Taking care of your lawn or your yard is much easier said than done. You might spend a lot of time and money setting up your yard properly, only to wake up the next day to find that animals have burrowed throughout the yard.
These pesky rodents and animals can cause considerable damage to your property, and they don’t even realize it! There are quite a few pests that tend to burrow in the ground, such as groundhogs, moles, and voles. Marmots are also a big problem and can cause extensive damage to your property.
There are certain burrowing animals that might be actually good for your ecosystem, but in most cases, they are going to cause extensive damage to all of the efforts you make for keeping your lawn in prime condition. Most of these animals are usually small in size and tend to burrow tunnels in the ground, and can create quite a mess.
This problem is exacerbated during the springtime, as more and more animals start looking for places to hide. There are a number of reasons why animals start to dig up your yard.
Before you start looking at effective ways to combat this problem and come up with a solution, it’s important to understand exactly why these animals are digging in your yard.
So, before we go further, it’s time to talk about the different reasons why these animals might want to dig into your yard.
One of the main reasons why most animals such as raccoons, skunks, and moles dig up your garden is because they are usually foraging for food. If an animal stored some food in your garden, they are probably going to return to the same place that they stored it earlier.
Naturally, this could present a persistent problem. However, searching for food isn’t the only reason why animals tend to dig up your garden.
For certain reasons, animals tend to dig because they want to make a nest and tend to their young. They need a safe and secure spot to give birth and tend to their young.
What About the Grubs?
One of the key reasons why animals tend to burrow in different gardens is because they are generally looking for grubs.
Even if your lawn is healthy and in good condition, it’s still quite common for you to find as many as five grubs per square feet. So, if your lawn is of an average size and around 5,000 square feet, you are generally looking at around 25,000 grubs!
As you can imagine, that’s a lot of grubs, and animals aren’t simply going to sit and let the food pass them by! Now, when a digging animal finds a food source, it’s definitely going to come back again. So, the first thing you need to do is to identify a grub problem, if one exists.
One of the obvious signs that your lawn is infested with grubs is to look for dead brown grass around the lawn. If you notice dead brown grass strewn around in patches in your lawn, it’s probably a grub problem.
The reason why this happens is because the grubs usually damage the roots, and when that happens, the grass is pulled out easily.
With the passage of time, the patches of dead brown leaves are going to get bigger, and will eventually join up as the grubs continue to expand over their feeding zone.
So, the first step that you need to take is to cut down on this food source. If you want to positively identify a grub infestation in your yard, here’s what you need to do:
- Get a liquid-based detergent;
- Then, mix four tablespoons of that detergent with at least one gallon of water;
- Then, soak the affected areas of this solution, along with the green grass close to the brown patches;
- You will notice the grubs coming to the surface within a few minutes.
Keep in mind that this method isn’t going to end up killing the grubs, so you will want to consider using a suppression treatment instead.
Raccoons and skunks usually love to eat grubs. Skunks generally make shallow holes in the ground, aided and abetted by the loose soil.
On the other hand, raccoons use their front paws to pull out clumps of sod and then flip them over whenever they can spot any grubs in the ground. Then, you have rabbits. Rabbits tend to burrow into the ground and are also known for digging in the yard.
So, the first step you need to take is to get rid of the grubs. Thankfully, this isn’t much of a problem. You need to make sure that you buy some high quality treatment sprays and use them all over your yard.
Within a while, you will notice the number of grubs reducing. It’s important that you add beneficial nematodes into your garden.
Adding nematodes or milky spores is a great idea. Nematodes are simply living organisms that enter the bodies of these tiny grubs and release bacteria that end up killing them.
On the other hand, milky spores create a disease that eventually makes the environment unfavorable in the soil, so grubs tend to leave the area or die. Many people try to avoid using chemicals on their lawn, and if you are one of those, it’s best to use these natural methods.
Just like other insect larvae, grubs also grow from eggs, so water is an essential requirement for them to survive.
Therefore, another very low-impact method you can use to get rid of the infestation is to take advantage of natural weather conditions during the summer months, so avoid watering for a month.
But, as mentioned above, grubs aren’t the only reason why animals tend to dig in your yard. So, even if you take care of this problem, there’s still a pretty strong chance that animals will continue to dig in your garden.
So, what else can you do?
Using Conventional Repellent Methods
Many gardeners tend to make use of a variety of household items to take care of this problem.
Common items such as coffee grounds and garlic powder are quite effective at keeping harmful rodents at bay. If you notice active tunnels around your yard, you can just sprinkle it all around the tunnels.
There are also a host of different commercial products available in the market that are designed to keep burrowing animals at bay. Most of the conventional repellents available in the market are castor-oil based, so you can easily use them around pets or children.
There is also an advanced repellent method available in the market. Sonic spikes, as they are called, are pretty effective at keeping rodents at bay.
These spikes tend to emit high frequency noises that the human ear cannot hear, but animals can. They are designed to scare off the animals.
While they are pretty effective at first, you should know that animals tend to understand that these are just noises, and they can eventually overcome their fear. So, you can expect mixed results from these things.
What better way to keep out unwanted visitors from your property than to build barriers? For instance, an underground fence that is made of mesh hardware cloth is pretty effective at keeping out burrowing animals.
Remember, these animals tend to move under the ground, so putting up a fence above the ground isn’t really that effective.
If you want to prevent these animals from getting into your flower beds, the ideal thing to do is to install a simple mesh fence under the ground. Make sure that it’s around at least three feet under the ground.
Now, the initial labor required is pretty intensive, but you should know that the long-term benefits of placing an underground fence around your garden are incomparable to any other method. You need to start off by first digging a trench at least three feet in your garden.
You need to bend the bottom of the hardware cloth to a full 90 degrees so that a flat six-inch surface is created at the base of the fence. Then, you need to insert the fence down into the trench so that the flat edge is protruding outward. The fence also needs to extend at least 15 to 20 inches above the ground.
Once the fence is in place, you can then put the soil back in.
Use Humane Traps
This might not be the most efficient method, but if you are unable to do anything else, you should consider placing humane traps all around the yard. Always use humane traps all around the property, so that when you catch the animals, you can relocate them or call animal services.
To improve the effectiveness of these traps, it’s recommended that you add a few incentives in these traps. Use some food items that have a strong smell to attract them. Also, be careful to check the traps on a daily basis, especially in the morning.
Many burrowing animals love to dig up the yard during the night, because they don’t have to worry about any interference or threats. That is why the chances of them getting caught at night are considerably greater.
Within a few days, these animals are going to die, so it’s important that you take action.
Also, you need to make sure that you choose a trap that is appropriate depending on the size of the animal. For instance, if you have raccoons in your yard, you need to make sure that you choose a trap that is of an appropriate size.
Always relocate the animal more than 10 miles from your house.
Get Rid of Attractions
There are quite a few attractions around the yard that might bring animals into your yard. You need to clear away any food sources on a consistent basis from your garden.
For instance, if you have an oak tree in your yard, there’s a pretty strong likelihood that acorns are going to fall down on a regular basis. You need to get rid of the acorns and fallen fruit from your garden on a regular basis.
It’s a lot of work, of course, but if you want to keep your garden in prime condition, this is what you have to do. Getting rid of fallen fruit from your garden and removing things that have already rotted is quite important.
These food items tend to give off a pretty strong scent, and this is one of the prime attractions for animals.
Moreover, woodpiles and shrubs around the yard might prove to be a source of encouragement for them, causing them to return.
Repairing the Holes
Once you have gotten rid of the animals from your yard and have taken considerable protective measures, you will need to restart the repairs again and carry out landscaping on your yard. You can fill the holes in your yard with soil and then use the underside of a shovel to level the whole thing.
If there are any holes near the house, you should first check them carefully for any signs of structural damage.
If you have doubts that the wall surrounding the property has sustained damage or is sagging, you should get in touch with a local building company. The builders will visit your place and check for any signs of structural damage and then let you know about the costs of repairs.
In most cases, these rodents are unable to cause any kind of harm to the walls of your house, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
These are just a few simple things that you can do to prevent animals from digging holes in your yard. It’s going to require a considerable amount of effort in your yard, but if you don’t want these holes all over, you have to do it!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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