Something is ruining my tulips!

ellen_portland(z8 OR)March 19, 2014


I've had tulips for the last few years with no big problems except maybe icky leaves from snails.
This season I've already had 3 ruined bulbs. One pulled out and nibbled on and two nibbled off at the base of the shoots.
I don't have tons planted so each little placement brings me cheer and balances my garden.
Any ideas on who the culprit might be and what I can do to stop them?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:32PM
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ellen_portland(z8 OR)

I thought as much, but is there anything I can use to deter them? I have a dog so it can't be toxic. Cayenne?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:54PM
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In my garden I find that the squirrels just test to see if they would like a tulip bulb, decide they don't and leave the rest alone. I also had 3 bulbs dug up but that's all .... nothing has been touched for awhile.

Please don't use cayenne pepper. Can you imagine if they got it in their eyes?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:04PM
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George Three LLC

i imagine if they got the cayenne pepper in their eyes that they might not dig up the bulbs again.

my solution to this problem is to plant more bulbs next year and accept the losses.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:30PM
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Actually capsicum (hot pepper spray), cayenne or red pepper flakes are one of the most commonly recommended organic repellants for this type of situation. But they are not foolproof and you need to reapply frequently in our wet springs.

The most effective solution is to use chicken wire to make a rough basket before planting the bulbs or layer wire mesh over the top of a bulb planting area (but under the soil). The foliage and flower stems are able to grow up through the wire but the rodents are not able to get at the bulbs. The foliage and/or buds can still be damaged however.

btw, mice, pocket gophers and voles also munch on flower bulbs. Tulips and crocuses tend to be the first choices, with narcissus, hyacinths and alliums being ignored.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:52PM
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ellen_portland(z8 OR)

Thanks everyone ;-) eeldip- understandable solution, just I am unemployed at the moment and need to take what I can get ;-) plus it's hard when I am waiting with excitement LOL and then get it dashed by those pain in the ass critters.
I might try the cayenne, but hope my dog doesn't breathe it in. I like the chicken wire idea. We do have volves/moles around, so who knows. Just frustrating in that they've never touched them before. Tulips are one of my most favorite flowers.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Moles are carnivorous and won't be interested in bulbs. They do, of course, dig tunnels.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Cayenne has never seemed effective around here for pest control.

I fashion little surrounds out of 2x3 grid fencing for caneberry clumps where new shoots get molested by squirrels. Trying to protect a whole tulip bed would be difficult, but where I lay sections of the above fencing on the ground, it remains undisturbed whereas nearby ground is thoroughly cratered. It hampers the digging motion of cats and squirrels and discourages visitations to the area in general.

Chicken wire would work, comes in green color.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:17PM
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It sounds like snail or slugs to be slugs are more likely it becuase they can actually eat plants with out leaving to much of a slimy trace. they like the new shoots and usually eat them off from the bottom leaving no trace of them. I would use some bait or repellant. also to watch target plants with a flashlight at night to see if the bait is working or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: TheItalian Garden

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:07AM
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