| Squirrels are Eating My Spring for Supper!
Q. Mike: The squirrels are eating all of my wife's Spring bulbs.~They've turned my garden into the surface of the moon.~ We covered the garden with heavy gauge chicken wire, but the squirrels are digging sideways under it.~ Help!
A. Rob: There are many garden problems that can be solved. And then there are squirrels. Squirrels win. Period. In addition, it has come to our attention thanks to the brave operators of the wonderful tongue-in-check website www.deadsquirrel.com, that the little tree rats are not just garden and bird feeder thugs; they are actually evil creatures with much higher aspirations: Nothing less than world domination.
Think about it: First they chew through your phone lines so you can't call for help. Then they chew through and sever the ignition wires in your car so you can't quickly escape. Then they send a Suicide Squirrel to leap on the nearest transformer and knock out power to your entire neighborhood. And then, when you are completely helpless, alone in the dark and cold, cut off from decent society, you discover that they have also been eating your stored food. Then you hear loud noises in the attic. No, it isn't pretty, my friend!
Anyway, my Holland bulb buddies acknowledge that these furred demons can be real pests when tulips and crocus are involved. Like deer--and perhaps every other herbivore on the planet--those bulbs and their flowers are apparently tasty and delicious. (Note: this Fall, make sure you clean up all the old 'wrappers' and other outer bulb debris when you replant what they squirrels are now eating; apparently leaving these things out on the soil leads squirrels right to your buried treasure!)
But not all Spring-blooming bulbs are tasty--or even safely edible! There are MANY that deer won't normally eat, and that squirrels won't generally dig up! Here are your Spring-blooming pest-resistant options, roughly in the order that they bloom:
But, of course, that doesn't help you THIS year. Since the long-tailed terrorists are trying to pull up your (normally effective) carpet of chicken wire, your options are:
DO NOT use mothballs as repellants; they don't keep varmints away, but the extremely nasty little balls of toxic waste will give YOU kidney failure. Don't try and poison the squirrels either; they know better and you'll simply end up killing wildlife and your (ineffectual if you have any) cats.