Ground cover dug up nightly

(Question)

The ground-cover in my Toronto garden is being dug up every night. Every morning there are huge clumps turned upside down, with an absolute mess. What animal do you think this is, and what can I do to prevent it? There do not appear to be any tunnels. Below is a ‘before’ picture, to show the type of ground over.

image

(Answer)

The culprit is likely a raccoon.  Raccoons will tear up lawns,gardens and mulch piles looking for insects. Raccoons use their front paws to pull and flip over sod,plants and ground covers and damage is extensive with shallow rooted plants.  They feed at night looking for grubs, earthworms and other soil insects.

Some ways to prevent animal damage are spraying the plants with vegetable oil, raccoons don’t like getting their coats oily.  Snakes are a natural predator of raccoons, so rubber snakes or 18″ sections of black hose can can be used in the garden. Another method to deter raccoons is having moving objects such as balloons, strips of cloth that blow in the wind. A natural method for eliminatinf grubs in the lawn is the addition of beneficial nematodes.

Please refer to our posts to  simialr questions: Grubs in LawnGrey Grubs in Lawn and White Grub Alert

There is the possibility that the culprit could be a skunk.  In this instance there would be conical shaped holes instead of having the ground turned over. Control for skunks is similar to raccoons.