Protecting tulips from pests

What's the best way to stop grey squirrels eating my tulips?

As the squirrel population grows, more of us are having our tulip bulbs nicked as soon as they are planted. To prevent this, plant in deeply, whether in pots or in the garden, to a depth of 6in. Then lay some black plastic netting (approx 1½ cm (½ in) square) directly over the bulbs before covering both with compost. Unless the squirrels are very canny, this should protect your bulbs.

For bulbs already planted, dust the top of pots with chilli flakes or powder. That should keep squirrels away, along with rats and mice too.

How do you identify and deal with tulip fire?

The risk of tulip fire can be greatly reduced if you plant your bulbs from November to Christmas, when the soil is colder so the fungus is less likely to spread.

As the tulip season approaches, keep a look out for any odd-looking, distorted or sick-looking foliage. If you see any, dig out that tulip, or clump, as soon as you can and burn it.

If you don't notice any problems until the tulips begin to flower, but then see mini flecks and burns, these must also be uprooted and got rid of.

This should keep the fungal scourge of tulip fire at bay in your garden.

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