Squirrel Deterent for Bulbs and Tubers

Greetings all....
Time to start planting bulbs and some suggestions are needed on repelling squirrels. I've heard of Ropel (haven't used it).
Does a natural... mix it yourself remedy exist ?? Something low cost but effective. (Drink instant coffee, so no usablecoffee grounds.)
Just lost a whole winters collection of potted bulbs to those tree rats I can always set up a trap to discourage the pests from coming around, however I'd like to try something more humane first as I have a new assortment of tubers going in shortly.
A note for general information... returned a whole bunch of encore azaleas to Lowes and Home Depot. I purchased 8 last year, sinking 6 in the ground and overwintering two. Purchased another 8 on sale this year. The ones in the ground didn't fare well over the winter nor did the mulched ones.
Started asking questions..... the answer is.... encore azaleas do well in zones 7 - 10 however they are not recommended for zone 6 where they need to be treated as annuals or tender perennials. I'm at the very northernmost part of zone 7.. about 40 miles from zone 6... so either 6 or marginal 7 depending upon how the wind blows.
The tag did not have ANY hardiness zones listed whereas many of the other shrubs had. I had to search the encore site and look for the FINE PRINT to discover the recommended zones.
Kinda pissed off about this as I started looking at encore azaleas several years ago, observed growing habits and selected the types of plants most suitable for the growing location in terms of size, growth rate, sunshine, color and moisture. Looked like a really nice plant.
A lot of research done, and a lot of garden center browsing done, for a plant which is marginally acclimated for this climate. Wish I had all the knowledge up front... it would have saved me a lot of time better spent elsewhere.
You would think the big box garden centers would actually THINK about what they sell. Instead, I'm finding tropical plants in the middle of January and Wal Mart is selling Day Lillies and Peonies, already sprouting in the middle of February when they can't be planted till May. Isn't anyone using their brains ???
Aargh, my gardening education continues...
end of rant...
Thanks !!!
Peter
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Forget garden centers, think stupidmarkets. If you feed the squirrels they won't eat your bulbs... I have like a dozen squirrels in the trees 40 feet from my window, each morning I toss out a couple handfulls of in-shell peanuts or some crackers or stale bread, any suitible crumbs/crusts. I have bulbs planted under and around those trees but since I've been feeding they don't touch my bulbs, and I only feed them during the coldest periods.... during the warmer weather they seem to find enough natural foods... they're living in a 60' tall windbreak of Norway spruce, plenty cone seeds is what initially attracts them. And this feeding all started to entertain my cats, so there's a double benefit. Peanuts are cheap... $5 worth lasts me all winter... stale bread and a piano sized crate of lousy wheat thins from Same's Club would get tossed anyway.
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Good suggestion... it might work under many circumstances, but not in this one. The critters are a little too destructive.
For me, traps usually work well... .
Just interested in a deterent, otherwise back to trapping which works well. It's time consuming. but keeps the population down. Got about 30 of those buggers about two years ago.. only saw one this season, but already he got into an entire stock of roots
Foxes are a great idea... wish I could get a few of them hanging around... unfortunately there is a large unleashed dog population chasing everything away.
Now, occasionally, some 'misguided' animal activist always chimes in with 'heartless' and 'cruel'. The following is appended just for that audience.
1- Used to have a bird habitat... nesting boxes, feed stations, refuge places The squirrels continuously destroyed everything. The entire project was scrubbed after 3 years of watching the squirrels destroy everything. Yes they had their own feeders. Does anyone really believe that a squirrel will just go after one feeder...
2- The population rapidly grew from just a few, till when I trapped over 30 squirrels in one season.
3- Incredible damage to the house.... ripped screens, holes chewed in fascia, damage to attic space, holes chewed in wooden garage doors. Weatherstripping chewed on cars as they tried to get into a bag of sunflower seeds. A lousy tree rat is not worth thousands of dollars worth of home repair. This is a totally unnecessary expense. I can't afford it.... anyone wanna donate ???
4- Incredible damage to all roots, tubers and bulbs. They were digging them out as quick as I could plant them. Landscaping is for the purpose of providing cover for other species also...including birds, bees and valuable insects. The tree rats don't exist in balance with nature... I suspect that squirrels are an indication that nature is no longer in balance.
5- Despite Walt Disney, they're tree rats.... fine... keep out of the house and out of the yard.... I wouldn't let mice and rats in the yard...squirrels are next on the list... they have plenty of other places to live. I'm surrounded by tens of acres of 'community space'. Guess whose house and yard they travel to.
6- Not just squirrels, but deer also... the deer population has already destroyed tens of acres of natural habitat... browse lines and destroyed trees all over the place. This lets scrub grass grow... which dries up in the winter and is extremely flammable.
I'm landscaping a yard with everygreens, plants, shrubs etc because the natural area looks like a wasteland..... nature looks totally out of balance here... no bees, few butterflies, some birds but the natural habitat can't support the population without feeders, nesting boxes, winter refuge. Lousy bat population, for whatever reason the nesting habitats are being destroyed by nature, not by man.
Anyway... a squirrel feeder is a great idea under many circumstances, but just not feasible here.
Thx !!
Peter
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On Tue, 17 Mar 2009 19:34:34 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

...
Try squirrel soup. You'll need at least 3 or 4. The meat goes through a strainer to remove the pesky little bones. I can usually catch up to 8 in a day using peanut butter crackers. Google for recipes.
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Thanks, but I gotta watch my diet. I like the peanut butter cracker idea... it'll make nice bait for the traps.
Dumb question... do people actually eat squirrel anymore ??? I'm in suburbia with a diversified ethnic population.... if these are delicacies on anyones menu, I'll be more than happy to deliver fresh ones to their doorstep.... I know venison is appreciated, and dogs and cats are always welcome... but squirrel ???
Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I'm sure Rachel or Om will be along soon with a recipe, but, getting back to Jangchub's first question,"Why do you insist on planting items which you are certain will be demolished by animals?" Then there was Bill's idea of daffodils, which seem like they would fit the bill, except for worse case scenarios.
In any event, maybe sprinkle pepper or paprika around squirrel prone areas. Of course, you may have the bad luck of dealing with Hungarian squirrels, and they may think that you are just adjusting the seasoning.
www.extension.colostate.edu/chaffee/Critter%20resistant%20plants%20.pdf
RABBIT/GROUND SQUIRREL/DEER RESISTANT PLANTS Irene Shonle In general, animals are discouraged by: ~ Very aromatic plants ~ Prickles and spines ~ Tough, leathery leaves ~ Toxic plants ~ Milky sap No list is foolproof --a hungry animal will eat just about anything, including poisonous plants. Plant deterrent plants surrounding the more delectable plants. Newly transplanted plants are more likely to be eaten -especially those just bought from nurseries, but even those recently moved within a garden. Bigger plants are more able to withstand nibbling. Cultural controls such as removing brush piles or other protective cover where rabbits and ground squirrels hide and nest may help. Provide open areas in the landscape - small mammals tend to avoid open spaces that make them vulnerable to predators. Many odor repellents are ineffective with rabbits, so read labels carefully before buying them. Something that works for deer may not work with rabbits. Some products are labeled for both. What works in one persons' yard may not work in another person's yard. Fencing with chicken wire fencing, hardware cloth or flexible netting at least two feet high, buried 4-8 inches under is fairly effective against rabbits. Deer can be prevented with fencing at least 8 feet high. Raised beds with hardware cloth (1/4" squares or less) tacked to the bottom can keep pocket gophers out of gardens. Encircle trees and shrubs with hardware cloth (buried an inch or two under the ground) to prevent voles from girdling the trees. CRITTER RESISTANT PERENNIALS AND BULBS Alliums, Allium spp. Sagebrushes, Artemisia frigida and ludoviciana Basket of Gold , Aurinia saxatilis Bee balm, Monarda spp. Black Eyed Susan , Rudbeckia hirta Blanketflower, Gaillardia spp. Bleeding Heart , Dicentra spectabilis Blue Flax , Linum lewisii Clustered bellflower, Campanula glomerata Catmints, Nepeta spp. Chives, Allium schoenoprasum Cleome, Cleome serrulata Columbine (marginal), Aquilegia spp (especially bad when newly planted!) Golden smoke, Corydalis aurea Creeping Oregon Grape Holly , Mahonia repens Creeping Phlox , Phlox subulata Creeping baby's breath, Gypsophila repens Daffodils * , Narcissus spp. Delphinium , Delphinium spp. ' Dianthus, Dianthus spp. Dragon's head , Dracocephalon spp Engelmann Ivy, Parthenocissus quinquefolia engelmannii Golden Banner, Thermopsis divaricarpa Goldenrod, Solidago spp. Hardy Geraniums, Geranium spp Hummingbird Flower , Zauschneria garrettii Iceland Poppy , Papaver nudicaule Jacob's Ladder , Polemonium caeruleum Kinnikinnick , Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Lily-of-the-Valley , Convallaria majalis Locoweed, Oxytropis Lupine , Lupinus spp. May Night Salvia , Salvia sylvestris x 'Mainacht' Mexican Hat , Ratibida columnifera Monkshood , Aconitum spp. Oriental poppy, Papapever orientale Pearly everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea Penstemon , Penstemon spp. Piqsqueak , Bergenia spp. Poppies, Papaver spp. Prince's Plume, Stanelya Purple Flowering Sage , Salvia nemorosa Pussytoes , Antennaria Sage , Artemisia Sea Pink , Armeria maritima Sedum, Stone Crop Siberian Iris , Iris sibirica Showy daisy, Erigeron spp. Snow-in-Summer , Cerastium tomentosum Soapwort , Saponaria ocymoides Sulphur flower, Eriogonum umbellatum Tansy aster, Macaeranthera tanacetifolia Thyme, Thymus species Veronica, Veronica spp. Yarrow, Achillea spp. ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca ) * Blue Avena Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) * DECIDUOUS SHRUBS Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) Boulder Raspberry (Rubus delicious) Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus) Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) Potentilla (Potentilla spp.) Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) Tall Western Sage (Artemisia tridentata) Three Leaf Sumac (Rhus trilobata) Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)
or you might try: http://www.ghorganics.com/page6.html
They recommend for squirrel control: 1. Bulbs: soak them in Ropel before planting and squirrels will leave them alone. You can also dust them with medicated baby powder.
But I still come back to, "Why do you insist on planting items which you are certain will be demolished by animals?"
--

Billy
"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is
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On Mar 17, 5:34pm, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I suggest you try laying a layer of chicken wire over the top surface of the soil, covered by a thin layer of soil or mulch. Blood meal sprinkled on the soil is also helpful, but has to be replaced every time it rains. Dora
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On Tue, 17 Mar 2009 18:33:15 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Thanks Dora.... it's helpful but may not work under the circumstances.
One project is planting on an HOA property. All volunteer work.... I've gotta get in a bunch of tubers, and summer bulbs.
The tubers are 1" below top of root, some bulbs are 4" deep, others are 6" deep. I'll be using bulb booster and potting soil to finish the holes and retain moisture.
This will be done over several fairly large 20' x 40' areas. Too large for chicken wire.
Another project is a container garden..... I've got a lot of plants that I'm looking to try out before sinking them into the ground.
And finally, a lot of areas on the property where I'd like to sink a few bulb, but not a mass planting. i.e. some ferns under a shrub, a few daff's in a field, couple of peonies in a space.
Bone meal might work in these circumstances... I'll try that !!
Thanks !!
Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Try not to plant in a straight line. A naturalist scattering of plants helps to make it harder for the rats with tails to find your plants.
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA







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Holey moley... you actually think squirrels take geometry in high school. Now my squirrels must have a Phd in calculus, because I toss out peanuts in every possible random configuration, they find them all, and faster than you can.
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Some humans just love straight lines. Dig a small v shaped ditch and plant away. The world class gymnast "Rat with fancy tail" comes along and fines a treat and softened or disturbed earth and follows the path perhaps scent . Food on the surface is rat with non fancy tail attractant also.
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA







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But when hungry and food is scarce they'll instinctively dig them up, chew and spit them out and leave them to rot.
It's very difficult to rid an area of an established squirrel population. They are there because the location is hospitable for "housing" and most times there is water nearby and a steady source of food. Trapping squirrels won't work, more will take their place. Shooting at them is just as bad, more will come, but by shooting sooner or later you'll piss off a neighbor who will frag you with buckshot. And it's not possible to selectively poison squirrels, you will also poison many other crtters including domestic ones, even the carrion eaters... mice will take the bait, seek refuge in your abode where your cat who never goes outdoors will in turn become poisoned and very likely die. Setting out poison bait is always the dumbest of all possible solutions, in fact it's no solution at all, unless you eat it. There are really two choices, feed the squirrels or don't plant bulbs.
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Never lost a daffodil. Hosta however are prone to mole/vole damage. We are OVERRUN with squirrels. No hunting pressure and nice folks that feed them attract the bastards.. Every have one in your house ?
Bill killed 15 flying guys in the last two years in my attic chewed their way in. Rat Traps and peanut butter ++++. .177 works well but Baffles 4 of them in a row seem to convince them to visit my neighbors who feed the cute critters and not visit my yard.
I'll take the bad Karma and not have my electrical system shorted.

--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA







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<message snipped to revelant thread>

First of all, I'd like to say Thank You !! for the resources... they are fascinating reading and would be most useful for anyone advocating making our HOA more environmentally friendly. (which would be a major undertaking).
You can see environmental degradation everywhere within the area.... algae covered ponds and inlets. Dead zones in the water. There used to be bumblebees and honeybees. Used to be a lot of visually identifiable spiders, butterflies, insects...
Haven't seen a native ladybug in ages. Maybe about two praying mantises over the past 5 years. Not even Japanese beetles want to live here.
A couple of years ago I did a satellite survey of the migratory corridor along the eastern seaboard. Comparing Landsat 4 data which was the forerunner to today's satellite system to today's satellite imagery. (kinda dates me doesn't it). Comparing what I've seen 25 years ago to something more recent (about 2003 - 2004)
The human encroachment from Mass to D.C is astonishing with only a small amount of continuous natural habitat remaining.
It's been 20 years since my last travels to Canada, Maine and Vermont.... It would be surprising if they weren't overbuilt also. Many years ago the tallest building in Portland was two stories...I was coming off an interior project in Maine. 6 months of near isolation in a village, darned if it wasn't good to see civilization again, all two stories of it !!
So what happens when the giant agricultural combines go belly up due to economic circumstances like gas and fertilizer combined with reduced market prices making it unfeasible to grow crops.
What happens when the local farm crops, go bust because of continuing drought or are bought out by developers building big box stores. ??
Sorry.... the original posting was for a non-chemical repellant to keep rodents away from planted bulbs. Didn't mean for this thread to wind up discussing global disaster.
Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

In the big picture, which is more important?
--

- Billy
"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

.22 rim fire ammunition
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A friend told me to sprinkle a lot of cayenne pepper around the bulbs when planting. You can also plant in special baskets made for that or make your own out of chicken wire.
June
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On Thu, 19 Mar 2009 05:14:14 -0700 (PDT), ShambhalaPottery
wrote:

That works for me... long as it keeps them critters away from the bubs I'm happy !!
Thanks !!!
Peter
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blood meal sprinkled over the top deters tree rats. until it rains.
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