Animal Hibernation in My Lawn: Should I Care?

bunnies

From rabbits and raccoons to skunks and other critters, you likely have animals hibernating in your neighborhood at this very moment and they’re about to wake up. The question is: should you even care? Are these hibernating animals simply a part of our ecosystem that we should live and let live with, or are they posing a threat to the health and wellbeing of our lawns? This is a common concern of home and business owners worried about keeping their outdoor landscapes looking good (and healthy) all year long.

The good news is, Spring-Green, America’s neighborhood lawn care specialists, has all the information you need to understand hibernation patterns, how to prevent damage to your lawn during this time, and what to expect when the seasons change. So, let’s get started in learning about animal hibernation and protecting our lawns from animal-related damage from winter.

What You Need-to-Know About Animal Hibernation and Your Lawn

  • When, What, Why, and How Do Animals Hibernate? Rabbits, raccoons, skunks, and most insects are the more common animals that can be found hibernating near an average homeowner’s lawn each winter. It’s an interesting thing this hibernation and the way Mother Nature helps animals survive winter. Here’s how it works:
raccoon

During the winter months, many animals go into hibernation in order to conserve energy during the harshest season. During hibernation, their body temperature falls, their metabolism, heart rate, and breathing slows, and their fat stores are only used to perform essential functions, such as breathing. With an internal clock that “wakes them up” just in time for warmer seasons, hibernation naturally comes to an end in Spring and Summer. Hibernation lengths vary based on the species and location but range from three to six months on average.

  • How Do Animals Impact My Yard When They Go into/Wake Up From Hibernation? Now that we’ve gotten schooled on the details of hibernation, let’s get at the real question – how does all this impact my lawn, trees, and shrubs? While the phenomenon of hibernation makes for interesting reading, it can wreak havoc on winter and spring lawns. The types of animals that hibernate in your neighborhood will vary by region, and some are more destructive than others. Here are a few examples of the types of damage that can occur…
    • Digging Holes in The Lawn – This is the most common issue caused by animals that hibernate as they feed on grubs or other insects before resting for the winter.
    • Burrowing in the Lawn – Burrows can cause many problems, including damage to the lawn, and are typically caused by groundhogs and woodchucks as they prepare for winter hibernation.
baby skunk
  • How to Reduce Animal Damage? Coyote urine is a deterrent for keeping raccoons and skunks at bay. Gardeners also have luck by adding netting around the perimeter of their lawn to keep these rodents at bay. Deer can be kept away with a store-bought deer repellant, especially applied to blooming tulips or other tasty plants. Some people hang bars of very fragrant soap around the plants that deer like to feed on during the winter, such as arbor vitae, to keep away the deer.

If you’re unsure how to rid your lawn of unwanted pests or of what’s causing damage to your trees, shrubs, and plants, you always have a team of lawn care professionals standing by to assist, at Spring-Green. Contact our team to help you determine the cause of the problem and develop a plan of action to keep your lawn healthy all year long.

Contact a Spring-Green Lawn Care Pro Today!

Controlling and Getting Rid of Grubs in the Lawn

grub up close

If you had a problem with grubs in your lawn last year, this is the time to apply a preventative grub control treatment to keep them from becoming a problem again this year. Waiting until activity is seen to start getting rid of the grubs in your lawn could mean you need a major lawn overhaul. In some cases, it is not as much from the grubs feeding on the root system of your lawn, but from raccoons, skunks, armadillos, or other foraging animals digging through your lawn, looking for an evening snack.

What Are Grubs?

Grubs are the larval stage of a scarab beetle. There are at least seven different species of beetles that produce grubs that damage lawns to varying degrees. In the Midwest, Japanese Beetles and Northern Masked Chafers are the most prevalent. In the South, Japanese Beetles, Green June Beetles and Southern Masked Chafers are the most common species.

In the Northeast, Asiatic Garden Beetles, European Chafers, Oriental Beetles, Northern Masked Chafers and Japanese Beetles as the most common culprits. The Pacific Northwest usually does not have a serious need for grub control, but May Beetles will show up every now and then. Some of these are native to the US and others are imported.

The beetle that seems to cause the most damage is the Japanese beetle, as the adults feed on many trees and flowering plants. The female adult lays her eggs in turf areas, which then hatch into lawn-damaging grubs. The Japanese beetle adults will start hatching soon and begin feeding. In some southern areas, the adults may already be active.

What Do Grubs Eat?

Grubs act like mini sod cutters and feed on anything that is on front of them. They eat soil, roots, thatch, and other organic material. If a lawn is being watered on a regular basis, you may not even know that they are a problem until some skunk, raccoon or armadillo comes along and rips up your lawn.

skunk and raccoon damage

How Do I Prevent Grubs?

In order to get rid of grubs in the lawn, the best defense is to apply a preventative grub control now, before the eggs hatch, to prevent them from becoming a problem. The insect control material has to be watered well in order to move it into the soil where the insect can come in contact with it.

Contact your local Spring-Green office to schedule this important preventative application before it is too late.