Small Holes in Lawn Overnight Care

Every lawn owner has seen the small holes that appear overnight in their lawn. You may have even found some larger ones, too. Small holes that appear overnight in your lawn may cause your yard to appear unsightly and damaged. 

These holes can be caused by a variety of different animals and pests.

The most common culprits are skunks (if you live in the U.S) and moles. Skunks will dig up the lawn to find food or nesting materials while moles need to tunnel through the lawn to build underground tunnels for travel, mating, and hibernation purposes. To fill in holes in your yard, first identify and cure the problem. Then use a combination of topsoil and compost or sand to close up the openings.

If you want your lawn back without spending money on expensive landscaping services, here are some steps you can take. Let’s get into this article that will hopefully keep you covered… no pun intended:

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Table of Contents

What causes holes in the lawn?

Most small holes that you find in your back garden are because of smaller animals such as rodents, moles and squirrels. The dug-up holes, of course, vary depending on the species that is digging them up.

The following are the reasons for holes in lawns and how to deal with them:

Small Earthworm Holes

These can be found all over lawns and are usually indicative of a healthy lawn. The worms aerate the soil as they move around and their tunnels help to improve drainage.

If you have a significant number of earthworms in your yard, you may wake up to numerous small holes in your grass with tiny quantities of granular soil pellets. Typically, these little caves will be evident near the top of the pile of dirt.

When the soil is wet and the temperature is warm, earthworm holes are common during the spring and autumn seasons.

How to get rid of earthworm holes in lawn:

There is nothing you need to do about small earthworm holes. In fact, they are a good sign that your lawn is healthy and well-aerated. If the castings are visually unappealing, allow them to dry and then brush them into the grass. To decrease earthworm activity in your grass, you might need to collect mowing trimmings.

create holes

Vole Holes

Voles are small rodents that can be found in lawns. These animals eat roots, leaves and stems of grasses. Like moles, voles also create underground tunnels to travel through the lawn. However, unlike other burrowing lawn pests such as moles or gophers who make raised ridges on your lawn with their digging activity, vole holes tend to appear only at the surface level without any noticeable bumps along its path.

How to get rid of voles:

To remove vole holes from your lawn requires patience since one method does not work for all lawn pests.

One of the most effective ways to get rid of voles is by trapping them in a vole trap or with poison bait, which can be purchased at any lawn and garden store near you. However, if your lawn has many voles, this method may take some time since it requires consistent work on your part to catch all these animals before they cause further damage.

Maintain a healthy lawn by watering regularly during dry periods so that grass blades remain moistened but not soggy wet Avoid over-fertilizing lawns as this will make them more appealing to voles.

Another way to get rid of voles is by making their living environment less comfortable. Remove any piles of lumber, leaves or stumps that provide shelter for these rodents and trim back any shrubs or bushes near the lawn’s edge.

Garden Tip 360 Pro Tip – Field mice occasionally inhabit the vacant niches left by voles. Examine the droppings to identify them. The faeces of a field mouse are round in form, somewhat like those of a house mouse.

large hole

Gophers (Mostly found in North and Central America)

Gophers are more serious lawn pests since they can cause more damage. In fact, gopher mounds have been known to destroy lawns and flowerbeds in just a few hours by uprooting or completely destroying the roots of plants.

Gophers love to eat grassroots and blades, so you’ll probably find some grass blades in their tunnels. Apart from the holes dug by gophers, the tunnels this rodent excavates beneath your lawn may harm the structural integrity of your turf, causing uneven ground levels.

How to get rid of gophers:

Repel gophers by sprinkling castor oil pellets in their tunnels. To force them to leave, stuff fabric softener sheets or peppermint oil into their burrows. If required, utilize The Giant Destroyer to exterminate the gophers.

Traps for catching these burrowing animals work best when placed horizontally along their runways leading from their mound entrances to where you suspect them hiding near your lawn’s edge. You will also need a shovel to remove all dirt clods thrown out of the entrance holes as well as any dead gophers found inside trap compartments once an animal has been caught (which is typical).

gopher in hole

Mole Holes

Moles are the lawn pests that can do the most damage. These small, burrowing mammals feed on insects, earthworms and other invertebrates living in the soil. In addition to their feeding habits, moles also create extensive underground tunnels which can ruin lawns by displacing turfgrass and creating unsightly mounds.

Holes from moles are generally covered with a mound of soil (up to 24 inches high) that has risen like a volcano, and the digging animal seldom appears on the grass unless seeking a mate.

So, if you find yourself with a lawn with small holes and mounds that appeared overnight, it’s most likely that moles are digging beneath your grass.

How to get rid of moles:

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for getting rid of these lawn pests. Some methods that have been found effective include trapping them with mole traps or poison bait (again available at your local lawn and garden store), flooding their tunnels with water or using a vibrating disk deterrent.

One way to tell if you have eliminated all the moles is to look for their tunnels. If they have been eradicated, the tunnels will start to collapse and fill in with soil over time.

If you’re having trouble getting rid of moles on your own, contact a professional lawn care service for assistance. They should be able to help you identify the mole’s runways and recommend an appropriate course of action.


Rat Holes

Rat holes are generally smaller than those of other animals and can be difficult to spot. These rodents like to make their homes in sheltered areas near food sources, so you’ll often find rat holes around the perimeter of your home or building, as well as near rubbish bins or wheelie bins.

Droppings from rats are long and slender, with pointed ends. They will also have chew marks on them since rats love to gnaw on things.

How to get rid of rats:

You can try using rat traps baited with cheese or peanut butter (available at most lawn and garden stores). Place the traps where you’ve seen evidence of rat activity (droppings, footprints, etc.), making sure they’re out of reach of children.

Remove their open food sources, clear bushes and mow overgrown grass in your yard, remove their accessible open foods, and apply a natural rat repellent to get rid of rats and prevent future infestations.

rat in garden

Chipmunks and Squirrels

Chipmunks and squirrels can also create holes in lawns, but their damage is usually less severe than that of other animals. These rodents are more likely to chew on tree branches and dig in gardens for food, rather than digging under lawns.

Chipmunks, on the other hand, create little burrows and tunnels in your yard where they can hide from danger. Chipmunk holes may be found near log piles, stumps, and buildings in your lawn.

How to get rid of chipmunks and squirrels:

If you’re having trouble, the best way to get rid of them is by using a repellent. You can purchase animal repellents at most lawn and garden stores. There are a variety of different types available, so be sure to read the label before purchasing one.

Another option is to set up traps baited with nuts or seeds. Again, make sure they’re out of reach of children and other animals.

If you’re still having trouble after trying repellents or traps, contact a professional wildlife control service for assistance. They will be able to identify the animal causing the damage and help you get rid of it.

squirrel holes


If you notice holes in your lawn with small piles of soil nearby, it’s likely that insects are to blame.

Grub worms eat the roots of turfgrasses and can cause large patches of lawn to die. Grubs live underground during the summer months (June through September) before hatching into beetles by fall. Beetles feed on lawns at night, creating shallow tunnels where they push ground dirt out as they move about aboveground.

Other insects that might make small holes in your grass include ants and termites. If the damage to your lawn is substantial, you’ll only need to treat and manage these pests. Otherwise, a little amount of insect activity in the yard is acceptable.

grub worms


When there are more birds on your lawn, it’s an indication that you have a problem with pests. Grubs and ants attract birds, so you’ll see them digging tiny holes with their beaks and claws to reveal and feed on the grubs, ants, termites, etc.

Birds will often begin digging and feeding early in the morning, so you may notice tiny holes forming in your lawn overnight.

How to stop birds from digging holes:

The ideal remedy for lawn holes excavated by birds is to eliminate grubs and other insect pests from your grass. Apply a good grub killer and get rid of ants in your lawn to keep birds from digging up your grass.

birds on lawn

How to fill holes in the lawn

Use a lawn repair kit to fill in the holes. Regardless of what caused them, these kits will help you patch up unsightly lawns that have been damaged overnight by pests or other factors. Fill the hole with soil and seed it over if necessary.

Here’s how to fill big holes and ruts in your lawn:

  1. Use a flat shovel to pry up the sunken grass.
  2. With the shovel, cut out square 1-foot sods from the sunken areas.
  3. Fill in the gaps with fresh dirt.
  4. Replace the grass sods and press them down with your foot.

If the damage is too severe, you may need to start from scratch. This implies that you’ll begin with pest control and finish up tearing down the existing grass and putting in new grass or sod.

flat head shovel

Other Related Questions

Do badgers dig holes in lawns?

Badgers are not as common as other animals that dig holes in lawns, but they can cause significant damage. Badgers are mostly nocturnal and feed on a variety of different items, including small animals, insects, eggs, and fruit.

What Makes 2-inch holes in the ground?

These could be caused by a number of different things, including moles, gophers, voles, squirrels or other small burrowing animals. To get rid of the animal causing the damage, you’ll need to identify it and use the appropriate method of control.

How does Dawn dish soap get rid of burrowing animals?

  1. Fill the kettle with water and heat.
  2. Fill the jar halfway with castor oil.
  3. Fill the jar three-quarters full with hot water.
  4. Add Dawn Dish Soap.
  5. Stir or shake the mixture together.
  6. In a garden sprayer, combine the liquid and all of the other ingredients.
  7. Spray the grass.
  8. Pour into the mole holes if desired.
castor oil

Do coffee grounds repel moles?

Garden moles are repelled by the strong odour of coffee grounds. Sprinkle some fresh coffee grounds throughout the lawn and garden, or toss your brewed coffee grounds into the garden each day after brewing your morning cup of coffee, to use as a repellent.

Does Epsom salt get rid of moles?

Moles are not typically attracted to Epsom salt, but it can help to repel them. Sprinkle the lawn with Epsom salt to keep moles away. Be sure to avoid using too much, as this could harm your grass.

Can Apple cider vinegar get rid of moles?

The jury is still out on this one. Some people say that apple cider vinegar can help to repel moles, while others claim that it does not work. Try spraying the lawn with apple cider vinegar and see if it helps to keep moles away. If it doesn’t, you can always try another method.

apple cider vinegar

Can mint get rid of gophers?

Mint plants are said to be a natural deterrent for gophers. Plant some mint around your garden and lawn to help keep these pests away. Be sure to place the mint in an area where you don’t mind having it grow, as it can be difficult to remove once established.

What smells do moles hate?

Moles are much more likely to leave your lawn alone if you spray it with a solution containing mint, coffee grounds or ammonia. Spray the lawn at dusk so that the strong smells will be strongest when the moles come out to feed.

Can boiling water repel gophers?

There is no evidence suggesting that this works, but many people report success in repelling gophers by pouring boiling water down their holes. If nothing else, this could help keep them away from your lawn for a while.

kettle for dawn dish

How can vinegar get rid of small animals digging up lawns?

Although this method does not work on all types of small mammals and rodents, some gardeners have had luck using apple cider vinegar as an animal deterrent. Apply full-strength apple cider vinegar to the lawn and let it dry before watering. Repeat this several times throughout the summer, especially if you notice damage from small mammals or rodents in your lawn.

Do moles eventually go away?

Moles can be difficult to get rid of, but they will eventually go away on their own. If you’re not interested in using any type of pest control method, you can wait and hope that the moles move on to another area.

mole damage lawn
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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