The Q&A Archives: Skunks and grubs

Question: Every morning I have approx 50+ holes in my garden and mulch. It's very possible that it is skunks since there is a family of them a few houses away living under someones porch? I understand that they may be going after grubs? When using Grub-ex hurt plants and/or vegatables? When is the best time to apply it? Do you know anything about using cayenne pepper to keep them away? Thanks for everything. Martha

Answer: It's difficult to know that the problem is really a skunk as opposed to squirrels or other critters such as voles. I would suspect other critters because skunks don't usually bother plants but dig in the lawn instead. They are also nocturnal. Skunk activity seems to be increased in the spring and then lessen naturally, so the problem may stop all on its own. Apart from trapping and relocating the skunk (I would strongly suggest professional help with this project), there isn't a lot you can do if it is a skunk. However, you might try an animal repellent spray, either a commercial product or a home made one based on red pepper and/or garlic. If the area is localized, you could also fence it in temporarily until the plants are larger and less subject to the disturbance. You may also want to try a little more detective work to see if the damage is attributable to something else.

As for using Grub-X, it is labeled for use on lawns, not vegetable gardens. Grub-X takes 2 weeks to activate and must be applied prior to laying of eggs. Apply Grub-X in mid-June. The lawn must then be watered thoroughly. The Grub-X will kill the grubs as they eat, but will not prevent them from laying eggs the next year.

For grub control in your veggie garden, you can apply granular diazinon to the soil according to directions on the label for use in a vegetable garden. Be certain to check these directions and that the product is labeled for use in a vegetable garden before you purchase the insecticide.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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