Protect your tulips from four-legged friends

Gardener Sue’s News

Gardener Sue Martin - freelance horticultural marketer, writer, speaker and consultant based in West Michigan
Sue Martin

Four legged friends love tulips

Even experienced gardeners make mistakes. My optimistic attitude and favor towards animals were the instigating factors behind my decision to pair tulips I know critters love with the hyacinths they hate. I can still hear the thought running through my head when I planted them: “My four-legged friends won’t touch these tulips because they’ll see the hyacinths and stay far away.” 

Ha! Enter Exhibit A to see how well that idea worked… Not so much.

There’s no fooling squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits or deer when it comes to tulips. They will find them no matter how hard you work at camouflaging. So, if you really want to grow tulips, you’re going to have to take steps to protect them.

Deer fencing

I live in a town that hosts a huge tulip festival every May. Just before the tulips emerge in our public gardens in early spring, the city erects nine foot tall deer fences around enormous flower beds filled with bulbs. It’s the easiest way to keep deer out of such large spaces. 

When to treat your tulips to protect from deer and rabbits

Plantskydd combo pack of 3 lb granular and 1 qt ready to use liquid
Sprinkle and spray to keep the critters at bay

If that’s not practical for your garden, your best bet is to use a repellent like Plantskydd. Sprinkle the granular formula on your garden beds in early spring just as your tulips begin to emerge, then spray the leaves, stems and flower buds with the liquid formula. When the critters come along to make a meal of them, they’ll detect the scent-based repellent and walk away before taking the first bite.

–Gardener Sue–

Freelance horticultural marketer, writer, speaker and consultant based in West Michigan

Originally published May 3, 2019 –

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