How to Stop Animals from Digging up the Lawn
by Alec McClennan, on September 18, 2019
There are a variety of critters who frequent our lawns and cause issues while they’re looking for food. Moles tunnel under the ground and can create a mess, especially in the Spring. Skunks and Racoons are more of an issue in the Fall, as they work to fatten up for winter.
Why are Animals Digging in my Lawn?
Animals will dig because they’re hungry. Moles, Skunks, and Raccoons all eat a variety of worms, insects, and grubs. Just because you have animals digging, it does not mean you have a grub problem. Animals will dig in search of food and return to places where they’ve found food in the past.
How Many Grubs is too Many?
A healthy lawn can tolerate up to 5 grubs per square foot. An average sized lawn is 5,000 square feet, so that is 25,000 grubs! It’s not possible to kill all the grubs, even if you resort to using a chemical that sits on the lawn for months. Using a natural suppression treatment, like our Organic Grub Control, is a good idea to minimize one of the food sources the animals are looking for. It's unlikely however, that this will keep the animals away completely.
How to Tell What Animal is Digging in Your Lawn?
- Moles create tunnels and mounds.
- Skunks are precise diggers and act as a great natural grub control. They dig little holes and create a pseudo aeration in their quest to find food. Broadcasting grass seed on top of skunk damage is never a bad idea.
- Raccoons are less polite than skunks. They like to flip over whole sections of turf looking for food. If you see the damage quickly enough, you can flip the sod back over and point the grass blades up. If you can water that flipped back sod, it should recover.
How to Prevent Animal Digging Damage
Here are some things you can do to strengthen your lawn and discourage animals from digging in it.
Seeding with Turf Type Tall Fescue will give you a lawn with deep roots that isn’t so easily destroyed by animals searching for food.
APPLY BENEFICIAL NEMATODES
The more nematodes you have in your soil, the fewer grubs you’ll have. This will reduce one of the food sources that animals are looking for.
Sometimes the best way to keep animals from digging in your yard is to trap them and remove them from your area. If there are too many to trap, you might consider contacting a professional trapping service to help.
Here’s a Link for Trapping Services in Ohio.
Repellents are another way to deter animals from digging in your yard. Our favorite repellent is Repels-All Animal Repellent. It comes in powdered forms that you can sprinkle by hand, and liquids that you can attach to your hose and spray onto your lawn. This has worked reasonably well in our experience, but don’t expect a miracle. Repellents are most effective when they are sprayed at least once per week.
Another option is to lay chicken wire or a chain link fence over the areas where the animals are digging. Make sure to move it every few days so the grass doesn’t get too tangled in it. This method is a bit more labor intensive, but it might force the animals to find new feeding grounds.
There is no way to keep animals completely out of your yard, but these tips should help minimize any damage. Give Good Nature a call for organic and natural solutions to all your lawn and garden issues. And next time an animal digs up your lawn, just remember they’re trying to fatten up to survive the Winter.