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How To Stop Raccoons Digging Up Your Lawn

If you have found an animal digging holes in your garden, you might be surprised to discover it is a raccoon.

Raccoons feed on the grubs in your lawn. The most effective method to stop raccoons from digging up your property is reducing grubs in the soil. Beneficial nematodes will kill the larvae of cockchafer beetles, ants, fleas, moths, beetles, flies, weevils, and other pests that raccoons feed on. Raccoons want an easy meal, so make it difficult for them.

I recently found a raccoon digging up my lawn. I couldn’t believe how destructive they could be. In this article, we look at why and how to stop them.

How to stop raccoons digging up your lawn infographic

How Do You Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Yard?

Raccoons are nocturnal and can cause severe damage to your lawn as they search for food. If you are sure raccoons are causing the damage, it is best to stop them. One of the best and most effective ways of keeping raccoons from damaging your lawn is to remove the underlying cause. 

By realizing they are after food growing inside the lawn and the soil, you can remove the cause. Reduce the number of grubs using Scotts GrubEx1. Once the grubs have been removed, you must also take other actions to ensure raccoons will not return. Raccoons can flip over the turf because the grass roots were eaten last fall, so you must treat your lawn in August or September.

I also use an ultrasonic animal repelled in my garden. I have had great success in keeping other animals away from my garden using this as well. Because I live in a rural area, I am used to seeing coyotes. Because I see them, I know that raccoons are also aware of them. Coyote urine can be a good deterrent in rural areas, although many people have said they don’t work in urban areas.

Removing other food sources, such as pet food left outside, will stop raccoons from returning, and purchasing a raccoon-proof bird feeder may also help.

Are crows digging up your lawn? Find out why and what to do about it here

Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

I use a solar-powered flashing light and ultrasonic animal repeller in my garden. They are humane, use no chemicals, and the one I use is waterproof with a range of up to 20 feet. I recommend this solar animal repeller, but they are all quite similar.

Phosooy Ultrasonic Animal Repeller, 2 Packs Waterproof Solar Animal Deterrent Device Motion Activated to Repel Cats, Dogs, Squirrel, Rats, Skunks, Raccoons & Deer
  • ADJUSTABLE SENSITIVITY & MODE: There are two knots for you to adjust the mode and sensitivity to a right condition you need.
  • 2 WAYS FOR POWER SUPPLY: Phosooy ultrasonic animal repeller is equipped with solar panel for power supply, and it also supports being charged with USB cable. When device is in charging, the red indicator will light up, and then turns to green after fully charged. Please place the device where the solar panel can get maximum exposure to sunlight.
  • HARMLESS & EFFECIENT: The effective working distance is 26-33ft with 110 degree effective range.
  • PERFECT FOR OUTDOOR USE: The device works well on rainy days with fine drizzling rain owing to its IP44 waterproof grade, and is great ideal to be mounted on the wall or inserted into ground with the spikes.

Grub Killer

Raccoons are digging up your turf for food. Grubs are an easy, effective food source for them, and you must limit how many are on your property. The only way to reduce raccoons digging up your property is to buy a good grub killer. I have started using Scotts GrubEx1. It lasts all season with one application and is 100% organic to give you a healthy lawn.

Use the grub killer for the best coverage in the warmer summer and fall months. Grub killer only works on young larvae, so you must use it after the new eggs have hatched. I don’t know of any nematodes that can kill larvae in colder temperatures, even in Spring.

I usually treat my grass in August or September and have had great success keeping raccoons away for the last few years.

Scotts GrubEx1 - Grub Killer for Lawns, Kills White Grubs, Sod Webworms and Larvae of Japanese Beetles & More, Lawn Treatment for Season Long Grub Control, Treats up to 10,000 sq. ft., 28.7 lb.
  • One application in the spring or early summer kills and prevents grubs and armyworms for 4 months
  • Helps prevent root damage caused by insects for a stronger lawn
  • Prevents turf damage by killing grubs when they are young
  • Kills 25 percent more grub types vs original GrubEx
  • Scotts products are designed to work with Scotts spreaders


You may lack the appropriate equipment to trap raccoons, but hiring a wildlife operator to trap and remove them is an excellent step. Make sure they remove them and relocate them humanely. Look for a local removal expert for advice.

Motion-activated Sprinkler

You can consider using a motion-activated water sprinkler to act as a deterrent to scare them away. Raccoons and other animals are afraid of the sudden movement and spray of the water. I haven’t used one, but my friend loves it. Some say they don’t work as the raccoons get used to them. However, raccoons will quickly move on to an easier target in your neighborhood if you are in an urban area. You can find it on Amazon here.

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler with Day & Night Detection Modes,Black
  • HUMANELY DETERS ANIMALS AND PESTS: Keeps animals out of plants, yards and gardens using a harmless spray of water
  • UNIQUE DAY AND NIGHT DETECTION: The only deterrent sprinkler on the market with options for day only, night only, or 24 hour protection, giving you the flexibility to ensure the Yard Enforcer only activates when you need it
  • STABLE DESIGN: Simply press spike into soil or turf to firmly hold the Yard Enforcer in place.
  • SAVE WATER AND BATTERY LIFE: Includes sensing technology for optimum water and battery conservation; get over 7,500 activation cycles on just 4 AA alkaline batteries and as little as 2 cups of water per activation.
  • INTELLIGENT SENSING TECHNOLOGY: Sensing technology learns the difference between trees and animals, so your water will not activate every time the wind blows.

Coyote or Wolf Urine

Coyote or wolf urine is excellent at keeping raccoons away. As natural predators, raccoons will keep far away from the smell of a coyote or wolf. However, this only works in areas where coyotes prey on raccoons. If raccoons don’t know the usual scent of a coyote or wolf, they won’t recognize their smell, and it won’t keep them away.

If you are used to seeing coyotes around your property, then coyote urine is a great deterrent.

PredatorPee Original Fox Urine -Territorial Marking Scent-16oz Spray Bottle Combo with ScentTags
  • Harness the power of natures communication system from the original brand in the pee business, PredatorPee - Est. 1986.
  • PredatorPee Fox Urine creates the illusion that a fox is nearby.
  • PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS: Package contains (1) 16oz PredatorPee Fox Urine - Territorial Marking Scent and 10 ScentTags to create a 120 pee-rimeter. Reapply urine about once a week or after a rain.

Coyotes survive the winter through some remarkable adaptations. Find out more here.

Electric Fence

Raccoons are not fans of electric fencing, so if you have a problem with raccoons flipping your lawn for an easy meal, then a little electric fence may be the answer. A stretch of the electric wall above 10 inches should be enough to keep raccoons from digging holes in your yard.

Netting or Chicken Wire

Raccoons want an easy meal, and putting bird netting or chicken wire over the lawn can make them move onto a more leisurely meal in the neighborhood. If you use bird netting, you can leave it on the property, but if you use chicken wire, it is best to move it every few days so it doesn’t grow into the property.

Raccoons are omnivores and eat a large number of insects. Environmental changes have forced them to start living in urban areas. This is the reason why most people regard them as pests. They can cause a lot of harm to gardens as they eat plants and dig in the grass for insects. 

If you want to know more about where raccoons live, I have written an article. Click here to find out more.

Why Do Raccoons Dig Up My Lawn?

Raccoons can destroy plants in your garden and dig up your turf. The main reason why they invade your yard is in search of food.

They will likely dig in your lawn, looking for insects and plants to eat. They usually target larval insects so that you may notice small individual holes in your yard.

Raccoons generally only dig at night. This may mean that it can be a little difficult for you to spot them digging holes in your lawn.

Other animals that may dig holes in your lawn include skunks and squirrels. Skunks will drill holes in your yard for food, and property squirrels will dig up your yard to bury food. The ultrasonic animal repellent works well on all of these animals.

Some of the most common symptoms of grubs in your lawn will be drying grass, especially two to three inches in diameter, and the appearance of brown spots in the yard. If you notice that these spots are increasing in size, raccoons are probably expanding their territories. 

The main reason your lawn is being dug up is that there are plenty of grubs. These are the larvae stage of a beetle that serves as a rich source of proteins for raccoons and many other animals.

The grubs have brown heads and white or grey bodies. They are always an attraction to raccoons, which can end up causing a lot of damage to your lawn.

They are likely to destroy grass around these areas, which means you have to do something to stop the raccoons from coming around your home.

Most animals that dig up your grass, including raccoons, will look for worms, insects, and grubs. If animals are digging up your property, you most likely have a grub problem.

Want to know if raccoons are dangerous? Find out here

Which Animal Is Digging?

The first way to determine the animals is to observe the type of holes. Moles will create tunnels and mounds, but raccoons will flip over whole sections of turf. Raccoons are looking for food, but moles are looking for food and shelter. On the other hand, Skunks will dig precisely and not leave deep holes in your lawn.

You can determine which animal is digging your lawn if you are careful enough.

Many animals can cause the same problem. However, if you suspect raccoons are responsible, you must do something about it. Many gardeners will have an issue with these animals unless something is done to reduce the number of grubs. 

Do you know where wolves live in North America? Find out here.

raccoon digging

Want to know more about what raccoons eat? Click here

How Many Grubs Are Too Many?

A healthy lawn always has a certain number of grubs. A property can host up to 5 grubs in every square foot. For example, a property of 5,000 square feet can be home to up to 25,000 grubs.

It would be difficult to kill all the grubs; they do so much suitable for your garden and their natural habitat that you probably shouldn’t. 

However, you can take some measures that will minimize the numbers significantly. Experts advise that killing all the grubs is very difficult, even if you use harsh chemicals. 

The best action to minimize bugs growing is to use a natural suppression treatment, eventually minimizing food for raccoons. One of the best controls is the use of organic grub control.

What Scents Will Keep Raccoons Away?

Raccoons have an excellent sense of smell to find food. While this can attract raccoons to your garden, it also means that you can put scents around that they don’t like.

Raccoons don’t like strong smells such as peppermint, onions, garlic, chilis, and even natural predator scents such as coyote or wolf urine. However, these natural scents only seem to work in areas where raccoons know what these smells are, such as rural areas.

Another strong smell that raccoons don’t like is coffee. Once you have finished your coffee for the day, throw the coffee grounds in your garden, as this may keep raccoons away. This also works for deer as well.

How To Make Homemade Raccoon Repellent

There are several different homemade raccoon repellents you can make yourself. If you don’t like the smell of hot sauce or ammonia, you can try vinegar or Epsom salts. If you have pets, I cannot recommend any of these.

Spicy Mixture

  • Mix a gallon of water with a bottle of hot sauce or cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap
  • Spray the mixture around garbage bins, the perimeter of your property, and any entry points


  • Ammonia can be placed in small open jars around the perimeter of your property and around the garbage.
  • Rags can be dipped into ammonia and placed around the property


  • Apple cider vinegar can be placed around the perimeter, and the garbage in small jars.
  • Dip rags into apple cider vinegar and place them around the entry points

Epsom Salts

  • Epsom salts can be spread around your garden to deter raccoons
  • Epsom salts also make an excellent fertilizer for your yard


There are no guarantees that you will be able to stop raccoons from entering your garden completely using any of the above methods. However, combining the above techniques will reduce the damage to your green and the n, number of raccoons invading your property. 

If you or someone you know loves raccoons, check out some of my favorite raccoon gifts on Amazon.