Protecting bulbs from rodents

Jane McGary
Wed, 21 Dec 2005 09:44:33 PST
Carolyn asked,

>I was wondering about planting my bulbs in plastic mesh bags, has anyone
>tried this?

I tried it with a few tulip bulbs. It seemed to keep them from being eaten, 
but it's tricky to get them buried with the open top aligned so that the 
plant's stem can emerge properly, yet not leave it so open that the vole 
gets right into it.

I've had better luck using small plastic mesh pots sold for hydroponic 
growing. The smallest size I have drops right into a hole made with a 
tubular bulb planting tool. I also have planted half a dozen crocus corms 
in the 6-inch size pot, and these groups have survived for more than 5 
years in areas where crocuses would normally be eaten quickly. The tops are 
open, but the voles tend to tunnel horizontally or follow mole runs, 
whereas field mice, chipmunks, and squirrels dig down from the surface when 
they spot the emerging shoots. Incidentally, birds also pull up emerging 
crocus shoots and eat the corms; the main culprits here are towhees.

Jane McGary
Northwestern oregon, USA

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