Small Holes In Lawn Overnight: Reasons And Solution Tips

It takes a long time to have a lush lawn. Let’s not forget plenty of hard work and investment of hard-earned money too. 

So, the sudden disappearance of small holes in the lawn overnight is a big blow and highly frustrating. You keep wondering what animal is digging holes in my yard, right?

Well, that’s what this article is all about. You will learn the root causes and what can you do about them.

Reasons For Holes In Yard Overnight

small holes in lawn overnight

Having such holes is not only bad for your lawn, but they can also be scary as well. It’s important to investigate and identify the reasons for having such holes as early as possible to take preventive measures.

Here are some reasons why you have holes on your lawn:

  • Japanese Beetles

Not just you, Japanese beetles are the ultimate nightmare for any gardener and lawn owner. They bury their eggs into the lawn soil. The eggs hatch into larvae. Many people call them grubs. 

When those grubs mature into beetles during the spring and early summer, they emerge to the ground. That’s when you notice such smaller holes in your lawn.

Japanese beetles cause damages to the lawn not just by making holes, they feed on grassroots during their larvae stages too.

They bring more trouble to your lawn by attracting birds, wasps, armadillos, raccoons too. Because such animals also dig up your lawn to extract the larvae of Japanese beetles. 

  • Moles
mole holes in yard.

Moles create a bigger mess for your lawn by creating large holes. They create such holes while pursuing grubs, worms, and other soil-dwelling insects. 

If you notice holes with a 10-inch diameter and conical mounds, you can be sure of moles in your lawn.

But don’t confuse moles with voles. Moles have larger feet and boy than voles. Also, they have hairless noses and darker fur.

Unlike voles, moles create deeper holes and they can dig around 10 inches deeper into the soil. They also leave volcano-like mounds outside the entry points of holes they made.

Yes, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of moles as they make their appearance only at the night, but you have to do everything you can to prevent them. Otherwise, they will cause serious damage to your lawn. 

There are plenty of mole prevention methods you can apply like using castor oil to repel them from your lawn. Some effective traps method also works.

  • Wasps

Both the Scoliid and Cicada-Killer wasps make holes in your lawn. Between the two, the Scoliid wasps dig holes to hunt for grubs. 

They first locate the grub and kill it. Later, they lay eggs on the grubs to ensure food source when the young wasps hatch. 

If your lawn has short grass, there is a higher probability that Cicada killer wasps be digging holes as well.

Cicada-Killer wasps dig holes to ensure their foods. They make sure holes to find their prey and drag their prey to the surface.

So, if you are sure about the killer wasp’s presence, do not cut your lawn grass too short.

  • Earthworms

These are actually useful worms for your lawn. They mix up the lawn soil with the nutrients, water, and air to keep it fertile. 

The process happens throughout the entire year but the activities increase during the spring.

So, when you notice narrow tunnels into the soil of your yard and the size of those holes is approximately the size of a pencil, you can fairly assume the Earthworms have done it! 

This happens a lot when the soil is damp and wet.

Apart from creating holes, they create lawn bumps as well. The lawn bumps make your lawn look uneven. Yes, it makes the lawn unsightly but it’s actually beneficial for your lawn.

However, you should not try to get rid of earthworms from your lawn considering how beneficial they are for your lawn. 

The holes created by earthworms and other insects help to aerate your lawn. It also allows water, nutrients, and air to reach the roots of your lawn grass. So, the tiny holes they create are not of a bigger concern.

  • Chipmunks and Squirrels

As soon as I noticed small holes in my yard with no mounds, I knew either squirrels or chipmunks are doing that. That’s their unique feature of making such holes.

Squirrels love to feed on the tubers of nutsedge weed. For that, they dig holes to get those tubers.

lawn holes by squirrel

So, if your lawn has nutsedge weed and you have those holes, you can fairly assume squirrel invasion.

They don’t make so deep holes. Rather the Eastern gray squirrels make shallow and smaller holes (usually 2-inches wide). 

And you won’t see any mound of soil around those holes.

The case is a little bit different for chipmunks. They usually dig tunnels and burrows to hide and protect themselves from any imminent danger.

They also dig holes 2-inch in diameter to hide their foods and relax. Usually, they make smaller holes to hide their foods and make larger holes to rest.

If there are stumps, log piles, or buildings in your lawn, they prefer such spots to dig such burrows.

  • Rodents

Among the hole digging animals, rodents like rats, mice, and voles are the worse. They feed on literally everything including grass, vegetables, fruits, and insects. 

For that, they have to dig holes in the yard most of the time. To make it even worse, they will urinate on your lawn grass to cause more damages to your lawn.

Rodents dig holes to steal foods from other underground insects. They also dig those holes to give birth in there. 

It’s nearly impossible to stop the rodent invasion. The best thing you can do is to hire a pest control company to get rid of them.

  • Snake holes

Apart from holes created by vertebrate yard pests like rats and moles, your lawn may have snake holes as well. Usually, they make holes with a circular shape. 

And you may also notice shed snakeskin around those holes.

Sometimes, snakes don’t dig any holes by themselves. They can simply holes created by other animals and insects like gophers.

  • Voles
small holes made by voles

Of course, that’s another culprit to blame for overnight snake-like holes in the yard. But there is a certain way to be sure about this. And you need to notice their droppings.

If you find round droppings with chewed grass clippings nearby the holes, it’s the voles that are creating those holes. Apart from those signs, you may also find a trail of dead grasses.

However, you need to depend on the sign of droppings to be sure about voles. Because mice also use those holes created by voles. Instead of round, the droppings of mice are oval in shape.

Also, don’t confuse voles with mice. They are stockier than mice and have shorter tails.

  • Armadillos

Armadillos love to eat ants, termites, and invertebrates like grubs. So, if you notice such holes in your lawn overnight, you can possibly blame Armadillos too.

So, if there are ants or grubs in your lawn and there are smaller round-shaped holes, Armadillos can also be another culprit to suspect. 

The possibility is really high if Armadillos live nearby your area. They dig up holes in your lawn about 1 to 3 inches deep and around 6 inches wide to locate their food sources.

  • Crayfish

Did you notice some tower-like holes in your yard? It happens if your lawn is located near any water area. The crayfish create those holes!

They use mud balls to create those holes about 3-inch high and 2-inch in diameter.

  • Pets

One of the most destructive behaviors of your pet dog is digging holes. They do it to your sofas, lawns, and whatnot when you left your dog alone for a long time!

The truth is, your dog doesn’t need any good reason to make such holes. Sometimes, they even do it just for fun!

Not just by digging holes, they also damage the lawn by urinating on the lawn grass. Did you know dog pee can kill your lawn grass?

You can’t prevent your dog from playing on your lawn. But you can train it not to pee on the grass. As for holes, you can just fill those holes as soon as you notice them.

  • Birds

Birds love grubs and other worms living in your lawn soil. While hunting for these foods, some larger birds may damage your lawn by digging smaller holes early in the morning.

Now, I would not be worried about the smaller presence of birds as they help to control the insect population. 

Yes, birds may create holes but most of the time they are very tiny which should not be a problem.

However, if you are really worried about the damages caused by the birds, get rid of grabs and other insects from your lawn. You can apply any good grub killer as well for that purpose. 

  • Children

Don’t forget your kids too! Children love to dig holes. It gives them tremendous fun! Maybe you did not notice them the other day they were digging holes.

You need to talk to your kids about this issue and explain to them how digging holes can ruin the very lawn they love too much.

Instead, give your kids a sandpit so that they can still enjoy digging.

How To Fill Holes In The Lawn?

Now that you know what makes small holes in the ground, it’s time to fix those holes and make your lawn pretty again.

Having holes in the lawn is not only ugly, but it can also be potentially dangerous for the kids and pets too. Now, filling those lawn holes depends on the size and number of holes you have there.

If there are only one or two smaller holes, you can simply get some topsoil or even dirt to put them into the hole. Now, step on it and apply foot pressure to make it firm.

Lastly, you can rake the scattered soil into the lawn crevices.

However, you need to apply a different approach for bigger holes to mitigate the serious damage to your lawn ASAP. Follow these below-mentioned steps to fill the bigger holes and ruts:

  1. Get a flat shovel and pry the sunken grasses up. 
  2. Us the shovel to make square 1-foot square sods cutting the sunken areas of the lawn.
  3. Get new topsoil and fill up the holes.
  4. Now, replace the sods and use a roller to press them down.
  5. And you are done!

For too many holes and the damage to your lawn is too much, you need to re-establish your lawn. That means, pest control, tilling, and so on!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What causes small round holes in the lawn?

Small rodents like moles, voles, insects may cause such smaller round holes. Also, wasp and other similar insects may lay eggs on sod and produce holes as well.

What is digging small holes in my yard at night?

Apart from moles and gophers, raccoons and skunks may dig such holes on your lawn at night.

What is burrowing in my lawn?

Underground pests like voles, moles, and gophers may be burrowing in your lawn. Above-ground voles also do the same. Among insects, wireworm and cutworm may burrow as well.

What does vole damage to lawn look like?

You should notice patches of gnaw marks about smaller sizes wide with an irregular pattern. The tubers or roots and gnawed stems have pointed tips as well.

How can we stop burrowing animals?

Some homemade solutions like garlic powder and coffee grounds can keep the burrowing animals away from your lawn. Some commercial products also work like charm to stop such animals.

Final Thoughts

I don’t need to remind you of the serious consequence of having small holes in the lawn overnight. Even the grass surrounding those holes will find it too hard to survive. 

By now you are perfectly aware of what makes them. So, act FAST!

You should be able to get rid of those animals by yourself. If the holes in the yard go beyond your scope, call a pest control service ASAP.

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