What critter dub up bulbs?

JonCraig(6b)June 16, 2013

Planted a little bed on the side of the house earlier this week. Had some random bulbs around, so I tossed those in--a couple hyacinths & a couple surprise lilies. The next morning, they had been dug up.

I've been battling voles for the last few weeks, but it's my understanding that they eat the bulbs from below, whereas my damage was definitely from above.

Googling on the subject suggests raccoons, skunks, or squirrels. I live in a subdivision, but my yard does back up to a treeline (50 yards away from the house), and a farmer's field beyond the treeline.

Three neighbors near me have multiple outside cats, so a squirrel venturing so close to the house is rare. I don't even have trouble with squirrels at the bird feeders.

I've had hyacinths in another bed for a couple years and never had a single one dug up. Photos of the crime scene below.

All that to say, any one have any ideas what might have dug them up? And is the usual "put a piece of hardware cloth/poultry cage above the bulbs" the correct solution in any case? Thanks!


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At my house, this kind of damage would be raccoons. I have had some success with putting cages made from chicken wire or hardware cloth, held in place by several dowel rods pushed through the wire and into the dirt several (6-8) inches, over new plantings (seeds, bulbs, plants are all of interest to the raccoons). My cages all have lids made of wire and held in place by twist ties or whatever I have on hand. After a few weeks, I can remove the wire cages and the raccoons have mostly not messed around in the area any more. Raccoons also investigate new plantings in flower pots so I put cages over them and place bricks around the pots to keep them upright when the critters try to pull them over. They appear to just check out every potential food source and that includes all newly disturbed dirt. Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 4:17PM
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maternut(7 west tn)

Chipmonks? (spelling) they dig up everything around my house and plant sunflower seeds they steal from the bird feeders.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:29PM
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My mom and sister have an identical problem in Nashville and it definitely is squirrels, strange as it sounds. They saw them do it many times.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:17PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

LOTS of critters dig up bulbs, sometimes to eat, sometimes just looking for a soft spot to plant nuts. I only plant narcissus family as they don't get eaten, but still get dug up if not deep enough. If you really want other bulbs, put them into wire cages you make from chickenwire and be sure to plant deep enough. Once I replanted pansies so many times I had to put a brick over the roots of each plant. When I was done it looked more like a sidewalk than a garden!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 1:01PM
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