Does anyone know of a cheap, long-lasting liquid I can spray on young shoots to protect them from whatever is eating them? (I'm pretty sure it's either squirrels or deer.) So far, I've tried human pee and dish detergent to no avail.
It's terrible when this happens as you lose any new culms for the year. Squirrels like young shoots because they have a high sugar content. I've tried a number of things and some work... for a while. The one I had moderate success with is vaseline with a lot of hot sauce and pepper mixed in it. Ultimately, however, their taste for the shoots overcame the spicy kick and they started munching again.
The only thing that really works is a physical barrier. If you go to Home Depot or the equivalent, you can find roles of wire screening with holes that are about 1/2" X 1/2"; some are even coated green. Buy the screening and make cylinders 12"-18" high and set them in place around the new shoots. It helps to wire the top to an existing culm, and to bend the top in to prevent access. When the shoots get taller than a foot, they're too hard to be attractive to the squirrels and you can remove the protection.
Sorry, couldn't resist. Of course I would never recommend that....noooo way. How about a live trap (Hav-a-heart trap) with store bought bamboo shoots as bait? Like the barrier idea though.
While I've been tempted to resort to such methods, I realized that it would be a full-time job to eliminate all the bushy-tailed rats in my neighborhood!
I know that some people add hot pepper flakes to bird seed to keep them away, they can taste the hotness, but birds can't. You might want to try adding some hot pepper flakes to some hot water, add a little dishwashing detergent and let it sit overnight. Might want to add some garlic too, if it is the deer that will keep them away. Make sure to mince the garlic.
I have been doing phyto chemistry and
Have a small business making skincare and little problems with medicinal essential oils. So when problems came up in my garden, I researched and studied the constituents properties suiting my needs, I hoped at least. Their are some things I find protect my grass from rabbit, squirrels from devouring my bulbs & now ready to try it on the tomato & fruit tree's for the third year. I wanted to be certain before posting anything that it was my stuff, not luck. I can tell you how best to make it. I use essential oils which is the ratio of say one leaf on a plant vs. 10 x 10 plot of same plants in essential oil yield, so it' potent.