, it seems like the squirrels only mess with the newly planted bulbs, not the ones that have been in the ground for several years. Are they watching me plant them??

Extension Message
From: Greg Stack
Extension Horticulturist
Extension Web Development

its not so much they watch it is more of the fact that they see newly disturbed soil that is easy to dig in and get to whatever is under it. I have not found that much of anything in the way of chemicals or organic controls works well in detering squirrels from digging up bulbs. About the best way to deter them if they are a real nuisciene is, after planting the bulbs lay chicken wire over the bed and cover it lightly with soil. As they dig, they run into the wire and quit digging. the bulbs have no problem in coming up through the holes in the wire in the spring.

From: Joe Clubb
Gastonia, NC
Planted around 200 bulbs in a new flower bed last fall. This spring many of them came up but also had a few in another bed. Didn't plant anything there. Reading your articles about squirrels digging and eating new bulbs. Suppose they could move them also? No other logical explanation that we can think of? They were nicely arranged and plan to leave where they are.

Extension Message
From: James Schuster
Horticulturist and Plant Pathologist (Retired)
Squerrils may move bulbs but they replant radomly noy in nice arranged patterns so if they did move the bulbs the arrangement is stictly by accident

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