Keeping squirrels from tulips

single small tulipEmailed StickFigureMan today:

How do people keep the squirrels from shredding their tulips?
Every year it's the same: The squirrels wait till the buds are plump and ready to bloom, giving me hope that maybe I'll get to see my flowers this year. Then they destroy them. They don't even eat them. They shred them with their little claws and leave the petals scattered about to mock me.
I've made them sacrificial offerings of bird seed. But squirrels don't honor treaties. Last year I made habanero tea and sprayed all the tulips. Mmm, spicy, said the squirrels, as they ravaged on.
I am consumed by jealousy when I see yards bursting with tulip color. What do they know that I don't?

We suggest renting a fisher and giving those smug, treaty-breaking squirrels a run for their lives.

Perhaps you have some less radical suggestions for StickFigureMan?



Try Liquid Fence. It contains coyote urine. Or sit in hiding with a slingshot.

I too would love to know what works against these vandals. They are a nuisance all summer long, for many varieties of flowers, and in all locations (in the ground, in baskets, and in wall sconces). I have tried sticking garlic cloves in the soil, which is only minimally effective.

I found my problem to be not squirrels but rabbits (or rabbit) last year. Here is what they did:

We'll see what happens this year.

I've heard rumor that leaving a bowl of milk out for them will give them a nasty tummy ache which will keep them away. Our garden fell victim to the Albany thug squirrels last year. I am more optimistic this year since we've gotten a dog.

Though I have yet to try it, I have read that garlic is a pretty good deterrent for garden pests. My mother prefers to shoot the little buggers with a bb gun. But, then, she IS retired.

When I lived in Albany, we had a fluffy white dog. After brushing him I'd put his hair in the garden. Sometimes it worked to deter the mutant Albany rabbits and squirrels, and sometimes the chickadees picked up the hair for nesting material and looked like mini Santa Clauses with white beards and moustaches. Sprinkling cayenne pepper (reapply after rain) is effective for rabbits also, but better for potted plants. And based on your resident squirrels' penchance for the hot stuff, I'd go the dog hair route. (We have very few squirrels now, which seemed so weird when we first arrived. Now I realize it is because we have so many hawks.) Goos luck; I know how frustrating this can be.

I have much better luck with daffodils. The squirrels and bunnies galore around my house seem to ignore the daffodils. Save yourself the trouble.

It used to make me insane, but then I realized that, morally speaking, it's the closest rodents can get to avenging the "Whack-A-Mole" game phenomenon. They can't reach our heads, so they go for our tulips. What goes around comes around.

Squirrels generally hate peppermint oil.

Oops! Got distracted. I probably should have mentioned that you put several drops in a gallon of water and spray the area.

Thanks for the good tips - I was heartbroken to see all of my tulips devoured (save one, but I bet that'll be gone this morning...). This is my first spring as an Albany property owner and I was so excited to do it up right. Alas, the little buggers got me.

Over the years I have put together a line of defense for my tulips against rabibts, squirrels and deer. In includes spreading copious amounts of Milorganite (a granular organic fertilizer made from treated Milwaukee sewage sludge) chunks of Irish Spring soap and I leave the front porch light on all night. So far so good. Also, one dog will solve all of your problems. And, these critters don't seem to have any interest in hyacinths or daffodils.

I agree with Carly--grown daffoldils and enjoy the tulips at the Tulip Festival. (How do they keep the critters away? Somebody should ask the city gardener.)

I appreciate all the advice.

Thanks to the new signage at the Corning Preserve, I'm able to express my bitterness in Stick Figure form:

I'm going to try the peppermint oil. If that fails, I'm giving up and planting daffodils.

The real solution to your squirrel problem is to deal with your jerk neighbors who are feeding the squirrels all winter.

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