What animal is destroying this lawn?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by mooch91, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. mooch91

    mooch91 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112


    Customer sent me pics of evidence of an animal that is destroying her lawn. I took a look and it appears to be making shallow, irregular tracks in the turf itself, with holes every so often where it has burrowed, presumably for insects or grubs. The shallow tracks in the lawn do appear to bounce back from week to week. The animal is making these tracks only at night, and it can cover about 1/8 of an acre each night. Customer wants it/them gone.

    This lawn did have some significant grub damage last year which I am treating now.

    Unfortunately I don't know what the animal is to address it. This is farm country, so there are plenty of choices I'm sure. There is an active groundhog tunnel near the property, so I was thinking of starting there. It doesn't look like typical skunk/raccoon damage where I've seen whole patches of turf flipped over in search of grubs.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!


  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    They're back.

    The skunks feeding on the grubs.

    Make several three sided cuts and leave the fourth side uncut to act as a hinge. Cut the lawn as if you were going to remove sod. Lift the Inspection Doors and check for grubs. Count the number of grubs per SF.

    Put the flap of grass back down. That hinge/fourth side holds the grass in place till in blends back into the lawn.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,430

    Mysterious. Moles are a possibility--probably not. It looks more like meadow vole or mouse-size to me. Invest a buck--put out a couple mouse traps. Check for grubs, too, of course.
    A live trap is also a good start--to at least identify the problem. Less risk to the neighborhood cats.

    Do you have mole-crickets in your area?
  4. mooch91

    mooch91 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    I thought it could be skunk, especially because of the fact that it's happening at night, but the tracks themselves seemed too "small". I would expect more of a body print, but what I think I could be seeing are the foraging tracks from the animal's nose. I did find a few piles of "crap" near the tracks that are along the lines of what I'd see come from a cat, so I'm thinking it's definitely a bigger animal...
  5. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,942

    As usual, I think you nailed it my friend. I say vole damage too. :)

  6. mooch91

    mooch91 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,192

    get them grubs out and the skunks go away.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,768

  9. crb007

    crb007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    You should buy a trail camera and find out. Would be helpful for future events like this and your customers will think you walk on water.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We have voles in a yard like that every year... there are even areas where they nest under the snow in the lawn grass... voles only eat above the roots/upper roots and seldom kill the grass...

    Skunks tear up the turf and leave lots of sod chunks all over the place... way to neat of a disruption for skunks... :)

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