Skunk Tearing Up Lawn – How To Stop It?

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Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Griselda M.

Have you woken up one morning and seen a skunk tearing up a lawn right in front of your eyes, messing up your lawn?

Many homeowners work tirelessly to make sure their lawn looks fantastic.  However, skunks are an enemy of your progress.  They damage your lawn with deep tears and tracks, turning your once beautiful-looking lawn into a messy pile.

Skunks are dangerous animals that can destroy a gorgeous lawn overnight.  Any homeowner who has dealt with skunks in their lawn knows it’s not a laughing matter.  Nothing drives a dedicated homeowner crazy faster than seeing their lawn turned into a big mess.

Skunks are a menace when it comes to digging up lawns.  In addition, they are not easy to get rid of; they can be a serious challenge.

Why Does Skunk Tearing Up The Lawn?

Skunks dig up the lawn to look for food or shelter.  By the way, what do skunks eat?  They like to dig and eat grubs that can be found in the ground underneath.  They pull the grass out of the way to get the grubs found below the top layer of dirt.

One skunk digging up your lawn is not that bad, but imagine a whole skunk family in your yard tearing up your grass to get their food.

Why Does Skunk Tearing Up The Lawn

How To Stop A Skunk From Tearing Up Your Lawn

Now that you know why the skunks dig up your lawn, what should you do next? Of course, the most important thing to do is to restore and protect your lawn with all you have got.

These low-cost solutions will help you in protecting your yard.

Use Sensor Lights To Scare Skunks

Skunks are nocturnal. That is why they invade your lawn when you are sleeping.  They cannot stand bright lights and so using sensor lights is a plan to keep them away.  Install sensor lights in your yard and watch them scamper for safety any time they approach, and the light goes on.

Sensor lights are easy to install and affordable to buy.  When installing sensor lights, it is advisable to use multiple light sources to help shock intruding creatures by flooding the yard with light at once. Pair your lights with some noise to eliminate these creatures.

If there is no noise, the skunks might be creative enough to know it’s just the light, no other danger. So be sure to keep the light from reflecting in your bedroom, so you are not kept awake each night the skunks show up and the lights go on.

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Put Up A Scarecrow

Another easy way to send away the skunks is by installing a scarecrow or several of them in the yard.  Skunks are terrified of people; the last thing they want is a terrifying man figure on that lawn. So invest in a mechanical scarecrow and come in many shapes – human form, coyotes, owls, wolves, etc.

A mechanical owl flapping its wings cannot terrify any skunk into hiding.  Some mechanical scarecrows come with sprinklers attached to a motion sensor that sprays the intruder with water startling them to run. Combining human proportions and motion tricks will make the skunks think a defense force occupies your yard.  Installing these in your yards will ward off these skunks.

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Use Strong Household Scents Around The Lawn

Even though the skunks smell bad, they hate strong odors. In particular, they hate strong scents like soap, paprika, and citrus. So to ward them off spread these items around the outside edges of your lawn.  The strong scent will drive away hungry skunks year-round.

If these milder smells don’t do the trick, try something more pungent. Detergent works magic when it comes to repelling skunks, mix it with castor oil, and it becomes even more effective.  You can also use mothballs; however, they are toxic, so this solution is only helpful for people without pets or small children running around.

When choosing a scent, be sure to distribute it around the entire perimeter of your property. If you leave any gaps, the skunks will find a way in and bypass the odor barrier you’ve created.

Treat Your Grass For Grubs

One of the main reasons why skunks destroy lawns is because they are looking for food.  Skunks feed on grubs that live beneath the soil’s surface. It might come as a surprise to learn that grubs are very common.  They can be found in most yards, even yours if you have not treated your lawn.

One of the best ways to keep skunks off your lawn is to apply nematodes to your lawn.  These microscopic creatures destroy grubs by eating them.   While they are deadly for grubs, they are non-toxic for you making their application stress-free for humans and pets.

Nematodes can be easily purchased from most garden stores and are easy to apply. The best time to apply nematodes is late summer or early spring, so plan.

The application is easy and keeps your lawn healthy. As the nematodes eat grubs, your grass grows thicker and closer together, making it harder for skunks to dig up.

Even if you are not sure your lawn has grubs, use nematodes.  It will improve the overall quality of your lawn; why not give it a try?

Treat Your Grass For Grubs

Use Predator Urine

Skunks know their predators well because they are afraid of them, so they will always stay away.  One of the best ways to use this to your advantage is to spray dog urine around the boundary of your lawn.

If you don’t have pet urine, purchase flakes soaked in coyote or dog urine at a local lawn care store.  Sprinkle these along your fence or property line to keep your lawn safe from these creatures.

Read more about How to Get Rid of a Possum

How Do You Fix a Skunk-Damaged Lawn?

We assume you have removed or implemented a management system such as motion-activated lights to stop the skunks from returning. Now, what do you do next to fix the damage?

Skunk damage normally consists of several small holes in the lawn caused by a skunk or skunk scratching around for grubs. Depending on what type of grass your lawn is composed of, you will have to decide how to fix it.

If you have creeping grass or spreading grass, it is really just a case of filling in the holes, putting the pieces of grass you can find back in the holes, and allowing the grass to cover the hole. This is the simplest fix.

If you have clump grass, you will need to fill in the holes and cover them with a bit of turf grass cut from another area. This will provide a cover for the holes and the grass will establish. Depending on the time of year you could also plant new seeds – but the chances of the damage coinciding with a good time of year to germinate grass seed are low – typically the best time to plant grass seed is in the cooler spring months – and skunk damage will be more likely in summer to fall when grubs are at their peak populations.

When I used to bother about having a lawn, I used to keep a donor patch of lawn in another area where I could chop pieces of lawn turf out to repair the main lawn. I never had skunk damage, but I had dog damage which is similar, if not worse as the scale of the holes is quite extensive with dogs. You will find that the soil that pests excavate and sprinkle around on surrounding turf does wonderful things for that turf!

How Do You Get The Skunk Smell Out of The Yard?

Skunk odor is caused mainly by thiol group sulfur compounds – these are similar to the odor that is placed in gas so we can smell if there is a gas leak before we blow the house up. Thiol chemicals are relatively easily broken down via natural processes. These are the same horrible compounds that give a rotten egg its typical smell. Many bacteria can degrade these compounds.

A lot of internet advice suggests spraying bleach and various other household detergents on skunk-sprayed areas. This is in my opinion undesirable, as bleach in itself can kill plants and damage surfaces. I had a look around and found that the product Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator has been developed to provide the microbes and enzymes needed to degrade many odors, not just skunk odor.

To me, using a holistic product such as this makes sense, as the microbes will remain in your soil, and once they have done the work removing the skunk odor, they will continue keeping other organic smells at bay as well.

How Long Does Skunk Spray Last on Grass?

This is really a measure of the metabolic health of the area that has been sprayed. If a lawn with a healthy microbial population or a lawn that had been mulched with compost in spring were to be sprayed, the microbes present will degrade the smell quite rapidly and you would find the majority of the smell will most likely be gone in one to two weeks.

If an area with no microbial population, such as a fake lawn, the smell will persist for a few weeks – up to three weeks. Naturally, the warmer the weather, the faster the rate of degradation of chemicals as well.

You can increase microbial biodiversity of sulfur smell degrading microbes by using a spray such as Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator.

Do Skunks Like Wet Grass?

Skunks do not like water. However, if you water a lawn heavily, the grubs and larvae in the soil will move upwards to get closer to the air. This means that you will find heavy watering of lawns can actually encourage skunk activity, as they will be drawn to the readily available surface grubs. It will be a cost-benefit decision for the skunk – does it like grubs more than wet grass? If there are a lot of grubs, skunks will be drawn to the lawn, and make a mess even if the grass is wet.

Does Skunk Urine Kill Grass?

There is a big difference between skunk urine and skunk spray. Skunk urine is pretty much like any other animal’s urine – if your soil is healthy and rich in organic matter, a bit of urine will be broken down quickly by soil microbes to release nutrients for the grass. If your soil is unhealthy and devoid of organic matter and microbes, any type of urine can be problematic to grass, as it will be rich in toxic nitrogen compounds that can burn the plants.

Healthy soil is an answer to protecting your lawn from urine damage – from dogs, kids, skunks, and whatever else pee on the lawn. Spreading compost on your lawn in spring will ensure lawn soil health.

Skunk spray is not the urine, and we have dealt with how to get rid of that odor in the questions above this one.

What Do You Do if a Skunk Sprays Your Yard?

Remove large objects that have been sprayed that can be removed and place them somewhere further away where they can deodorize for a few weeks. Spray the rest of the affected area with Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator. This product will cover the area with enzymes and microbes that will degrade the sulfur-containing compounds and neutralize them. It will not kill plants or damage paint.


Skunks are notorious, and when they sense danger, they can use their skunk spray as a defensive weapon when they sense they are in danger.

The skunks have two glands, each one side of the anus that produces the skunk’s spray.  It is a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals and contains an offensive odor.

A skunk’s spray is powerful enough to ward off bears and other potential attackers. However, do not try to ward off the skunks by going too close to them.  If the spray touches your skin can cause irritation and temporary blindness.  You can detect this spray 5.6km away.

Please stay away from skunks but use the methods we have discussed above to keep them off.


What can I put on my lawn to keep skunks away?

We have an area of our yard that has been overrun with skunks. What can we use around the house to scare them away and keep them from getting into the house? A: The best way to get rid of skunks is to make sure they do not have access to your home or yard. There are a few things you can use to deter skunks from visiting your home.

Make sure you understand the area that you are trying to keep skunks away from. 2 Find the best locations for your traps. Find the best locations for your traps. 3 Place the traps in the most effective spots. Place the traps in the most effective spots. 4 Set the traps and wait.

 5 Look for a skunk as it approaches. Look for a skunk as it approaches. 6 When you see a skunk, quickly grab it and place it in a cage. When you see a skunk, quickly grab it and place it in a cage. 7 Once you have caught a skunk, be careful of your safety. Once you have caught a skunk, be careful of your safety. 8 You can use the skunk’s urine to get rid of the smell.

A good way to deter skunks is to spray them with water or to sprinkle them with baking soda.

Why are skunks digging up my lawn?

Skunks, like other animals, have an instinct to find food and water, but the specific reasons they are digging in your yard is very dependent on where they live and the environment around them. Some areas are naturally more prone to rodent problems than others.

In addition to finding food and shelter, skunks also use their scent glands to communicate with other members of their family and community.

What home remedy keeps skunks away?

Home remedies to keep skunks away are numerous. Most of these will be ineffective. Others will work well, but you need to do a little homework before you try them.

The best way to prevent skunks from coming into your house is to trap them in their own backyard. If the skunk is standing or walking in your yard, chances are it is looking for a place to hide. This is when you should try and catch it.

Quick Fix: Place a dead animal (preferably cat) in the yard. Leave it there for a few days. Skunks will start to sniff at it and move away. This is because skunks are very sensitive to their own scent, so they can’t stand to be around something that smells like them. Once they move on, they won’t return.

As with all wild animals, avoid feeding them. They can carry parasites and diseases that may be harmful to you. You can help by keeping your garbage and food scraps in tightly covered containers. Never feed wildlife or pet an animal that you would not want to eat.

What months are skunks most active?

Skunks are usually most active at night, which is why you should consider them a nuisance if you see one at night. Skunks are usually most active in the fall, winter, and early spring, which is when their reproductive cycle is in full swing.

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