What's been doing it & where do I go from here?

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Longislanders, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. Longislanders

    Longislanders Member

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    Location:
    Long Island New York USA
    September on Long Island NY. A mix of warm days (70's & 80's) & warm nights (60's & 70's) - and - warm days(60's and 70's) and cool nights (50's and high 40's).

    Three times over the past three weeks, I've awakened to find the backyard lawn dug up like this. I have been replacing the turf & reseeding, but now I think I'll just have to rake it up & go from there. The yard is enclosed by a 5 ft. wooden fence (4 or 5 inch clearance at the bottom in a couple of places). The first two times the critters left the garden area completely alone, but this last time several places in the mulch were dug up as well (but no plants disturbed so far).

    Peeling back some turf myself, I've found a few grubs and a number of ants, but no more. There are opossums & racoons two blocks away in the wooded area around a parkway. Plenty of squirrels in the yards.

    I've found no other yard in the area affected by this.

    Any help would be appreciated. What might it be & what do I do about them and about the lawn?

    Thanks,

    Dennis M.
     

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  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    do you mean you've been re-sodding before this started happening or afterwards to repair the damage?

    doesn't quite look like animals digging...there doesn't seem to be any holes in the dirt (and squirrels, the most likely animal, definitely leave holes and don't tear up chunks of grass).

    looks more like someone came along and used something to pull the grass up. something like a golf club.

    it's a very pretty yard (even with the damage). i hope you figure out what's happening!!
     
  3. Longislanders

    Longislanders Member

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    The lawn is established. It's mainly zoysia, but I overspread with a sun/shade mix in the spring if I found a weak area. After the first two incidents, I "replaced the divots" because the roots seemed ok.

    I tried tugging on the grass myself & it pulled up in the same kind of "sheets" that the critters did. (Perhaps poor drainage has contributed to shallow roots?)

    The other kind of shallow holes besides the pulled up sheets were circular ones about 3 inches is diameter with almost a swirl of grass around it - as if a paw was inserted to the dirt & twisted around.

    (Thanks for the compliment.)

    DM
     

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  4. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The larvae stage "grubs" of European Chaffer Beetle hatch from an egg in July and usually by September reach a large enough size to attract predators. Skunks and Raccoons are most commonly the culprit if these are your problem. Google this beetle and see if it is the grub you found. Jim
     
  5. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    can't armadillos do this too? i know they do here. i think they make cone-like depressions or holes and get into beds and turf areas. definitely some sort of critter. the holes look too big to be squirrels, but maybe not. beautiful yard though!
     
  6. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    More likely a Skunk or Raccoon after grubs. Armadillos will do it to but they don't live on Long Island.
     
  7. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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  8. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    The Armadillo does not currently count Long Island in its range but the winter climate is favorable for an eventual range expansion into New York state. Bodies of water, incidentally, are the greatest impediment to range expansion in favorable climates.

    The website you quote is a for nationwide network of pest removal companies with locations in 50 states apparently. While the Long Island pest removal company is a member of this network, they would not count the Armadillo as one of their pests.

    Armadillo Expansion in North America
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  9. BunkyX

    BunkyX Active Member

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    Location:
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    I would almost bet on a racoon. Seems he has found an easy way to pull back your sod and get to the grubs underneath. My question would be why the sod does not have a deeper root system. I have seen instances where people have put in sod and kept it too well watered and fertilized and it never set root deeper than it's original soil before.
    Gene
     
  10. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    I tend to agree you have either raccoons, skunks or oppossums. Consider putting some hardware cloth at the base of the fence, and about 10" into the ground to block their entrance to the yard. For grubs you can treat in the fall.
    http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/grubs/

    Newt
     

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