Best way to reduce raccoon and skunk damage to lawn?

Asked June 6, 2013, 4:08 PM EDT

I've searched your site, as well as others, and I'm perplexed about the BEST, most practical course of action to reduce the amount of damage that raccoons and skunks do to our lawn. There can be dozens of new, shallow holes overnight in our 3k sq ft lawn. I did not want to spray a pesticide that will kill desirable earthworms when, perhaps, what we really need is just to reduce the grub population. It is an irrigated lawn. We are in a rural, wooded setting with pond & stream which attract wildlife, but those are permanent features that happen to attract raccoons and skunks. We do NOT have dog or cat food outside, so that is not the problem. We wouldn't mind their visits if they didn't do so much damage to the lawn. The frequency of visits and damage has increased considerably in the last 2 years and wasn't a big problem for many years prior.

Oregon

2 Responses

HI there and thank you for your question. It sounds as though you have a really good understanding of the situation. You're right - your yard has a very attractive set of resources for the critters, so they will continue to interact with it as a habitat area for foraging, etc. I would apply one of the grub-killer pesticides. I believe that your earthworms will be resilient and return. The skunk (most likely culprit for those little inverted-cone-shaped digs) will reduce digging when it doesn't perceive grubs to go after. If preserving the lawn is a high priority and if the above treatment doesn't reduce the damage to acceptable levels, then your fallback option is going to be to keep the skunks away from the lawn. Generally that would mean a fence (above and below ground), although if there were some "favorite spots" where the digging was most intense, you could experiment with laying chicken wire or some other small-orifice barrier over the lawn spots at night.
I hope this information is helpful,
Dana

Thank you so much for your input. We will follow your advice!