How to Prevent Small Animals in Your Lawn

How to Prevent Small Animals in Your Lawn

Small animals create havoc in lawns and getting rid of them isn’t easy. It’s unlikely you’ll have 100 percent success, but there are ways to minimize damage created by moles, gophers, raccoons, skunks, and other small animals. 

Preventing Small Animals in Your Lawn

Lawn watering

Get Rid of Grubs

  • Check your lawn for grubs because the ugly white worms are like a buffet for most small animals. Moles and gophers dig holes and tunnels in their quest for grubs, while raccoons and skunks usually strip or roll up the turf. 
  • The easiest and safest way to get rid of grubs is to introduce nematodes to the soil. The microscopic worms, available at most garden centers, are mixed with water and applied with a hose-end spray or watering can. 
  • Soon, nematodes kill grubs by eating them from the inside out. Once you get rid of grubs, small animals may eventually give up and seek their dinner elsewhere. 


  • Repellents are available in granules or spray and either is acceptable. Sprays may be easier to apply, but because granules are visible, it’s easy to tell when they need to be replenished.
  • Nematodes will help controls white grubs, fungus gnats, onion maggots, cutworms and sod webworms in your lawn. Nematodes are naturally-occurring microscopic organisms present in soils, completely harmless to non-target species. Treat when larvae are present and actively feeding: late spring to mid-summer and early August through October.
  • Small animals often get “wise” to repellants, so you may need to switch types every so often to keep them guessing. 
  • Motion-Activated Sprinklers.
  • Motion-activated sprinklers won’t harm small animals, but they may discourage marauders by blasting them with a quick, strong stream of water. 
  • The sprinklers are easy to use. Just set the sprinklers at night, with the nozzle aimed towards the affected area.


  • Traps are an option if all else fails, but check with the Canadian Wildlife Service first, as there may be laws against trapping certain animals in your area. 
  • Also, it’s up to you if you want to kill the critter or catch and release it elsewhere but be careful not to release animals where they can create problems for your neighbors. Be sure to place traps where they won’t be tripped by pets or kids. 

Keep your Lawn Healthy

  • Keep in mind that a thick, healthy lawn is more difficult for critters to dig or pull. Water and fertilize properly. Mow your lawn regularly, but never scalp it by cutting too short. 


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