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Something digging holes in my lawn

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by The Wizard, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. The Wizard

    The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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    It's started in early to mid June. Same last year but last year it was much later so I put it down to squirrels but now I'm not so certain.

    The holes are about 2 inches deep and about the size of my big thumb and usually at the bottom there's a nut or a seed but as this started happening in June I think it's unlikely to be squirrels. I've seen hedgehog poo all over my lawn but can't for certain say it's them.

    Usually it happens at night or just before dawn but today for the first time it happened around 4pm and hedgehogs don't appear at that time of day.
    Holes look like these...

    www.city-data.com/forum/attachments/memphis/68425d1284766938-what-making-these-holes-my-lawn-img_0994.jpg
     
  2. Sheal

    Sheal Total Gardener

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    Welcome to Gardeners Corner. :) I'm pretty certain it's squirrels, the nuts and seeds are a give away. Hedgehogs are carnivores, eating slugs, worms etc. and unlikely to be digging holes in your garden.
     
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    • honeybunny

      honeybunny Head Gardener

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      definitely not Hedgehogs, the only digging they do is when making dens...& that cant really be classed as digging either, they just find a suitable spot under a bush/hedge or pile of leaves & scrabble about to make a bit of a depression & they never bury or store food...unless your Mrs Tiggy Winkle, im pretty sure she does :thumbsup:
       
    • The Wizard

      The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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      There must be about 4 to 6 snuffle holes per night mainly in one area but can vary across the whole garden. Worse when it's wet like when I've watered or rained but surprised to see holes made this afternoon as hedgehogs don't come out during the day but to start in June it seems way to early for squirrels. I've bought a wire trap and baited it with bird seed and nuts but so far only trapped one hedgehog which I let go. Not wanting to kill anything just want to find out what's causing it so at least I know what's causing the damage. Not seen any signs of squirrel poo. Happens more when grass is wet and short. When grass is a bit longer and dry I don't get any holes.
       
    • honeybunny

      honeybunny Head Gardener

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      it could be crows or magpies as they're also known to bury excess food :)
       
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      • The Wizard

        The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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        Finally got round to photographing one of the holes today. This ones not quite as big as some of the previous holes. As I said, they're only about as wide and as deep as my thumb but it's all the grass and soil around it that gets ripped up that's bothering me. Sometimes the holes don't repair themselves so I have to fill them in with soil and some seed. This one is one that was done yesterday which I stamped back down so it doesn't look as bad as when it was first dug. Usually there's a nut at the bottom but can't be certain if whatever it is has dug the hole to get to the nut or to bury it.

        Strange that it rarely happens when the ground is dry and happens more after it's been watered and also more when the grass is short rather than long which suggests it's an animal which can't dig in long grass, possibly due to a short snout, beak or short arms. Anyway, see what you think. It's been happening since early June and I didn't think squirrels were about at that time of year. Seen no sign of squirrel poo but plenty of hedgehog droppings.

        IMG_201308279917.jpg
         
      • Ellen

        Ellen Total Gardener

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        The photo looks like when we had a chafer bug infestation, and the birds were digging to get to them. If you look at the grass roots can you see damage?
         
      • The Wizard

        The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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        Not sure what to look for but I have noticed little white chubby worm like things which are C shaped and look about 1cm long (maybe longer if stretched out) and wriggle into the ground whenever I've tried to catch one. They look quite shiny and slippery and creamy white in colour. Could these be chafer grubs? If so maybe that's the answer as I've seen these around both my front and back lawn. However, another strange thing is this is localized to only my back lawn and not the front so whatever it is, either lives at the back in the trees or in the bushes. I've put chicken wire across my back hedge to prevent whatever it is getting through but the damage still continues so.I'm guessing it's either coming from above like in the trees or getting in some other way.
         
      • Trunky

        Trunky ...who nose about gardening

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        I agree with Ellen, sounds like it could be birds (probably rooks or magpies) digging around for chafer grubs or leatherjackets.
        It's a seasonal thing, the larvae are about to hatch, so are probably closer to the surface at present.
        These grubs spend most of their time chomping away at the roots of your grass, so the birds are probably doing you a favour!
         
      • The Wizard

        The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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        It usually happens before I get up but the damage isn't there prior to going to bed. I've even stayed up till 2 or 3am and still no holes but by 7am when I get up, they've appeared so I immediately thought it must be a nocturnal animal or something that's doing it's business around the crack of dawn. Although yesterday was the very first occurrence of it happening in the afternoon which is what now makes me think it's less likely to be hedgehogs as they tend not to be around during the day so maybe the bird theory is correct but if that was so why would they only attack my back lawn and not my front? Weird!

        Checked my neighbours lawn on either side and it's only me who has the problem. I have been reseeding my lawn a lot over the past few months and noticed it has attracted a fair few birds but never imagined they could tear nice neat round holes in a lawn.
         
      • Trunky

        Trunky ...who nose about gardening

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        If my bird theory is correct, it's quite usual for the birds to only dig up a certain area or piece of grass when looking for grubs.
        Presumably this is because the soil conditions in that particular patch are slightly different to others nearby, making them more suitable for the grubs to live in.
        Birds are very good at finding out where there are large concentrations of food and will then focus their efforts on that area.
         
      • Sheal

        Sheal Total Gardener

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        The birds wouldn't account for the seeds or nuts in the holes, that is definitely the work of a squirrel. They will also pick particular areas to put the food, possibly in an area where they think they won't be disturbed or seen or the food stored is less likely to be noticed by another animal.

        Also be aware that if you do trap a squirrel it is illegal to release it again as they are classed as vermin. The animal should be destroyed.
         
      • honeybunny

        honeybunny Head Gardener

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        Magpies & Crows will bury nuts & seeds...or any food that there is a glut off, im not sure how much of a hole they'd be capable of making....but they do! :) they're so highly intelligent Crows have even been seen to "pretend" to bury food in one place if they know other crows are watching & of course likely to steal it...now thats a clever birdy! :thumbsup:
         
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        • Ellen

          Ellen Total Gardener

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          They do sound like chafers.
          http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=487
          You'll need to get your lawns treated as they can really damage your lawn.

          As for the seed casings etc, they would be unrelated to the grubs :)
           
        • The Wizard

          The Wizard cos I've got magic fingers

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          I didn't think squirrels would be about early June and not seen any. Strange about the nut thing. Could it be birds digging for previously buried nuts? Seen the odd empty monkey nut case lying about but not very often. I've not seen any squirrels about at all or signs of poo. They usually come around mid to late September. Seen lots of hedgehog poo and the odd cat poo but certain it's not cats as they would make much more mess. The back of our house is surrounded by trees. The last time we had holes about 2 days ago they were all along the side of my fence. When I went to inspect one of the holes I saw what looked like a chafer grub but it wriggled into the earth before I could get to inspect it. Some holes have seeds or nuts in them, some of which have roots on them. Whatever it is makes about 3 to 6 holes per visit.
           

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