Has your lawn become a raccoon and skunk buffet?

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This year, many homeowners have declared war against skunks and raccoons who have left lawns in ruins throughout the summer. Turned up sod, uprooted flower beds and gardens, and countless small holes have become a      too-familiar site.

This year, many homeowners have declared war against skunks and raccoons who have left lawns in ruins throughout the summer. Turned up sod, uprooted flower beds and gardens, and countless small holes have become a      too-familiar site.
There is an excess of grubs this year (see page 13) leaving property owners desperate to find solutions to this furry plague. Luckily, countless other people have experienced the same issue and have developed home remedies for the problem.
Raccoons and skunks may     be stubborn and have good         memories but they won’t waste effort for no reward – they can be discouraged! If you make it difficult for them to dig, and eliminate their food source, they’ll go digging for dinner elsewhere.
One of the most common solutions is to rid your lawn of the grubs; aside from attracting critters, they also eat grass’ roots and make it easier to turn up the sod. A natural parasite that      kills these grubs, called Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, or Nematodes, can be applied to lawns in the fall to prevent grubs from developing in the spring. Ask your local garden centre associate for details.
Others swear by motion-detected lights and sprinklers that will startle and repel the     animals.
Some people make their own ‘pepper-sprays’ by combining chopped jalapeno and habanero peppers, onions, and cayenne pepper powder with 2 quarts of water; boil the mixture for           30 minutes before spraying around the property. Spreading mothballs or placing tins of ammonia with a rag to wick the smell have a similar effect, as strong smells repel the animals.
Fences have also been cited as solutions. People can either install a chain link fence or run two electric fence fires, one at four inches from the ground and the other at twelve, around the property’s perimeter.
Other solutions include: spreading chicken wire over      the lawn; live-trapping the animals and transporting them              elsewhere; placing a dog in the yard for the night shift; hanging shoes and socks as well as dog or human hair stuffed into nylon stockings around the yard;      turning on a radio and leaving it on the lawn during the night; placing streamers around the yard; or planting squash around problem areas as the animals do not like walking on prickly vines.
Although some methods may work better than others,        homeowners may find some peace in knowing they are   proactively facing the enemy. If all else fails, some may be left to simply learn to coexist with the animals and accept they will be a part of their lives – at least until the grubs are gone and the crops have withered for the year.   
Allyson Beauregard, Editor