Dahlias are great flowering plants, not just because they are beautiful but because they are such excellent multipliers. But while they do not take a lot to care for, it’s important to ensure they are safe. For a garden or farm that is exposed to rodents, you may be wondering if your dahlias can be eaten by squirrels or other rodents.
So, do squirrels eat dahlias?
Yes, squirrels eat dahlias. In fact, they seem to enjoy it. It’s not uncommon to find them digging around the plant and eating their bulbs and tubers.
Sometimes, a squirrel can eat too much from a dahlias plant, causing significant damage or even killing it. So, it’s very important you take proactive steps to protect your crops from squirrels and other rodents.
Are Dahlias Squirrel Repellent?
No, they are not. On the contrary, squirrels are natural dahlias eaters, which means they like to munch on the plant.
If you allow them, they can eat up all the leaves and even the stem, starting from the top and all the way down. And when they’re done, the only thing left will be the stalks and flowers.
If they are not satisfied, they will also consume the stalks and leave the flowers behind.
Other flowers like daisies and sunflowers also get the same kind of treatment from squirrels.
The larger petals of dahlias make it easier for the rodent to handle them compared to smaller wildflowers. In addition, dahlias taste great, at least for squirrels, which makes them a great snack.
As earlier indicated, squirrels can chew on both petals and bulbs, but sometimes some petals might be too low to feed on when they are underground.
Protecting Your Dahlias from Squirrels
To keep squirrels away from your dahlias or garden, you have to treat them like a pest. This usually means setting up boundaries or deterrents to wade them off. Here are four effective ways you can do it.
Using pesticides is common when dealing with any type of pest. Most commercial pesticides come in liquid or powder form and contain a substance the pest doesn’t like.
One of the most effective commercially available pesticides for deer is the ANEWNICE Squirrel Repellent. It works excellently well for gardens and bird feeders and can be used for other rodents. It is meant to be used outdoors.
Squirrels typically don’t jump more than 4 feet. This means that if you set up a fence that is higher than 4 feet, they will likely stay away.
Urine can also be a good deterrent for squirrels. You can spray the urine of an animal, and if a squirrel smells it, it will believe it’s a predator and keep off from your garden. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get the actual urine of a predator. There are many commercial repellents that can produce the same smell as urine.
A good example is the Predator Pee Mountain Lion Urine Spray. You can spray this repellent to make a squirrel think there’s a lion nearby. There are other repellents for different urine of other squirrel predators like foxes, cats, etc.
Squirrels are usually attracted to areas where they can potentially find food or make a home. So, to keep them from coming to your garden in the first place, you have to remove anything that can attract them. This usually means:
- Trimming tall trees that are close to flower beds
- Taking care of leave piles regularly
- Keeping birdseed away from the flower bed
- Using bird feeders that are squirrel-proof
- Ensuring there are no uneaten fruits lying around in the garden
Using Homemade Solutions
If you prefer making your own repellent spray, you can use vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a very strong smell that deters squirrels. You can mix it with water and spray around the dahlias plant.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle pepper around the plant just before they bloom. Pepper contains a substance known as capsaicin which is a natural squirrel deterrent. You can use either chili pepper or cayenne pepper. Pepper flakes will also work fine.
You may also consider making a pepper spray by mixing the dried pepper with vinegar.
Do Squirrels Eat Gladiolus Bulbs?
Yes, squirrels eat gladiolus bulbs and will munch on them if they come across it in your garden. They might not completely eat up the whole plant, but they can do serious damage.
Squirrels generally eat a lot of nuts, tulips, colchicum, crocuses, and of course, gladiolus. Gladiolus and nuts happen to be very rich sources of protein for them.
There are other types of bulbs squirrels don’t eat, such as scilla, alliums, hyacinths, bluebells, daffodils, and the like.
If you planning to plant bulbs, the timing is important if you don’t want them to be a prime target to squirrels and other pests.
Squirrels generally experience food shortages during fall; this is also the time they look for food to store for the winter months.
If you plant gladiolus or similar bulbs during this period (fall), you may have a problem containing squirrels in your garden unless you take appropriate steps to keep them away.
Conclusion: Do Squirrels Eat Dahlias?
In conclusion, squirrels like to eat dahlias and other delicious bulbs like gladiolus. But don’t let that discourage you if you have a garden with dahlias plants.
There are several steps you can take to keep the flowers safe from rodent attacks.
These include using squirrel repellents (whether commercial or homemade spray), installing a fence around your plants, and removing squirrel attractions. You can read about each of these methods above if you haven’t done that already.
Let us know if you have any more questions about squirrels and dahlias, and we will do our best to help.
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