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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tulip Bed Attacked Probably by Ground Squirrels

Readers tulip bed attacked by probably ground squirrels.
Q. I am attaching a photo showing damage to my tulip bed. Yesterday I found three deep very round holes dug about 6” apart at the edge of my raised garden where I have had tulips planted for years. Dirt was kicked out and baby tulip bulbs were scattered.  Not one large bulb was there and no pieces of large bulbs present.  These were very mature bulbs and bloomed well. We have an over abundance of rabbits (near the golf course) and huge “flocks” of quail, but don’t know of other critters here. Do you think rabbits have done this damage? 

A. You have an interesting story to tell. To my knowledge, rabbits typically focus on foliage. I have not heard of them digging for tulip bulbs.
ground squirrel
We have both jackrabbits and the desert cottontail. The Jackrabbit will stand on its hind legs and eat fruit tree limbs and stems up to nearly an inch in diameter. Damage to fruit trees can extend to nearly 3 feet above ground from jackrabbits. I have never had them go after root crops in the Orchard, only the leafy greens including garlic and onions.
Our biggest pest problems for underground crops have been ground squirrels and gophers. As you know golfers attack from the ground but the ground squirrels can do damage similar to what you have observed.
My guess would be this is due to ground squirrels. There are only two options for you. You can put screening around these areas or you can use poison bait. If you choose screening you must not use chicken wire as the holes are too large. You must use wire mesh or wire cloth with very small diameter holes. I hope this helps.


  1. Wondering if it would be possible to mention to viewers that the use of “poison bait” as referred to in the article, should only be used in special situations & places. Rodents eating these poisons...may in turn get eaten by other animals (dogs, cats, birds, snakes, etc.) & in return may get sick or even die.

    In my first years living in Kyle Canyon, each summer we would see average of 4 king snakes a week. In the past few years, I have not seen one. Due to increased population up here, I believe this type of bait may have been in part cause for the almost disappearance of snakes, owls, etc..

    Thank You & please keep writing your articles in the View...look forward to them.

    Posted as a comment to me from a reader.

  2. Reminds me when all our bulbs were dug up. Finally concluded it was the Coyotes getting at the Bone Meal I had added as fertilizer!

    And we live in Anthem Senior Community but we love the Coyotes! They are part of the little NATURE we have left.

    Posted as a comment to me from a reader.