“Help, the Raccoons & Skunks Are Tearing Up My Lawn!”

Lawn torn up due to skunks/raccoons digging holes

Lawn torn up due to skunks/raccoons digging holes

What’s in This Guide About Raccoons Tearing Up Lawns:

  1. How to Stop Raccoons & Skunks from Digging up Your Lawn
  2. FAQ About Best Lawn Care Practices

This is the common call of thousands of frantic homeowners every spring to our lawn experts as the soil warms and they look out to find animals have been digging holes in their yard.  We hate that we have to say ‘we can’t stop the raccoons’, but it is true. Raccoons are smart, stubborn, and have good memories. They will keep flipping up grass so long as they think there might be food underneath, and it is easy for them to do it.  But don’t fret, if you understand the problem, you’re much closer to the solution!

Here’s how to stop skunks & raccoons from digging up your lawn: Make it hard for them to dig, apply nematodes, use aeration, keep the soil wet, use cayenne pepper & unroll chicken-wire over the area along with these 12 tips.

lawnsavers raccoon digging up lawnHow to Stop Raccoons & Skunks from Digging up My Lawn

  1. Raccoons won’t waste a lot of effort for no reward, so they can be discouraged. If you make it really hard for them to dig, and keep the amount of food they can find from digging down, they’ll go looking elsewhere. (think chain link fence or netting laid over top of the area)
  2. Remember: Nematodes ONLY work on young larvae in LATE summer/early fall! ONLY apply Nematodes right when the new eggs have hatched into larvae.  Current Nematodes in the market can not kill mature larvae in the Spring (Don’t waste your money!)  Grubs move deeper into the soil when the soil temperature is cool, Animals wont dig 6-8″ down, they want an easy lunch up top in the 1st inch of soil.
  3. Grub Control with Nematodes is certainly part of the fix. Getting a preventative treatment every year in August or September – especially in neighbourhoods known to have grub (and skunk and raccoon) problems – will not only keep your grass well rooted and hard to flip up, but will prevent a bumper crop of grubs from eating your roots and turning your lawn into a raccoon buffet.  Rooting of the grass is key because it makes digging difficult.
  4. Keep the soil wet before AND after the Nematodes are applied.
  5.  If critters do flip up the turf, fold it back ASAP before it dries out, water it and get a root-building fertilizer on it.  It’s important to avoid further turfgrass death.
  6. Cayenne pepper, coyote urine (or ‘marking your territory’ yourself!) or commercial repellents are all ‘somewhat’ effective. (hit and miss)
  7. If your lawn is small enough, unrolling chicken-wire over the areas where the raccoon’s like to dig can frustrate them.  Just remember to move it every few days so it doesn’t grow into the lawn.
  8.  We recommend a motion-activated sprinkler like “the scarecrow” that blasts the furry bandits with cold water when they walk into detecting range.
  9. Prevention is key.  Focus on developing healthy turf with strong roots through proper nutrients, aeration and over-seeding.   A thick, healthy well-rooted lawn with proactive care is the best answer to avoid the frantic call of “may-day”!
  10. Understand the problem: The turf is flipping up easy because the grub larvae ate the roots all last fall.
  11. Animals digging is a symptom, and usually means there are grubs underneath BUT its not always the case- confirm visually the presence and number of grubs in a small 1 sq. ft. patch
  12. Vole tracks that you see in the spring are not indicative of grubs. In fact Voles are Vegetarians and do not eat grubs.  For more information see: Voles in my lawn

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There are no guarantees with Raccoon’s or Skunks and trying to get them to stop wrecking your grass, but a good combination of these tools and techniques should discourage them enough that your lawn isn’t destroyed.

Call the lawn care experts near you at LawnSavers to help you get your lawn green & healthy and fighting off grubs proactively & naturally!

lawnsavers raccoons & skunks tearing up yard

FAQ About Best Lawn Care Practices

🌱 How Many Times a Week Should You Water Your Lawn?

You need to water at least once a week for at least an hour, this generally provides 1-1.5″ of water to the roots (a tuna cans height) (exceptions: 1. when you seed &  2. if you have an automated system 3. When we are experiencing extreme heat).
New Seeding Watering: Seed must be kept moist until established.  This will be influenced by the amount of sun, wind and heat you are experiencing in your particular area.  It is normal to require 3-4 short waterings per day to maintain a moist seedbed.  Use a light stream of water to lessen disturbance of the seedbed.

lawnsavers raccoon digging up lawn (1)

🌱 What is Aeration?

Natural aeration is the process of air exchange between the soil and its surrounding atmosphere. Sometimes this process needs a little help, and that is where liquid aeration, the process of either applying a blend of soil enhancing materials OR mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn, is used to improve soil aeration.

🌱 What is the Proper Height to Mow Grass To Keep It Healthy?

In the spring (May-June) and fall (September-November), your lawn should be kept at the 2.5 – 3-inch mark and in the hotter and drier summer periods at least 3 inches.  Contrary to popular belief, if you cut the lawn shorter it doesn’t make it grow at a slower rate, it can actually cause it to lose moisture and scorch.

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Check out our 385 reviews on HomeStars where we have an average 9/10 rating.

Here’s what Michael from Markham said on Homestars:

I’ve had LawnSavers servicing my lawn for the past 2 years. I had a great experience with their PowerSeeding, which helped bring my backyard lawn back to life (spent 3 years prior, without luck, trying to get grass to grow there)

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Date: 2017-07-05

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  • Opening up – Let’s get outside together and Grow Healthy Lawns and Trees. updated: 04/27/22

    Hi Everyone, 

    LawnSavers persevered through the pandemic with the loyal partnership and support of our clients.  We are extremely grateful to our loyal customers. AND we are thrilled to learn we were the only lawn care company in the GTA awarded the first BEST OF THE BEST Award from

    We are fully open and alredy performing lawn and pest control services in all our GTA service areas.

    Please note with many people still working from home, our service is experiencing a higher demand and volume of calls.
    We know how much everyone hates being left on hold, so please feel free to  leave us a message,  or email and we will get back to you in less than 24 hours.  (you can also text us at 905-707-9994)

    Please be patient with us, we will get back to you as fast as we can and will do
    our very best to help you.

    You can also sign up for all services on our website by clicking here.

    2021 is now behind us.  Together with our customers, we embrace opening up as a community-minded local small family business and are extremely grateful to be able to survive and keep all of our loyal employees working hard with us through it all.

    2020-21 important turf and tree high (and low) lights:

      • Nine days of snow, ice and wintry weather in May 2020,
        2021 was the driest April, May, and June in 51 years See Actual GTA daily weather records by clicking here.
      • One of the hottest, driest summers on record in 2020 with long spells of grass-killing heat and drought. Read more here in our 2020 summary blog.
        2021 carried on this trend with only a few days of rain in July and August, with extreme dryness and heat.
      • A bumper crop of crabgrass that germinated in the perfect (rainless) storm. As expected, even more arrived this past summer in 2021!
      • Chinch Bug numbers in 2020 were record breaking and persisted through the dry heat they love, secretly killing lawns while dormant! We can help with Chinch bug damage  Expect even more this summer!
      • Fall of 2021 provided excellent conditions for lawn that were treated through the summer with our recovery amendments to bounce back and regain their vigour. (thanks for the positive feedback!)
    • We put together an easy to read lawn care service timeline that you can use to know when to expect us for each scheduled service in your package. 

    Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our employees and customers.  Safety, Integrity and doing the right thing are som of our most important Core Values.  We will continue to follow strict safety guidelines that ensure “low/no touch”.  We will not let our guard down on exercising our safety protocols!

    Thank you all for your understanding and extra patience during these challenging times. Our team works hard, so if you are met with our exceptional service from our technicians or office team members- please give them a thumbs up to make them smile or let me know through a quick email to

    We thank you for supporting our local, family-owned business of 32 years.
     genuinely appreciate you and promise that we will do our part to ensure our mutual safety.

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Tobin
    Chief Environmental Officer