Vertebrates - Racoon, Skunk


Mephitidae spp, Procyon lotor

Raccoons (Image A) and Skunks (Image B) move onto the area after dark and dig through the turf. They can cause damage anytime the turf is not covered with snow.

Notes: Insecticide applications for grub control may work to stop damage in the future, but it is not an immediate solution as insecticides for grubs take time to work and the curative compounds do not provide 100% control.

  • Crops Affected: turf


    Distant: Turf will be flipped over (Images C & D).

    Up close: Hand-sized pieces of turf will be flipped upside down. This is usually near woods or areas where the animals can move onto the turf unobserved. These areas of flipped over turf can become large over time as the animals return night after night (Image E).

    When damage would be found: March to November. The damage occurs at night

    Host: Any

    Site: Any, but especially near woods

    Description of damaging stage: All


    Sampling: Where there is flipped-over turf, dig several 1 ft2 areas and sort through the soil to look for grubs near it. This will determine if they are likely to return to continue feeding.

    Management of Skunks and Raccoons: Skunks and raccoons may cause severe turf injury when they are looking for white grubs in the root zone (Images F, G, and H). They dig and tear the turf to find and eat the grubs. A dense lawn is much more difficult for skunks and raccoons to overturn, and is far less likely to sustain damage from them. Therefore, the first and most important step is to establish a dense stand of turf. If skunks or raccoons have already damaged your lawn, then treat your lawn for grubs for one or two years until you can establish a dense stand of turf. See the Japanese beetle management section for specific recommendation for grub control (Image I). For temporary relief from skunk or raccoon damage, an organic fertilizer, Milorganite, tends to discourage them from digging in lawns, apparently due to its unique odor.