What is digging up my lawn?

What is digging up my lawn?

Fox Damage on a pristine putting green

Fox Damage on a pristine putting green

In Wildlife Management Services we are often contacted by clients that have just discovered damage to their lawns by burrowing animals of some sort or another. The damage often varies from small pecking holes to large deep holes. Rarely is the culprit seen and therefore identification can be tricky.


Corvoid Damage, caused by rooks digging for leatherjackets on a well manicured sports pitch.


Damage can be caused by a range of animals. The most common species that damage grass lawns and sports turf in Ireland are members of the crow family particularly rooks and magpies, other species such as foxes, rabbits and badgers can also cause havoc to lawns, putting greens and sports fields.

There are three possible reasons for this type of behaviour.  The most common is the search for food; animals may be looking for something tasty to eat. Mainly chafer grubs, leatherjackets or earthworms, but this is not always the case. Perhaps they are trying to create a new shelter or maybe they are actually trying to bury surplus food.

Identification of the species responsible for the damage is key to resolving the situation. Each species leave their own specific clues behind them i.e. Are the holes deep or shallow? What is the width of the holes?  Is the damage just in a specific area or is it widespread? The answers to these questions are paramount to the culprit’s identification.  Managing and preventing further damage can then commence.


Fox Damage

Significant fox damage on a golf course. Foxes will dig holes for a multitude of reasons including burrowing, marking territory, and burying food. Undoubtedly though the damage that is caused is a nuisance and costly for greenkeepers.

We have been providing solutions and advising clients on both a commercial and private capacity for many years. If you are a green keeper, turf care professional or gardener and are having problems with wildlife causing damage to your golf course green, sports turf or lawns why not contact us for some free advice.

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