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How To Stop Raccoons Digging Up Your Lawn

If you have found an animal that has been digging holes in your garden, you might be surprised to find it is raccoons. In this article, we look at why and how to stop 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.

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

How to stop raccoons digging up your lawn infographic

How Do You Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Yard?

Raccoons can cause serious 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 the most effective ways of keeping raccoons from damaging your lawn is to take away 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 Lawnbox grubout. Once the grubs have been removed, you also need to take other actions to ensure raccoons will not return.  Raccoons are able to flip over the turf because the grass roots were eaten last fall so it is essential that you 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.

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.

Grub Killer

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

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

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

Removal

You may lack the appropriate equipment to trap raccoons, but hiring a wildlife operator is an excellent step to make. 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 of these myself, but my friend loves his. Some people say they don’t work as the raccoons get used to them. However, if you are in an urban area, raccoons will quickly move on to an easier target in your neighborhood. You can find it on Amazon here.

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.

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 small electric fence may be the answer. A stretch of electric fence no higher than 10 inches should be enough to keep raccoons off your lawn.

Netting or Chicken Wire

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

Raccoons are the largest in the procyonid family. They have a body of about 70 inches and weigh about 5-26 kgs. They have a grayish coat with dense underfur to insulate the animal against cold weather. 

They have many distinctive features, with a facial mask, ringed tail, and extremely skillful front paws. These animals are also known for their intelligence. Studies suggest that these animals can remember a solution to some tasks for up to three years. 

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 lawn for insects. 

raccoon digging

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 lawn. The main reason why they invade your yard is in search of food.

They are likely to dig in your lawn, looking for insects and plants to eat. They usually target larval insects, which is why you may notice small individual holes in your lawn.

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 also dig holes in your lawn include skunks and squirrels. Skunks will dig holes in your lawn in search of food, while squirrels will dig up your lawn 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 appearances of brown spots in the lawn. If you notice that these spots are increasing in size, raccoons are probably expanding their territories. 

The main reason why 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 lawn, including raccoons, will be looking for worms, insects, and grubs. If animals are digging up your lawn, 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 will not leave deep holes in your lawn.

If you are careful enough, you will be able to determine which animal is digging your lawn.

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

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 lawn can host up to 5 grubs in every square foot. For example, a lawn of 5,000 square feet can be home to up to 25,000 grubs.

It would be difficult to kill all the grubs, and they do so much good 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 a number of different homemade raccoon repellents you can make yourself. If you don’t like the smell of hot sauce or ammonia then you can try vinegar or Epsom salts. If you have pets then I really cannot recommend any of these.

Spicy mixture

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

Ammonia

  • 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

Vinegar

  • Apple cider vinegar can be placed around the perimeter and around 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 a great fertilizer for your yard

Conclusion

There are no guarantees that you will be able to stop raccoons from entering your garden completely using any of the above methods. However, a combination of the above techniques will see the damage to your garden minimized and the number of raccoons invading your property reduced significantly. 

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