How To Stop Animals From Digging Holes In Your Lawn

Animals digging up your lawn can feel like a problem that doesn’t go away.

Because if there’s something attractive about your property they come back again and again.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective methods to put a stop to it.

Let’s take a look at what you can do.

Why Are Animals Digging?

Most of the time, the reason why animals like raccoons, skunks, and moles are digging up your garden is that they’re searching for food. And they often return to places where they’ve found it in the past. Which can mean a persistent problem for you.

But, searching for food isn’t the only reason animals will dig in your yard. Some dig to make their nest to care for their young. Unfortunately, if the location they choose is on your property, this might involve a lot of digging!

Is It The Grubs?

grub in soil being held

Lawn grubs are a source of food for some animals

One of the main food sources your unwanted visitors are looking for are grubs.

It’s common even in a healthy lawn to find as many as 5 grubs per sq. ft. Which means that under an average sized lawn of 5,000 sq. ft. you could have as many as 25,000 grubs.

That’s a lot of grubs, and it’s no wonder that animals will take an interest.

But you can have even more than that. And when a digging animal finds a good food source it’s sure to come back for more.

Signs of a grub problem on your lawn include small patches of dead brown grass dotted around your lawn. As the roots are damaged by the grubs this grass will pull up easily. Eventually, these small areas get bigger and join up as the grubs expand their feeding zone.

It’s a good idea to reduce the presence of this food source. To check that grubs are there use the following method:

  • Get a bottle of liquid dish detergent.
  • Mix 4 tablespoons of the detergent with 2 gallons of water.
  • Soak the affected areas with the solution including some of the green grass next to them.
  • Within minutes the grubs should come to the surface.

This doesn’t kill them. So once you confirm their presence, use a suppression treatment such as this one on Amazon:

BioAdvanced Grub Control

Although this helps remove some of the encouragement for your digging visitors, it won’t completely keep them away. For that, you’ll need to employ some of the methods below as well.

If you’re planning on growing new grass to repair your lawn check out our guide to the best rated fertilizer for new grass

How To Stop Animals Digging Holes

fresh molehills on the grass

Earthy deposits on the grass are a telltale sign of mole activity

Here are some tips you can try to prevent animals from digging in your yard:

Removing Problem Animals

A good method for stopping the problem is to remove the animal from the area. Once you’ve identified what type of animal it is that’s doing the digging, lay down an appropriately sized trap.

Once caught, relocate the animal to an area 10 miles or more from your property. If you have trouble doing it yourself, or if there are too many, professional trapping services can help.

Apply Nematodes

The non-chemical way to reduce the number of grubs in your soil is to increase the number of nematodes.

These microscopic roundworms are only effective when used around mid to late August in most summers. 

If you know you have a grub problem, apply them each year at the right time to prevent your lawn from being infested. Giving less of a reason for raccoons and skunks to tear up your yard.

Once in the ground, they’re effective for up to 2 years.

Animal Repellents

Another way of deterring animals from digging up your lawn is to lay down some animal repellent.

We like this product on Amazon:

All Natural Animal Repellent

Spray it around your yard at least once a week to keep skunks and raccoons away.

Physical Barriers

First, make sure the animals aren’t actually living in your yard. Then reinforce your physical barriers.

Check the fence and consider putting chicken wire across any spaces that are letting them in. Also, make sure that the fence goes down 6 inches into the soil to prevent them from digging under.

Remove Attractions

Be careful not to leave anything else lying around that might tempt them in.

Clearing away food sources left outside such as fallen fruit or anything else that’s rotting and giving off a strong scent is a good idea.

Also, sources of cover such as shrubs and woodpiles can encourage them to return.

What Animal Is Digging In Your Lawn?

Here are some of the most common culprits:

Moles – Live underground and create tunnels as they burrow through the earth. Easy to spot by the molehills they leave behind.

Skunks – Have a reputation for being precise diggers that leave small holes overnight as they search for food, creating a pseudo aeration. It’s a good idea to broadcast grass seed over the damage they cause.

Raccoon – Cause more damage than the previous 2, flipping over entire sections of turf. They forage for food at night, but If you find the damage in time it’s possible to repair it by flipping the sod back in place and giving it a good water.

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