Racoons digging up lawn
Help. Our back yard looks like a war zone. I used a Havaheart critter-ridder spray last night to save the remaing couple of sq.feet, but they dug it up anyway. Short of setting out a trap, what can we do?
Montgomery County Maryland
There are several types of critters that may dig in the lawn looking for soil insects such as skunks or raccoons and occasionally other critters such as opossums or possibly fox. They are looking for soil insects including earthworms, grubs, and other soil invertebrate. The ground is soft and soil insects are closer to the surface of the soil this time of year.
You can look in the area for grubs. Keep in mind that a few grubs in the lawn is normal and healthy. Lawns usually grow back their roots faster than grubs can eat them. The application of lawn insecticides to kill grubs is not recommended as the critters feed on other available food sources such as earthworms, making grub control ineffective. Grub control products should only be applied to lawns that have experienced a grub infestation.
When grubs feed on turfgrass roots, the turf can be rolled back like a carpet. Here is our page on grubs http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/grubs-lawns
There are no easy answers when it comes to wildlife control. Be sure to eliminate all sources of outdoor food including cat and dog food, bird feeders, exposed garbage cans and compost piles. You may be able reposition chunks of turf and step on them to ensure root contact. Reseed heavily damaged areas.
You may want to take a look at some lawn alternatives to reduce the lawn area if possible. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives
Here is a link on seeding http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/seedingsodding-lawns