This is the common call of thousands of frantic homeowners every spring 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.
How to Stop Raccoons & Skunks from Digging up My Lawn
- 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)
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.
- 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.
- Keep the soil wet before AND after the Nematodes are applied.
- 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.
- Cayenne pepper, coyote urine (or ‘marking your territory’ yourself!) or commercial repellents are all ‘somewhat’ effective. (hit and miss)
- 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.
- We recommend a motion-activated sprinkler like “the scarecrow” that blasts the furry bandits with cold water when they walk into detecting range.
- 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”!
- Understand the problem: The turf is flipping up easy because the grub larvae ate the roots all last fall.
- 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
- 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
There are no guarantees with Raccoon’s, but a good combination of these tools and techniques should discourage them enough that your lawn isn’t destroyed.
Call LawnSavers to help you get your lawn green & healthy and fighting off grubs proactively & naturally!
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.
🌱 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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“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)”