What Is Making Small Holes In My Lawn

Do you have holes in your lawn, even though you really put in the effort to maintain it? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be you or the lawn. In fact, the causes are often animal-related.

Real holes in particular – i.e. not bare patches or yellow spots in the lawn – usually come from small garden visitors.

What causes holes in the garden?

Holes in the lawn are not pretty. But they do not always have the same causes. Those who improperly maintain their lawn in the garden for a long time can expect holes to appear over time.

The situation is different when animals are up to their mischief. Holes then seem to appear overnight. Usually they are dug into the ground by insects or voles to create underground tunnel systems.

Occasionally, wild pigs, hedgehogs, birds or badgers may also use the garden as a food source and then leave large holes when they peck or dig.

How do you identify the cause of the holes?

  • Holes about two centimeters in size: shrew, field mouse.
  • Holes under a mound of earth: vole, mole
  • Sandus throw: ants
  • Earthy droppings: Earthworms
  • Superficial, bare gaps: care mistakes

What are the consequences of holes in the garden?

Holes in the lawn never look nice. They also make it difficult to work with a lawn mower in the garden and can quickly become nasty tripping hazards.

Considering the underground passage systems, ants become petty offenders. This is because the tunnels can channel water underground like a drainage system. As a result, irrigation water is lost.

What animals cause holes in the lawn?

lawn holes caused by mice

They annoy us in the vegetable gardens, make themselves over freshly planted woody plants or eat our beloved flower bulbs: voles live in self-dug tunnel systems and also simply continue to use old mole tunnels. Holes made by voles have an egg-shaped, highly oval cross-section and are located directly next to shallow piles of earth, the soil of which is usually interspersed with numerous fine roots.

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Voles, unlike moles, leave their holes in the lawn open for a long time. Shrews also leave their two-centimeter holes in the lawn or at the edge of the lawn, which are easily visible due to the lack of sputum.

Typical for the animals is the conspicuously pointed snout. To precisely unmask the builder of the holes, you can place a game camera next to the hole. Field mice dig similar holes, but have a completely different head shape.

rats as causers

What Is Making Small Holes In My Lawn

Somewhat larger holes in the lawn are sometimes caused by rats. These animals live in underground tunnels and, like shrews and field mice, do not throw soil out of the holes.

The tunnels, and therefore the holes, are round and up to 15 centimeters in size. The entrances are often somewhat hidden under dense shrubbery, garden sheds, or in somewhat overgrown corners of the garden. If you catch rats in your garden, you must report this to the public order office and before you try to drive the rats away.

easier to spot: Mole

More known for the annoying mounds and less for holes in the lawn is the mole. This is because he quickly closes his holes again. Moles can be chased away with unpleasant odors if you put them in the holes as a deterrent. However, leave an escape route open for the animals and do not circle them with the scents.

birds also cause holes in the lawn

Seemingly out of nowhere, irregularly shaped holes in the turf are usually caused by birds, which are targeting worms or ants in the lawn and are not exactly squeamish.

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The holes are not very deep, but the turf is ruined in the first place and is usually still torn up next to it. Not only thrushes come into question, but also green woodpeckers in the vicinity of forests and parks.

earthworms in the soil

Earthworms work the soil more effectively than many tillers. With their infinitely long tunnel systems, they ensure that rainwater can penetrate very well into deeper soil layers.

They also ensure good soil fertility. So as the beneficial animals dig through the soil, they excrete a mixture of indigestible soil particles and undigested organic matter. This can be recognized by the droppings on the surface of the soil.

Even if the overall appearance of the lawn is somewhat affected by this, you should not try to get rid of the earthworms. Rather, they are very helpful and through their work ensure that plants are supplied with important nutrients.

beware of earth wasps

At least one discovers these causers of lawn holes quite fast: Lively air traffic around the entrance hole or also in beds make us attentive to earth wasps, which defend their nest lying under it with direct disturbance courageously.

The holes are about one centimeter in size and round, but sometimes the animals set up their nests in abandoned mouse burrows. Simply seal the nests with soil in the fall – this will prevent them from being re-covered.

mole crickets

Bald spots the size of a tennis ball indicate mole crickets. These large insects can ruin lawns quite badly in mass infestations, as they eat away at the grass roots around the holes. The holes themselves are less than an inch in size and round.

wild boars, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits or badgers.

More rarely, holes in the lawn are caused by larger animals. Wild boars, in particular, can completely devastate a garden in a short time. Hedgehogs also sometimes leave small, shallow holes. Occasionally raccoons stray into our gardens.

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They are then usually in search of food and dig up the ground. If the holes are 15 to 20 centimeters in diameter, you can assume that they are in the rabbit. During the day you can also discover them in the garden. The easiest way to keep them out is to use fences or walls.

Holes in the lawn: The most common maintenance mistakes
If no insects or animals are responsible for the holes and gaps, then it is often a matter of maintenance mistakes or cheap lawn mixtures.

The problem: holes and bare spots are covered by weeds, and the weeding in turn creates more holes in the lawn – quickly creating a vicious cycle.

Therefore, be sure to choose high-quality seed. To fill the holes again, lightly prick out the affected areas with a spade and loosen the subsoil. After that, fill deep holes with potting soil first. After that, you can spread the seed on it and tread the surface firmly. Keep the subsoil moist until the germination of the lawn seeds.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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