Unwanted Digging

(Question)

I have a small north-facing garden in East York. I have no grass. (My neighbours have grass with lots of grubs.) Something has been digging in the soil of my gardens. When I pulled up some thyme that had been mistreated by the digger, I found a grub in the soil. Yesterday I purchased moth balls which are individually packaged in plastic. I wrapped each package in a piece of pantyhose, tied it up, and placed them around the garden. This morning I found one of these, still wrapped, in the water bowl that I keep outside. I don’t want to poison the digger, just to deter it. Do you think that I am on the right track with the wrapped-up moth balls? Thank you very much. Jennifer

(Answer)

 

Shallow “divots” in lawns or mulched areas can be a sign of raccoons, squirrels or skunks looking for insects. If plants are pulled up mostly at night it is likely raccoons. Squirrels will also pull up plants but usually during the day. ¬†Since the mothball was moved to a water bowl and not just dug up, I suspect a raccoon is your culprit. They are difficult to control. The first thing I would recommend is to take the water bowl in at night and do not leave any animal food outside. Make sure there are no places for raccoons to den ie under sheds or decks, in garages or hollow trees etc. A motion sensor night light may also help deter night visitors. There are also motion sensor water sprayers on the market but these may end up drenching forgetful gardeners instead.

As Master Gardeners we do not recommend using moth balls to deter wildlife due to the adverse effect of chemicals in the product.

Please see this link from the Ontario Government for more information on raccoons and other pests:https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-small-animals