I was wondering if everyone is having as much trouble with varmints as I am this year? I have NEVER had problems like I have seen with my shrubs and now the bulbs that are starting to show.
I have fenced off the shrubs that were showing the chew marks, most should survive. However they have chewed things like my young spruce trees, that have never had problems before. One looks like it is finished, completely girdled, along with a Witchita Juniper. Lots of gnaw marks on other shrubs, but only on one side before I found them, fenced them off.
Now the bulbs are starting to show, something keeps eating off the leaf tips and heads. First it was the crocus, now it's the tulips, just the tiny bits above ground. Leaving the daffodils alone. Crocus buds were half eaten, so poor flowers are only half sized!! They are also digging, small holes about 2" across, 1"-1 1/2" deep and bulbs are torn out of the ground. I ran a small fence around garden bed but found new holes this morning. Looks like a small varmint is coming out from under the porch skirting. Do voles eat bulbs? I have never heard of them digging. Looks like a small trail from under the porch, couple inches wide. I suppose a small skunk would fit the hole, but no stinky smell to say skunk. I didn't think skunks would eat plants, more looking/digging for worms, and with our dirt is still pretty frozen, no worms yet. No poops to mark rabbits, which I have been blaming for it, before I put up the fence. Dogs are not excited either, like they seem to get about rabbits, woodchucks and squirrels. They have never been skunked (THANK HEAVENS), may not recognize it as a varmint. I have taken rather small measures, some pine branches(spiky) to cover shoots, put up the 3ft fence with 1" square holes in front of porch, but not covering skirting. Pine branches only slowed them a day or so. Today I found more fresh dug holes and a tulip still oozing fluid at 8AM, so varmint had recently left. I threw out some moth balls near the shoots and holes under porch. Does seem to deter them in some instances.
I just don't know which varmint I might be dealing with. Voles could probably fit thru small fence holes, just digging is not what I expect them to do. Tulips out in other, unprotected locations where rabbits can go don't seem to be getting the same damage, if any! We are country, so wildlife is all around. This bed is my favorite for tulips, right beside the house. Fenced in dogs have prevented varmints from digging up bulbs or playing in bed, at least they did in the past! Dogs are in at night, go out about 7AM. I have thought of laying bricks along the skirting edge, to close the holes. Skirting under porch is solid, but not always touching ground. I have a large pile of old bricks that are intended for a path, available to me.
Guess I should be grateful the deer are not dancing thru the yard, trashing the whole place, like other folks report! I really enjoy my bright tulips, you wait so long for them!! I may have to find another bulb location if I can't solve the varmint mystery.
The weather this last few days, and the next few, looks like it will be pretty darn good. Dirt is real wet, but starting to feel like Spring!