What is digging holes in my grass?

Updated April 17, 2017

You put a lot of time and effort into caring for your lawn. When rodents come in and start digging holes in your lawn, it's time to take action. Various animals are known to dig holes in your yard, and fortunately, there are several ways to remove or deter animals to prevent them from causing further yard damage.

Causes of Holes

Animals dig holes for numerous reasons. Some animals dig holes in your lawn for protection. These holes lead to tunnels that allow the rodents to travel underground, safely away from predators. Other animals dig holes in search of food, such as insects or roots of flowers or plants. Not all animals dig holes in order to eat your plants; damaging plants often accompanies their digging.

Determine a Culprit

Determine what kind of animal is digging holes in your grass. There are various ways to either identify or get an idea of what the animal is. For example, look closely at the size of the hole. A hole that is 6 to 10 inches in diameter with no mound of nearby dirt is often dug by skunks, while the same sized hole with a mound of dirt is probably caused by a groundhog. Small rodents are also notorious for digging holes. A hole that is 2 inches in diameter is typically dug by chipmunks, moles, squirrels or rats. Chipmunks and rats usually dig under plants and leave a small mound of dirt behind. Moles also leave a small dirt mound behind, but they typically dig around tall grass. Squirrels usually dig holes to hide acorns. Other common hole-diggers include cicada killer wasps, ground bees and voles.

Pest Removal

To protect your lawn from further holes and damage, remove the animals. Humane traps are effective for larger pests, such as squirrels, groundhogs and raccoons. Check with your city or state's guidelines when trapping and relocating animals. You may need to fill their holes with water to force them out. Smoke bombs work well at clearing out larger lawn pests, like groundhogs. For potentially harmful pests, such as bees or rabid pests, hire a professional.

Hole Prevention

Prevent animals from further digging holes in your yard. Take away things that keep the animals coming back, such as bird feeders. Plant flowers and shrubs in raised wooden boxes at least a foot above ground and 6 inches deep with a solid bottom so that animals can't get in from under or above the box. If they have no reason to come to your yard, they'll refrain from digging holes.

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About the Author

Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. She enjoys writing about health, medicine, education and home and garden topics. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at East Stroudsburg University in May 2013. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician.