Animal Problems

Gophers, Moles, Mice

Gophers love to eat tulips. For control of rodents check with your local master gardeners.

Moles don’t usually eat tulip bulbs unless the bulb is trying to rot and has bugs. For control of rodents check with your local master gardeners.

Mice will use the runways of the gophers and moles to damage your bulbs. For control of rodents check with your local master gardeners.

  • To keep animals like moles away plant bulbs distasteful to rodents such as daffodils, alliums or fritillaries.
  • Smells such as castor oil, coffee grounds, or used kitty litter placed at the entrances of mole tunnels near your flower beds will keep moles from invading your flowers.
  • Another way to keep these rodents away from your bulbs is to plant in containers. These containers can be above ground or small “mesh/wire” containers in the ground.

Deer, Squirrels, Raccoons

Deer love tulips, but usually not daffodils, fritillaries or alliums. By planting daffodils around you tulips can help keep deer out.

There are a lot of deterrents but the deer will get use to them so you need to keep changing what you are using.

  • Physical barriers such as clear fishing line or strips of aluminum foil around the perimeter of your yard or motion detection sprinklers create a sudden burst of water will help scare or keep deer out.
  • Deer are repelled by strong odors; staking or shaving strong-smelling soap around the perimeter of your yard or things with strong human or predator scents like hair clippings or urine sprinkled around your flower beds is a repellent for deer.

Squirrels and raccoons can be attracted to freshly dug soil so be sure to water and pat down the soil when planting. Making sure that you have planted the tulips and daffodils the recommended 6-8 inches also helps deter the animals.

  • Avoiding the use of bone meal will help keep animals away, including the cats. Bone meal can be smelled by animals, by not using it they won’t be curious about what’s down there.
  • Place ground chili pepper; (Thai chilies, habaneras, cascabel) in flower pots and garden beds. The capsicum in peppers makes it unpleasant for digging animals

Slugs & Snails

Slugs can be a major pest of bulbs. They will eat holes in tulip and hyacinth leaves and although daffodils bulbs are poisonous, the flowers are a tasty delicacy.

If your daffodil flowers are not opening right, look closely, slugs don’t eat the foliage of daffodils, but they do eat the flower.

Slugs and snails are notorious plant eaters. They start eating the new growth even before the shoots are above the soil. They will also climb to the top of the flower stem to eat the new bud.

  • Slug and snail bait can prevent this. To keep away from animals it can be hidden under established plants.