Holes in the yard - gophers, moles, voles, skunks, squirrels, birds, grubs,worms and other creatures

Holes in garden, lawn, and landscape can cause curiosity or frustration, depending on the gardener’s level of concern, the damage that appears to have been done, and where the holes appear.

Diagnosis should always come before buying an arsenal of poisons and traps, putting screening under all your bulbs, or trying to run the car exhaust into tunnels in your lawn.

Observe the size of the hole, whether there is just a tunnel or a mound of soil on top of the surface, with or without a volcano at one side.

pocket gopher
The lack of soil or castings around the hole could indicate a worm-seeking bird or an acorn-seeking squirrel.

Insects will work on decomposing roots for years and when they complete their work, the surface soil collapses into the space created in sort of an oblong tree root-shaped hole.

Squirrels live in trees or burrows and can damage crops, sprinkler heads, tree bark and roots. Use small traps to capture them.

Skunks live in other animals’ burrows. They eat mice, voles, moles, birds, insects, crops, birdseed, pet food and garbage. Look for freshly dug soil next to a 3 or 4-inch hole, building or woodpile or 1 to 3-inch deep and wide holes in the lawn where they are looking for grubs, voles, etc. Live traps and relocation work.

Vole holes/tunnels under leaves and grass are 1-inch in diameter with no mound. Often found near hostas, bulbs and potatoes where they eat the crown and roots.

Voles (meadow mice) look like little mice with short tails. Sharp gravel can help (
http://myhostagardens.wordpress.com). Prevent tree bark chewing by keeping mulch away from trunks. Use Havahart traps, mousetraps, poison or repellents.

Six-to-10 inch holes, scattered around the yard, with no soil mound are probably caused by skunks or raccoons. Use a baited live-trap and relocate.

Grass, root, tuber and bulb-eating gophers make a kidney-bean shaped dirt pile. 

Carroll Hunt, Tulsa Master Gardener, said, “Put one gopher trap at each side of the hole. Stake the traps with3-feet of cord or wire to prevent the gopher from dragging it off. Cover the hole with a rock or plywood and leave a ½ inch air gap. When the gopher closes the hole it will be trapped.”

Armadillo holes

are 1-to-3-feet in diameter and three inches deep.

Groundhog holes are usually near the garden or barn, 6-to-10-inches around, with a 4-inch high mound of soil.

Rats and chipmunks make holes about 2-inches around and there will be a one-inch high mound of soil under a slab or shrub.

Mole holes are 2-inches around, with a volcano of dirt and tunnels or runways of raised grass. Moles are insect and earthworm eaters with star-shaped noses and paddle-clawed feet.

Moles do not eat crops or roots but field mice use their tunnels to eat vegetable gardens. Use spring-loaded scissor traps to control them (www.themoleman.com).

Harmless, solitary and  Cicada-killer

cicada killer nest
wasp holes are ½ half to 1-inch around with thinly scattered loose soil, usually where there is no grass. Cicada-killer burrows have a U-shaped mound of soil at the entrance. Adults emerge June/July.

Crayfish holes are 1-inch wide, 2-inches high and made of mud balls.

Holes in the middle of the lawn, ¼ inch around with a 2-inch mound are made by ground bees

ground bee nest
A two-inch high and wide mound in the middle of the lawn is made by an earthworm.

Nickel-size holes, brown and dying grass or rolled back turf, is a sign of grubs eating grass roots. Poisoning grubs can harm pets, earthworms, etc. See http://turf.okstate.edu for prevention and cure methods.

I hope this helps with your garden and lawn care issues. I have been so curious about what's making all those holes in my yard, that I had to get all the information together in one place.


Unknown said…
Oh oh oh http://howtogetridofskunksnow.com/how-to-get-rid-of-skunks-in-the-yard/

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