New sod and raccoon damage

mags11October 11, 2008

I laid sod about three weeks ago and it was looking good for two weeksÂand then the raccoons came. I tried several different products to scare them off (granular stuff, scarecrow sprinklers, etcÂ) and nothing worked. So I am having someone remove them (humanely) on Monday.

Anyway, they did a fair amount of damage in that week. They rolled up several pieces of sod, dug little holes (luckily they hit the netting in the sod or they would be bigger) and dug at a good majority of the edges. Needless to say, the lawn isnÂt as level as it was when it was first laid.

Now, in the areas that they really tore up, should I look at pulling up the sod, leveling the ground and then laying the sod back down? Every morning for the past week, I have just been pushing edges down with my foot, rolling sod back out after they roll it up and putting the little "plugs" of grass they have ripped up back in the holes.

Any thoughts? IÂm hoping they havenÂt ruined my new sod job.

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piperspal

I am suspecting something like that may have happened to my lawn too. Sorry I don't have an answer for you; I'm hoping someone else will.

I didn't put down sod, but I was finally getting a lawn from seed when I came out and saw tufts of grass ripped right out of the soil. First I thought it was crows, but I work from home & would have seen them. I did see raccoon droppings ( according to online photo & description) in the driveway.

What are the raccoons after when they do that to a lawn? Grubs? I mean, I didn't think I had a problem with them, but I am one of the very few on my block that does not use a commercial lawn service. Too skittish about all those chemicals. Maybe my lawn had grubs? Doesn't add up tho if you had sod & they did it to that too. Anybody have any thoughts? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 12:27AM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

"(luckily they hit the netting in the sod or they would be bigger)"

What netting?
Explain this netting.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 1:03AM
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skizot(5b)

The sod that was laid on my lawn has netting as well. It's a green plastic netting that most definitely does not look biodegradable. I'm surprised they can get away with doing that, due to the many concerns about the environment/wildlife these days.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 12:20PM
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golfnbrian(4)

unless you've seen the coons, i would bet it's squirrel activity...they're extremely active this time of year preparing for winter...my lawn has these little holes all over the place.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 9:56PM
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dee4nebraska

The very same thing happened to me as to piperspal..tufts of grass pulled right out. Much of it was in newly overseeded spots that had only received one mowing. I thought it was coons but it may be squirrels. See my post in response to lalala about digging animals. I haven't a clue what to do next either. I will be looking for advice, too.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:00PM
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mags11

The netting is green plastic netting, similar I imagine to what skizot is seeing as well.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:26PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

Strange - I see fresh cut sod everyday and not one roll has this netting. Why would someone install a roll of sod with plastic still underneath?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 12:16AM
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skizot(5b)

garycinchicago, I can give you the name and number of the sod farm around here. :) The netting is not "underneath" the sod, but inside of it. I assume it's there for support, but you'd think it wouldn't be necessary. Making the assumption that whomever installed the sod is just stupid, is not a good one to make IMO.

When you drive by this sod farm, you can see the netting on the ground where they are getting ready to grow again, the fields are almost a neon green color - and no, it isn't the new grass. :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:54AM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"Making the assumption that whomever installed the sod is just stupid, is not a good one to make IMO."

Where did that come from? I searched for the word stupid and only found it in that sentence. I didn't see anybody say that the sod installers were just stupid.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 10:38AM
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skizot(5b)

bpgreen, what else does Why would someone install a roll of sod with plastic still underneath? mean? The implication is pretty easy to understand. ;-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 10:47AM
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bpgreen(5UT)

That sounds like a question to me, not a statement that the sod layers are stupid. It seems like a pretty big jump to go from asking why somebody would do something to saying that anybody who would do that is stupid.

I don't see that as the implication at all. To me, the question means "why would somebody do that?" not "they're stupid if they do that."

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 11:48AM
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skizot(5b)

bpgreen, you're definitely open to your own interpretation, as am I. Reading his comments lends to my interpretation. Just because he has not seen it, I see fresh cut sod everyday and not one roll has this netting. (obviously you missed this prefix that was stated), does not invalidate the fact that it is being used by sod farmers, whatever the exact reason may be.

I have seen the mention of the green netting in a few other threads on here as well. And it's not something that can be removed, as it's inside the sod, with the roots and the soil intertwined through it. It is also not visible on the underside of the sod for that reason as well.

We can argue about this all day if you like, but I think most will understand what he was trying to say. ;-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 12:00PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

"Making the assumption that whomever installed the sod is just stupid, is not a good one to make IMO"

*YOU* are the one making assumptions with your interpretation of my question.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:00PM
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paulinct

Back to the OP's problem, it could also be a skunk, though the animal rolling back the sod certainly sounds more like a raccoon than a skunk. I don't know if skunks are that strong, though raccoons certainly are.

But just in case, see the thread linked below for what my skunk damage looked like around this time last year. Does your damage look like that?

Mine were feeding on earthworms. I know this because there was no grub activity, the grubs would have migrated deep by this point anyway, and the worst torn up areas were where I had applied a significant amount of compost before seeding. The yin and yang of soil amendment, I guess...

Paul

Here is a link that might be useful: when skunks attack!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:43PM
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mags11

Thanks Paul for bringing it back to my post. It doesn't look like the damage in your link. They literrally pull the sod back and rolled/folded it up. They also seemed to really dig at the seams.

Should I pull the damaged sod up and rake the ground level and lay the sod again? I'm worried that due to the damage, the ground isn't going to be level (or that the sod isn't getting good contact with the soil).

Thanks,
Mike

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:11PM
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skizot(5b)

"*YOU* are the one making assumptions with your interpretation of my question."

We both know exactly what you meant by your comments, my friend. Just because you've never seen something before, doesn't mean that the people who have don't know what they're talking about. You can learn something new every day. ;-) And like I already stated, I can give you the name and number to the local sod farm here, and they can explain to you exactly what is used, and why it's used.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:30PM
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skizot(5b)

mags, I feel your pain. I helped a friend renovate his entire lawn 3 weeks ago, and the grass is coming very nicely now. However, there are about 5 or 6 holes where the squirrels have dug the lawn up. It seems like they are very active in preparing for Winter right now.

How much of the soil below the ground have they dug up? You could try to level it out with a small garden hoe, get it moist, and then try to lay the sod back down. If the sod hasn't already browned out from lack of moisture, I'd think that would be the way to go.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:38PM
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mags11

The sod hasn't browned out so hopefully it should be good. I have been giving it extra water, which probably made the digging easier for the raccoons.

As a followup, they were for sure raccoons. I had three in traps when I woke up this morning and there were three more that were hanging around the traps. I don't have much experience with raccoons, but I live in Seattle (by UW) and it is pretty residential so I'm surprised to see so many in one space. I figured it was one or two doing the damage, not six! Hopefully this works out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 5:36PM
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ccgardens(US:9, Sunset 17)

I have been dealing with the same problem - sod laid on 10/3, and dug up nightly until I found the fix (see below...) BUT to answer your original question about leveling - unless the areas are really big or deep, your best course is to wait until the lawn finally grows in (otherwise, you are just spending more time walking on it to fix the holes...) and very hard to level when you soil is so wet from getting your sod to root. Small indentations or low spots can be leveled later (try doing this next spring when the weather is still cool and the grass is actively growing) by sprinkling some sand in those areas and using a gentle raking action to level it out - easiest to do this after mowing. If you have a really deep indentation, it's probably best to put a little sand in, let the grass grow up through it and then repeat rather than dumping a whole bunch at once and risk smothering the roots.

For dealing with raccoon damage...I had great success with the plastic bird netting - it's similar to the netting that is grown with sod (the reason for this netting is to keep the sod knit together when they are cutting and installing). I bought a couple large rolls and tacked down around the edges. They tried pulling it up in a few spots, but eventually gave up. I also used beneficial nematodes for grub control - microscopic worms that parasitize the grub larvae - but I think the raccoons dig new sod whether you have grubs or not - they are attracted to the smell of freshly dug soil because they often find things to eat there.

Hope this helps :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Colleen Carter Garden Designs

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 6:58PM
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rosglassworld

i used fox urine hanging in holders in trees to keep squirrels out, it really worked, might for raccoons?
ro

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:35PM
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JMJR23

I recently installed new sod and the raccoons were rolling up the edges. I rolled the sod back in place and placed moth balls along the edge in 8 to 12 inch intervals. The raccoons have not come back. I'm going to keep spreading the mothballs biweekly for the next few months until the grass roots have deepened sufficiently.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 4:55PM
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