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What is Digging Holes in My Yard?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Holes in a lawnHave you noticed holes popping up in your lawn or garden? If so, there are many things that could be causing them. Some holes may be caused by children playing, flooding, or irrigation issues. Others are caused by insects and animals who are borrowing into the ground. Small holes might be attributed to invertebrates, insects, or rodents while larger holes may have other causes. Today we’ll look at what might be causing this lawn issue and what to do once you know.

Size & Density

The first thing you want to consider is the size of the holes in your yard. However, it’s also crucial to consider where they are located. If they seem to be scattered through the entire yard, they are often caused by insects, moles, and other small rodents. With a mole hill, you’ll find the hole is covered by earth. A vole hole is not. Birds often make holes in the soil while searching for food. Earthworms are another possibility, often making holes the size of a pencil that help provide air to their tunnels underground.

As far as insects go, insects including wasps lay their eggs in the soil, which leads to holes. If you are concerned this might be the case, you can excavate a few small holes and see if you discover tunnels or eggs. This gives you more information to move forward in stopping the spread of more holes.

Process of Elimination

The first thing you should consider is whether children or pets may be making the holes in your yard or garden. If there’s a dog that hangs out in the backyard a lot, he or she may be doing some digging. Kids also have a tendency to build forts and make tunnels in the dirt, which leads to holes.

If you are certain this is not the case, you can begin to consider the other possibilities. Are the holes mainly in soil and the garden? If that’s the case, it could be wild animals. Squirrels, birds, and other wildlife often dig around in the soil to look for food or insects. Some animals also build burrows to nest in underground.

Are your yard holes near tree roots? These may be burrows for chipmunks or rats. If the holes are larger, they could even be burrows for groundhogs or armadillos. These holes can be up to a foot across. Take the time to watch the area in the early morning or evening to see if you find signs of these animals.

If the holes are near wet soil, it may be crawfish that are making the holes. These animals leave small mud towers with a hole on the top. For those who have this issue, the best option is to seek out professional animal control services or trap them on your own.

Time of Year

Depending on the season of the year when these holes are showing up, you may be able to narrow down the options. For instance, earthworms are most active when the soil is moist, and it is in the spring months. You’ll find they leave a tower of soil around their holes. Many other insects lay eggs in the spring which leave tiny holes in the ground.

After winter, sometimes tree roots may cave in and cause a hole. Streams and underground water can do the same thing. This may be what is causing holes if it is this time of year. There are tons of reasons you may have holes in your yard. The best first step is to watch and see what else is around. You may find clues that lead you to the source.