No other flower signifies the arrival of spring the way the tulip does. While there are plenty of spring bulb flowers that are beautiful and fun to look at – daffodils and hyacinths come to mind – the tulip truly is the ‘mascot’ of the spring season.
Unfortunately, plenty of animals and bugs love tulips just as much as we do. Whether you plant your tulips in a bed or a container seems to make no difference, they can be gotten to. This frustrating cycle of planting, enjoying, and losing happens to homeowners year after year. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to protect your beloved tulips.
Planting tulips in your landscape is like planting a deer salad bar. Tulips are a favorite spring meal for deer and often times they won’t hesitate to enter your yard. The best way to prevent deer from getting at your tulips is to build a fence. Deer can jump very high so, your fence will need to be at least 8 foot tall.
Groundhogs, squirrels, and moles can get at your tulips from underneath the ground. To deter these critters, you will need to install a fence that is at least three feet tall and one foot in the ground.
Mice especially enjoy nibbling on tulips. They will dig and chew and basically just destroy the whole garden bed of tulips. Chicken wire will help to keep the mice away. Or, you can plant your tulip bulbs in containers with wire cages around them. You might even consider taking some old window screen and laying it on the ground so, that the mice can’t dig up your bulbs.
Tulip bulbs should be planted at least three times as deep as the height of the bulb. This makes it so that critters are not attracted to the planting site and won’t come and dig up the bulbs. Don’t leave bulb castings laying around after planting as the scent will attract critters and they will come digging looking for more.
Mulch is an important ingredient in any garden bed. However, for your spring bulbs make sure not to apply it until the ground is cold and frozen. If you lay it down too early in the season, you might be creating the perfect home for a critter to spend the winter in and they will use your bulbs as winter food.
If you argue with mother nature every year about who should get to enjoy your tulips – you or the critters who come after them – follow these tips to protect your bounty!