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How to Get Squirrel-Proof Bulb Plantings

Few sights can make your heart sink like watching the spring-flowering bulbs you just planted become food for four-legged foragers. Read these tips to keep squirrels from eating your freshly planted bulbs.

Squirrel iStock

To keep squirrels at bay, the experts at bulb supplier Longfield Gardens suggest taking this multipronged approach.

Plant What They Don’t Like

Squirrels and chipmunks avoid daffodils—which are poisonous­­—as well as alliums, scilla, hyacinth, grape hyacinth (muscari), fritillaria, camassia, chionodoxa, snowdrop (galanthus), and summer snowflake (leucojum). Tulips, unfortunately, are a delicacy for them. Still, if they become hungry enough, they’ll eat everything in sight.

Install a Barrier

Line the bottom of your planting bed with wire hardware cloth or woven shade cloth, which is easier to work with. Running the barrier up the sides of the bed may prevent burrowing in from the side. After planting, place another piece of mesh on top and secure it with stones or landscape staples until spring.

Plant Later

Foraging is usually most frantic in early fall, so hold off planting until between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when activity slows down. You can plant most bulbs until the beginning of December, as long as you allow two weeks for them to develop roots before the ground freezes.

Clean the Scene

Tamp down the ground, remove any skins, and cover your newly planted bed with mulch or leaves. Interplanting bulbs in a bed of low groundcover such as vinca minor or pachysandra can also help camouflage their whereabouts.