There are a variety of critters who sometimes frequent our lawns and can 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.
Animals will dig because they’re hungry. Moles, Skunks, and Racoons all eat a variety of worms, insects, and grubs. Just because you have Animals Digging, it does not mean that you have a grub problem. Animals will dig in search of food and return to places where they’ve found food in the past.
A healthy lawn can tolerate up to 5 grubs per square foot. An average size lawn is 5000 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 grub suppression treatment like beneficial nematodes is a good idea to minimize one of the food sources for the animals that are digging up your lawn but don’t expect it to keep the animals away completely.
Moles create tunnels and mounds.
Skunks are very precise in their digging and are 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.
Racoons are less polite than skunks. They like to flip over whole sections of turf looking for food. If you catch it 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.
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 is to trap them and remove them from your area. If you’re not interested in that or if there are too many to trap, you might consider repellents which work to a varying degree. Repellents generally need to be applied pretty often (often at least once per week) to be effective. Here’s a Link for Trapping Services in Ohio.
Repels All Animal Repellent
My favorite repellent is Repels-All. It comes in both 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. Here’s a link to Purchase Repels All Animal Repellent
Laying down a chicken wire or chain link fence over the areas that the animals are digging can work sometimes but is a bit labor intensive. Make sure to move it every few days so the grass doesn’t get too tangled in it.
There is no way to keep animals out of your yard 100% but these tips should help minimize damage. Give Good Nature a call for organic and natural solutions to all your lawn and garden issues. And the next time an animal digs up your lawn, after you get upset, remember they’re just trying to fatten up to survive the winter :).