Skunks are nocturnal animals that are naturally mild-mannered and non-aggressive; they prefer small animals and insects for dinner instead of your garden.
They occasionally visit gardens and if they do, it may be because corn or other plants are close to the ground.
How to Identify Skunks in your Garden
If your lawn or flower bed has lots of holes in it, you may have a skunk problem. Skunks dig up the turf looking for grubs. They move around at night and dig in grassy areas, making distinct 3– to 4–inch deep holes. Skunk activity increases in the spring and then lessens naturally, so any problems may stop all on their own.
How to Get Rid of Skunks
- As skunks are finding lots of grubs in your garden, one of the best preventions is to treat your lawn so that you get rid of their favorite snacks. Spray your lawn with milky spore disease or beneficial nematodes. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for suggestions.
- Spray a mixture of castor oil and dish-washing detergent diluted in water. Skunks find the smell offensive. Spray the area at night when the skunk is away foraging.
- Probably the best skunk repellent is a light. Skunks are nocturnal and their eyes are very light sensitive. A bright light or a motion sensor flood light will scare skunks away.
- One reader says, "Put some pieces of solid laxative, such as Ex-lax, where the skunks can find them. They will eat it and leave. They won't come back."
- Most animals, including skunks, dislike the smell of citrus fruits. Place orange or lemon peels around the yard as a natural skunk repellent.
- Predator urine (dogs, coyotes) can be used as ways to get rid of a skunk. These are commercially sold in garden centers. (Note: Use responsible source for predator urine, to make sure that the animals are treated humanely and the brand complies with state and federal regulations.)
- Many of readers have found success placing ammonia-soaked rags around the yard, however, these need to replaced often.
- If the skunks are in a smaller garden patch, put bars of strong–smelling soap or a room deodorizer near your garden. Skunks hate strong scents.
- Fencing may also be a good idea for small areas, such as a garden patch.
- If you don’t want skunks living under your deck or shed, seal these areas with chicken wire. Leave at least one foot of additional wire on the ground extending from the structure to prevent skunks from digging under to enter.
- If nothing works, there are humane ways for professionals to trap raccoons and skunks and transport them elsewhere. Often trapping is the only answer and there just isn't a lot you can do if it is a skunk. However, be aware that many species of wildlife do not survive when placed in a new territory.