Small Holes in Lawn Overnight: What’s Causing Them?

Small Holes in Lawn Overnight

Holes that often appear on our lawn overnight are not only ugly-looking but can also be pretty damaging to the health of your plants. People usually see these holes in their gardens when they wake up in the morning because the activities that cause them usually happen early in the morning or at night.

If you are sure that it’s neither your house pets nor your children at play, then it becomes necessary that you investigate the causes behind these holes properly. This is because they can damage your lawn to the extent of digging everything out and re-doing from the start.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to save your lawn from these dangerous holes and their causes!

What causes the holes in my lawn?

There are many reasons for these holes appearing in your lawn. These burrows or holes can be of different sizes, which means they could have different reasons behind them. Figuring out whether these holes are always small, always big, or a mix of both will give you a clear view of what your next approach should be.

Smaller holes are generally caused by insects, rodents, moles, voles, birds, or wasps. Meanwhile, larger holes are more dangerous and usually caused by bigger rodents or groundhogs. Now, let’s discuss the causes in detail so that you know what signs to notice and how to prevent them.


Voles are small rodents that love to dig deep burrows in the ground for their activities. Their existence can be a nightmare for gardeners. To confirm that these holes are caused by voles, notice the following things in your lawn:

  • Gnawed out stems, leaving behind only the tips
  • Chewed out grass
  • Holes near trees or plants
  • Dead grass
  • Dead plants as voles eat the roots

It is very important to eliminate these voles from your lawn, as they can be pretty damaging plants, especially young plants. To protect your lawn from voles, fill the holes with topsoil first, then remove the damaged plants or vegetation, and lastly, fertilize the affected areas. You can also use live traps or natural vole repellents.


Earthworms are tiny worms found commonly in almost every garden or lawn. They are regarded as important microorganisms as they make it easier for the soil to absorb water and available nutrients. Earthworms are usually very active in springs and summers, as the climate is humid, the soil is moist, and the temperature is warmer.

Their main source of food is the soil; hence, they make these holes specifically to aerate it. This aeration is very healthy for the soil and plants. They don’t cause any harm to the plants or vegetation, but seeing a lot of tiny holes and bumps in your lawn might look very unpleasant and ugly.

The suggested solution is to just change their position. To do this, you just have to wait for the soil to dry and then gently rake the garden to move these earthworms towards some other grassy area.

To lessen their activity in the future, take the following precautions:

  • Keep your garden clean
  • Remove any decaying plant or vegetation
  • Remove grass clippings after mowing the lawn


Wasps can be extremely dangerous for your lawns. They generally dig holes in the ground to hunt for grubs. They lay eggs on these dead grubs. Wasps are also known to control the number of grubs in the soil.

Another type of wasps digs holes to hunt for cicadas, and then they eat them as well. To investigate if the holes in your garden are dug by wasps, look for the following signs:

  • Smaller holes around 1 or 2 inches
  • Holes found near shorter grass and where vegetation is less


Moles also dig holes in the lawns to hunt and kill grubs for food. They also kill and eat earthworms, whose activities are important for healthy soil. They dig these holes overnight, leaving behind big mounds of soil, waiting in the lawn for you. They usually remain underground, appearing on the surface for mating only, making it hard to catch them.

To be sure that these holes are dug by moles in your lawn, look if the burrows are 10 inches deep and the mounds left behind are conical. To eliminate these moles from your lawn, use repellents and live traps. And if you want to go for a more natural way, use castor oil ointments.


Beetles are very dangerous for the health of the soil, plants, and vegetation, which is why it is essential that you notice their presence on your lawn and take the necessary steps to eliminate them completely. Beetles dig holes in the lawns to lay eggs that hatch into grubs. These grubs hide inside the soil until they mature into beetles. They feed on the roots of plants while they are growing.

In summer and spring, they finally become beetles and start to come out, leaving behind small holes in your lawn. The presence of grubs causes a lot more problems, as different animals usually come and dig holes in order to hunt and feed on grubs.


Common insects found in lawns are ants and termites, and they usually cause these tiny holes in large numbers. Although the presence of insects is pretty common and usual in gardens and lawns, it is important to limit and control them by using pesticides.


A rat infestation is pretty common in gardens. Their activity is also usual in grassy areas such as house lawns or gardens. Their holes are bigger, and their source of food is grass. So you may notice uneven grass lengths in a lawn infested by rats. They also dig holes to hunt for insects and eat them. Rodents like rats also hide under the ground when they are giving birth. To notice their presence, look for the following signs:

  • Holes near trees, roots, or plants
  • Gnawed out grass or leaves
  • Holes are usually 3 inches wide
  • Rat waste found near the holes
  • Soil just thrown out of the holes; there is no specific shape of the mounds

To protect your lawns from rats, take the following steps:

  • Remove bushy areas
  • Keep your grass mowed to a good short length
  • Use rat repellents


Usually, when there are insects present in your soil, such as earthworms, grubs, ants, termites, or others, there is an increased bird activity. Birds dig numerous tiny holes in the lawns to look for insects and eat them. Holes by smaller birds might not make a huge difference in your lawn, but big birds can cause huge destruction by digging a lot of bigger holes.

To lessen the bird activity, you just need to control the number of insects in your soil by using insect repellents. Birds will not dig holes if there is no food present inside for them.


Snakes are dangerous animals that come to dig holes in grassy lands and hunt for rodents. Since snakes feed on rats, gophers, moles, etc., commonly found in lawns or gardens, they dig deep holes to hunt for them.

The signs for snake infestation in your lawn are usually circular-shaped holes, and there may be traces of shed snake skin outside or near the holes.


If you notice a lot of small holes on the ground, squirrels can be the culprits behind them. Squirrels hide their nuts in these dug holes to eat them later.

Squirrels love to nibble on weed, so if you have them on your lawn, squirrels might dig holes around them. Squirrels dig shallow holes about 2 inches in width, and you can be sure that squirrels are definitely the culprit behind these holes if you don’t see any mound of soil.


Chipmunks are another type of animal that dig burrows in the ground. They dig these small holes, burrows, or tunnels to hide from any danger or other animals.

Similar to squirrels, chipmunks also like to hide their food under the ground. They make their nests, relax and hunt, all while being underground through these holes that they dig. Catching chipmunks or squirrels is pretty difficult, as they are very quick in their movements, which is why it is always a better option to contact animal services.


For people whose houses are located near ports, they may also need to consider the presence of crayfish. Wet and moist soils indicate the existence of crayfish inside. They make mud balls and use them to make holes that are almost 2 inches in diameter and 3 inches in height.

The main sign of a lawn infested by crayfish is that they leave behind tall mud towers around 2 to 5 inches in height with a wide hole at the top.

To eliminate them from your soil, use live trapping ways or contact professionals.


If you wake up one morning to find holes in your lawns, an armadillo could also be one of the culprits. If you live in an area where such animals are commonly found, it is highly possible that your lawn is infected by armadillos.

Armadillos like to eat ants, grubs, worms, and termites, so if you see armadillos in your yard, it also confirms that your soil is filled with insects and pests. Notice the following signs to confirm whether an armadillo is digging holes in your lawn or not:

  • Armadillos make shallow holes of about 1 to 3 inches deep and 6 inches in width.
  • Tiny holes dug by ants or grubs accompanied by larger holes dug by armadillos to hunt them.

It is important to keep an eye out for them as they dig up the soil to eat the animals present inside, damaging the vegetation and turf.


If you are unable to notice any signs related to the causes discussed above, you might need to take a look at your children’s activities. Since all kids love to go to beaches and play with sand, they might try to repeat that and play with the soil in your lawn by digging up holes. They could also do it for fun to hide things or toys, just like their favorite animals, squirrels, or chipmunks. Just keep an eye on them for a day or two, and you will know whether they are responsible for the holes.


Your pets could also be the reason behind these holes in your garden. Dogs and cats are known to dig holes in lawns for fun or to hide their food, just like other animals. These animals usually make larger holes with soil all over the place and not in the shape of a mound. We suggest you call animal protection services if animals like dogs or cats are bothering you too much regarding this issue.

How to fix the holes

After confirming the cause behind the holes in your lawn and taking the necessary steps to eliminate them, the next step is to try and fill up those holes. How you fill them depends on the size and the number of holes.

If there is only a single hole dug into the ground by an animal, you can easily fill it up with some soil by hand or by using a smaller shovel. After adding the soil into the holes, press it with your foot so that it is not loose but compacted. Remove any leftover soil.

To cover up large holes in your lawn, here’s what you need to do:

  • Using a shovel, dig up the sunken grass
  • Divide the area into smaller sections for ease
  • Fill these smaller holes with dirt or topsoil
  • Remove the old turf with newer ones and compact it all with a roller in the end


What is causing small holes in my lawn?

Small holes in your lawn can be caused by voles, moles, ants, termites, birds, earthworms, or other small rodents. They usually do so to hide from any danger, save their food for later use, or hunt for food.

What makes 2-inch holes in the ground?

Generally, a two-inch hole is made by a chipmunk or a squirrel, with a mound of about 1 inch high. If you live near a port, it might also be due to crayfish.

What insect makes holes in the ground?

Wasps, beetles, ants, termites, and many other insects are known to dig tiny holes in the ground to grow, hide, or make their nests.


To deal with small holes in lawn overnight, you first need to know the culprit behind them. After this, it is easier to do damage control by using repellents, natural ways, or by contacting relevant services. You need to take action as soon as you notice any bumps or holes. Otherwise, if it gets too late, the ground becomes a home for all the insects and animals to breed, hunt, and grow, which can cause drainage issues as well.

As a result, you will have to re-establish your whole lawn from the very beginning. To prevent all this from happening, we suggest that you just keep an eye on your lawn, notice every small sign, and take the necessary precautions!

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