Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What do squirrels want?

Not my bulbs, it seems. I am finding holes dug by the furry rodents all over the place but none of them are really deep enough to displace a bulb, and I am not seeing bulb remnants anywhere. Snarky Vegan tweeted that they need to bury food everywhere because they can’t smell it. I believe her.

But still, it’s annoying. I need the bulbs to remain adequately covered by soil. This is surely the year of the squirrel on the GWI property. They’re always around. They seem totally at home on the patio during the summer, darting between the pond and the rose/lily bed all the time. I tolerate them, but do not want them digging up my bulbs, even by accident. So this is what I’ve tried:

Red pepper: seems to work, somewhat, but requires constant reapplication.

Critter Ridder spray: complete waste of money.

Peony grids over beds: works somewhat. Chicken wire would likely be better, but I really prefer this stuff on pots. Ground needs to be free. I don’t want chicken wire embedded all over the place.

Various disgustingly smelly Liquid Fence products: great for deer I'm assuming, but not for squirrels. AH! The bad sense of smell! (I do catch on.)

Many wooden skewers stuck into the ground, point side up: you’d think this would work. I have readily stabbed myself with these things while working around them, but I am not totally sure they deter.

I just want them to stop digging. But that’s not what they want.

(The image above is my pond, closed for the season. You can also see the only type of squirrel I like.)


Debra Lee Baldwin said...

Just realized how lucky I am that I don't have squirrels in my SoCA garden, despite an abundance of food, including acorns. you have gophers in NY? Would you like one?

Gail said...

The chipmunks are bad here...Very destructive with their tunnel digging under plants, shrubs, walls, foundations. Good luck with the squirrels. gail

Nick said...

Third floor earthbox urban gardener here. I planted late fall lettuce and french leeks; the squirrels went crazy digging in these open boxes. Leeks never had a chance. I tried the wooden stakes routine: a neat line of pointy 'kabob skewers, business end up, looked deeply intimidating. They enjoyed pushing them over on their way to the shallow dig site. Ugh!!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I lay the chicken wire on top of the newly turned earth and leave it there only until the ground firms up. It doesn't look lovely, but it does keep the squirrels out. They prefer newly turned soil because it's easier for them to dig into. Once it's hardened up, they won't be drawn to it.

Anonymous said...

If you have dogs,put dog poop over the freshly planted bulbs. Squirrels won't dig through predator poop. Needless to say, but I'm going to say it anyway, I garden with gloves.

helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

Debra - you don't have squirrels? That is unimaginable!

I have a love-hate relationship with my squirrels. When you get this figured out, I'm all ears.

I relocated 17 in the spring. It became a lot of work and then I wondered what ills I was causing the folks bordering the park.


Jean said...

What do squirrels want? To drive us insane. I've heard the only good remedy for squirrels is to have a dog that likes to go after them. And not feeding the birds helps. Relocation only helps temporarily until another group moves into the abandoned territory. Unfortunately for me I think I'm stuck with squirrels. I don't have a dog (and probably never will) and I can't help but feed the birds. If you find something that works, we'd all appreciate it!

"The" Merry said...

Useful tips, thank you! Hell, I'm desperate enough to try the dog poop idea, especially since that's in plentiful supply in my backyard.

Those squirrels have no shame -- they dug up my azalea seedling and dragged it out of its whole on the off chance that I might have put some squirrel food in the hole while I was planting.

garden girl said...

Between the squirrels and rabbits around here, it's a wonder anything survives in the garden. I used to think I had a love/hate relationship with the critters. Since moving here, any love I had for them has evaporated with all the plants they've eaten and dug to death.

Barbee' said...

I have heard of planting alliums among the tulips, but I don't know if that works for sure. That chicken wire sounds like a good idea put flat on the surface, and maybe that would keep cats from going potty there, too. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that if you have dog poop lying around you will have rats. They come after the Vitamin K in the dog food ... poop. Squirrels are rodents, too. Can I expect to see squirrels looking for the same thing. We have a lot of squirrels and no dog, but the woman next door is a "rescuer" and has many at a time ... all pooping and barking in the backyard. I don't think dogs protect against squirrels, I think they BRING them!