Screen Out Bulb-Stealing Squirrels
Fall is the time to plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses, alliums and the other spring-flowering bulbs. While squirrels won’t eat daffodils and rarely go for an allium or hyacinth, they find tulip and crocus bulbs downright delicious. Best of all to a squirrel, freshly-planted bulbs in loose soil are easy to sniff out and dig up.
Where squirrels are a problem, tulip and crocus lovers in particular seek ways to dissuade digging paws. Adding a physical barrier is a popular deterrent. Covering beds with cut-to-size chicken wire is often the choice for high-profile plantings.
Master gardener Sally Ferguson favors a simpler approach. “Use adjustable window screens, the cheaper the better,” says Ferguson, who demonstrates their use in a short video on the Colorblends YouTube Channel. Colorblends is a Connecticut-based flower bulb company that sells at wholesale prices direct to landscape professionals and home gardeners coast-to-coast with a minimum order of $60.
“Adjustable window screens keep squirrels out and let rain in. Slide them in or out to fit broader trench plantings or narrower bulb clusters between perennials,” she says. Place the screens on top of the soil after planting. Secure them with a rock so they won’t blow away. Leave them in place until the ground freezes hard. Then put them away till needed again next fall.
Ferguson keeps a stash of “expando screens” that range in size from 10 inches to 25 inches deep, each with a slide expansion of 15 to 37 inches. She picked hers up at yard sales and end-of-season closeouts at hardware stores. “They cost peanuts, last forever, are always ready for use, are easy to store.”