The Q&A Archives: Holes in Yard and Flower Gardens

Question: Something has been digging in our yard and garden this year. We haven't had this problem in past years. I don't see tunnels, just numerous holes in the lawn and in the mulched flower beds. We frequently see squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs around our house, and I have seen at least one squirrel digging in the mulch, but I'm not sure if squirrels are the doing all the damage. Friends have suggested that it sounds like a skunk since we often notice the holes in the morning. Any suggestions on what might be doing the digging and how to stop them?

Answer: My first guess would be that the culprit is a skunk. Skunks are nocturnal and will dig holes in search of insects and grubs. The holes are often small enough that they do not cause serious damage to the lawn or plantings so there is usually no need to control them. You may want to examine your lawn for signs of a grub infestation. By controlling the grub population, you'll discourage skunks from digging in your yard. You could also have a professional animal control specialist trap and remove the culprit. Otherwise, you can consider the skunk's work as free pest control and lawn aeration, and simply rake the holes closed once a week.

The holes could also be the result of a squirrel burying food for later, or digging up previously hidden food. Woodchucks make large burrows rather than small holes.

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