Lawn Damage from Raccoons and Skunks: Get Rid of the Grubs!

extensive lawn damage from raccoons and skunks

You’ve nurtured your lawn all summer long, and the effort shows. It’s in glorious condition, so obviously now after all your hard work you can get lawn damage from skunks and raccoons. This is the time of year when skunks and raccoons are busy tearing up lawns looking for a grubs. The damage that they can cause to a lawn can be extensive as they search for a tasty meal. I am not sure how they know that grubs are present, but it may be that they can smell the grubs themselves or the fecal matter that they produce… yum. To get rid of skunks and raccoons, you need to get rid of grubs.

How Can These Pests Damage Your Lawn?

Just like a dog, raccoons or skunks will walk across a lawn with their nose to the ground. Their sense of smell is very acute and they are able to detect smells that humans cannot. Once they locate some grubs, they will tear up the lawn, pulling back chunks of turf in search of more food. They may return night after night, trying to see if there are any grubs that they missed the night before. I encountered a situation once where a raccoon returned to the same lawn the following spring and did a little exploratory digging in search of grubs.

What Kinds of Pests Search for Grubs?

Skunks and raccoons are not the only creatures that will feed on grubs. Crows will search for them as well. They usually don’t tear up your turf to the same extent that raccoons or skunks will, but they still can make a mess of your lawn. I once came across a deer, of all things, looking for grubs by clawing at the ground with its hooves. Grubs are a very popular snack to many different creatures.

What to Do if You Have This Damage?

If your lawn does suffer from this type of activity, there is not much you can do to deter animals from returning. I have read that some people try sprinkling cayenne pepper over the area, but this could result in the pepper getting into the eyes of the animal, causing extreme distress, and they may damage their eyes as they try to get the pepper out. I wouldn’t suggest using that method. If the area is not too large, you can try covering it with chicken wire to frustrate them as they try to dig. Don’t leave the chicken wire in place too long though, as it will become more difficult to remove as the turf grows through the holes.

How to Repair Your Damaged Turf?

Pushing the pulled up turf back into place can be a lesson in futility as the raccoons or skunks will come back again and again until the food source is exhausted and your lawn damage is extensive. From my experience, they will keep returning for about a week or so. Once they are done digging, you can start the repair process. This generally means smoothing the area as best as possible and then overseeding. In the more northern areas where cool-season grasses are grown, overseeding can be done until about the second week of October. Keeping the area watered will also help the grass to regrow as well.

Applying an insect control to the areas where the digging is occurring can be done, but these products are not going to eliminate the grubs overnight. The grubs have to ingest the material in order to be controlled and it takes several days if not weeks for this to occur. The better choice is to repair the area this fall and make sure you apply a preventative grub control application next summer.

If you’re fed up with lawn damage from skunks and raccoons, leave the lawn and pest care to the experts. Enter your zip code to find the Spring-Green closest to you.