Raccoons Digging Lawns

(Question)

Racoons are digging up small (so far) patches of my lawn – resembles a short line of sod if you were laying sod (but smaller than a sod strip). There are probably grubs just below the top of the lawn, so what can I do to stop the raccoons (and any other wildlife) from digging up my lawn. What can I put on the lawn to kill the grubs – something that has no chemicals and is natural? How would I put it down (I don’t want something I have to add to liquid).

So far this is just my back lawn (the front is mainly perennial gardens) and while the digging for grubs has happened other years it has been very sporadic, infrequent and about the size of paw prints. The lawn is in the sun most of the day.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Your lawn damage may also be from skunks as well as raccoons. Both are abundant in the city and both love to dine on grubs. If you have a good crop of grubs the critters will keep visiting in the night until the grubs are gone. At this point they will move on to other yards that have a good supply. It is next to impossible to stop them from digging up the grubs. Most advertised deterrents do not work reliably and some  can be harmful to the animals. That being said if you have that large a grub population the grubs could do permanent damage to your lawn if allowed to mature.

The best solution to stopping spring lawn damage is preventative. Having a thick healthy lawn deters grubs as well as using nematodes. Nematodes are natural and available at your local nurseries. It is extremely important to apply them on the correct dates and to keep your lawn moist after application. You will need to read instructions carefully and your nursery should have recommendations on the correct dates for you neighbourhood.

I have included two articles from our library which discuss grubs as well as overseeding and lawn repair.

Good luck.

 

Grubs in lawn

Overseeding lawn