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Squirrel Holes In Yard (and EASILY Stop Lawn Digging)

As a longtime nature lover and squirrel observer, I’ve seen my fair share of squirrel holes in yards. These pesky critters can leave behind hundreds of holes while digging for food or shelter. Are squirrels digging up your lawn? Don’t worry, with the right knowledge, you can stop squirrels from ruining your lawn and garden. Read on!

Squirrels dig shallow holes in yards to hide food like nuts and seeds for winter. Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to stop them:

  • Fix holes by pressing the soil down gently.
  • Use repellents.
  • Limit food sources.
  • Install fences.
  • Trim vegetation.
  • Scare them away.
  • Modify their habitat.
  • Seal entry points into the home (don’t provide shelter).

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about squirrel holes in your yard and how to stop them from digging up your beautiful lawn. From why they dig to how to get rid of them humanely. You’ll also learn how to prevent future damage through repellents, habitat modification, and more.

After reading this guide, you’ll be fully equipped to reclaim your yard and protect it against invading squirrels.

Why Squirrels Dig Holes in Your Yard

Wild squirrels dig holes in yards for two main reasons:

Food Storage

Tree squirrels like gray, red, fox, and flying squirrels dig holes to hide or “cache” food like nuts, acorns, seeds, and fungi. They bury food to save for winter when less is available. During a single season, squirrels possess the remarkable ability to carefully conceal a multitude of thousands of nuts!

You’ll notice more squirrel holes in the yard during the fall as they prepare for winter. The holes are usually shallow, about 1-2 inches deep. Some uncovered caches may have nuts still inside.


Ground squirrels like prairie dogs and chipmunks dig holes for underground burrows and tunnel systems for shelter. Burrows have sleeping/nesting chambers and multiple entrances up to 15 feet long.

Ground squirrel holes are wider (3+ inches) and lead downwards into tunnels. Mounds of dirt are often beside the entrance.

Signs of Squirrels Digging in Your Yard

Watch for these clues to know if squirrels are ruining your lawn and garden:

  • Small, shallow holes around trees, flower beds, and planting areas
  • Uncovered nuts or seeds in holes
  • Mounds of loose soil near holes
  • Larger (3+ inches) holes with tunnels underneath
  • Active holes with smooth walls from repeated digging
  • Squirrel sightings in your yard

Tree squirrel holes are most common in fall when they cache nuts. Seek professional removal help if holes and tunnels are extensive.

Dangers of Squirrels Digging Holes in Yard

A squirrel digging in your yard now and then won’t cause too much damage. But extensive uncontrolled activity can lead to:

  • Tripping hazards – Holes and mounds of dirt create risks for twisting ankles or falling.
  • Structural damage – Burrows near foundations can undermine stability.
  • Root damage – Gnawing on tree bark and roots makes trees prone to disease.
  • Crop loss – Squirrels dig up planted seeds, seedlings, bulbs, and eats berries.
  • Diseased pests – Fleas and ticks can spread from squirrels to humans and pets.

It’s best to act quickly and fill in or block holes to protect your lawn. Unchecked squirrel damage only gets worse over time.

How to Get Rid of Squirrel Holes in Yard

Here are the top options to get rid of squirrel holes and stop further destruction of your lawn:

1. Fill in Existing Holes

For tree squirrel food storage holes, simply fill them back in gently with the surrounding soil. Scatter grass seed to help heal the damaged area.

For larger ground squirrel burrows, pack the hole firmly with dirt and rocks to prevent re-digging. Mound soil over the filled hole.

2. Use Repellents

Applying natural repellents around your yard and garden can deter squirrels from digging. Popular options include:

  • Hot pepper spray – Mix cayenne pepper and water and spray over problem areas.
  • Castor oil – Has a strong scent. Mix with water to spray or soak cotton balls.
  • Fox or coyote urine – Triggers natural fear in squirrels.
  • Moth balls or ammonia-soaked rags – Unpleasant scents placed by holes.

Reapply repellents frequently, especially after rain. Combining 2-3 options heightens effectiveness.

3. Remove Food Sources

Eliminate anything that attracts squirrels to your yard:

  • Bird feeders – Use squirrel-proof ones or place them away from digging sites.
  • Fallen fruits/nuts – Collect promptly and remove.
  • Vegetable gardens – Use fencing to protect produce.
  • Compost piles – Enclose compost in a secure bin.
  • Pet food – Never leave dishes outside.
  • Open trash cans – Use containers with tight lids.

A yard with less available food is less appealing to foraging squirrels.

4. Install Fences

Fences are a guaranteed way to keep squirrels from digging up specific areas like gardens, flower beds, or lawns.

The Best Squirrel-Proof Barriers

Bury fencing 1 foot into the ground to prevent burrowing underneath. Chicken wire and hardware cloth work well. A 3-foot tall fence with an outward-facing lip deters climbing.

5. Trim Vegetation

Cut back overgrown bushes, thick ground cover, and tree branches touching houses. Eliminating dense vegetation removes squirrel shelter and hiding spots.

Pruning also gives fewer routes for squirrels to jump onto roofs and access attics.

6. Scare Them Away

Making your yard unwelcoming will send squirrels looking elsewhere to dig their holes:

  • Motion activated sprinklers
  • Predator decoys like owls or hawks
  • Noise deterrents like radios or ultrasonic devices
  • Shiny objects like pinwheels, aluminum pans, or reflective tape
  • Dogs supervised in your yard

Use a combination of 2-3 scare tactics and move them around periodically so squirrels don’t get used to them.

The Best Squirrel Repellent

7. Modify Habitat

Landscaping tweaks can your yard less appealing long term:

  • Remove piles of wood, rocks, and debris they use for shelter.
  • Plant squirrel-resistant bulbs like daffodils.
  • Switch to gravel or stone mulch they dislike digging through.

A tidy yard without shelter options convinces squirrels to move on.

8. Seal Entry Points on Home

Make sure squirrels can’t get into your attic or walls as they search for dens. Repair holes in eaves, chimneys, and rooflines so you don’t end up with indoor damage too!

If you think that squirrels may already be in your attic, read this guide explaining the signs of squirrels in your attic.

Natural Predators That Catch Squirrels

Certain predators can help control your squirrel population if you don’t want to use traps or lethal methods. Consider attracting:

  • Hawks – Nest boxes attract hawks who eat both tree and ground squirrels.
  • Snakes – Places for snakes to hide like rock piles let them hunt squirrels.
  • Coyotes – Dense bushes and forested areas provide coyote shelter and hunting grounds.
  • Foxes – A den box appeals to foxes that prey on ground squirrels.

A wildlife-friendly yard will naturally reduce your squirrel problem over time. But also take precautions to keep pets and kids safe.

When to Call Professional Squirrel Removal Services

It’s smart to contact professional wildlife removal experts if:

  • Holes and tunnels in your yard are very extensive
  • You’ve tried do-it-yourself solutions without success
  • Squirrels have caused major damage to lawns, gardens, or home
  • You don’t want to DIY lethal trapping methods
  • Local laws prohibit trapping/relocating squirrels yourself

Professional squirrel removal combines expertise with access to the best traps and deterrents homeowners can’t easily get.

They know exactly how to:

  • Find and seal every entry point into your home
  • Humanely trap squirrels
  • Clean up damage from nesting, urine, and droppings
  • Install effective exclusion measures to keep new squirrels out

Don’t let invading squirrels ruin the curb appeal and safety of your yard. Call in the pros before the problem gets out of control.

Preventing Squirrels from Returning

Take away the things that attracted squirrels to your yard in the first place:

  • Remove food sources – Manage yards, gardens, trash, and pet food responsibly.
  • Eliminate shelter – Trim vegetation. Remove woodpiles, debris, and ground piles.
  • Use repellents – Maintain a regimen of squirrel repellent sprays and granules.
  • Install barriers – Fences, cone baffles, and wire mesh protect vulnerable areas.
  • Close off entry points – Seal up holes and weak spots around the home perimeter.

Vigilantly sticking to prevention methods will ensure squirrels don’t view your yard as a prime spot to settle down and cause havoc.


Finding those pesky squirrel holes in yard or having squirrels digging up your lawn can be frustrating. But a bit of knowledge about why squirrels dig combined with smart prevention and removal tips will soon have them looking for a new neighborhood!

The key is taking quick action at the first signs of activity before the damage becomes extensive. With persistence and the right strategy, you can reclaim your yard and garden again!

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