Rats – The hidden troublemakers in your lawn.

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 15 November 2023 

A lush, green lawn is often considered the hallmark of a well-maintained home. Homeowners invest time and resources to ensure their lawns are vibrant and healthy. However, there’s a hidden menace that can wreak havoc on the carefully cultivated greenery.

We’ve had many occasions recently where homeowners have raised concerns about a certain type of physical damage. There is often evidence of large holes (5-10cm wide) and a constant scattering of lawn thatch across the surface of the lawn. The damage happens at night and generally leaves people scratching their heads about what it could be. It’s almost like something is pulling it up and digging around in it, and if that’s what your intuition tells you, you may well be right. As much as folks don’t like to think about it, often, these can be the signs that you have a rat problem.

The Silent Invaders:

Rats are opportunistic creatures, adapting easily to various environments. Lawns provide an ideal habitat, offering ample food sources, shelter, and nesting opportunities. Unlike other pests that might leave visible signs of destruction from the outset, rats are discreet in their activities, making it challenging to detect their presence until the damage becomes apparent.

Types of Damage:

Tunneling and Burrowing:

Rats are proficient diggers and can create an extensive network of tunnels and burrows beneath the surface of your lawn. This not only weakens the soil structure but also poses a threat to the roots of grass and other plants. The intricate tunnel systems can compromise the stability of the lawn, leading to uneven surfaces and potential tripping hazards.

Feeding on Roots and Vegetation:

Rats are omnivores, and they won’t hesitate to feast on the roots of your lawn. This feeding behaviour can result in patches of dead or dying lawn, leaving it looking sparse and unhealthy. You can also notice piles of runners and roots on the surface in particular spots around your lawn. You'll rake them up one day, and they'll re-appear the next morning!   

Contamination and Disease:

Rats carry a variety of diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated soil or surfaces. Their urine and feces can contaminate your lawn, posing health risks to anyone who comes into contact with it.

Dealing With Rat Damage:

I’ve seen many instances where rats have caused damage to perfectly maintained lawns in very nice backyards, so if you have a rat problem, it may not necessarily be because you’re doing something wrong. Your neighbours may have them, or you may have a perfectly irresistible fruit tree luring them in (rats love a good feed on unripe fruit!) That being said, there are a few things that you can think about.  

Maintain a Tidy Lawn:

Rats are attracted to clutter and debris. Regularly clean up fallen leaves, branches, and any other potential hiding spots for rats. Keep the lawn well-trimmed to reduce hiding places.

Proper Waste Management:

Ensure that rubbish bins are tightly sealed, and compost piles are situated away from the lawn. Rats are attracted to food sources, and eliminating easy access can discourage their presence.

Professional Pest Control:

If you suspect a rat infestation, you can do a couple of things. While carefully considering yours and other people’s pets, you can try baiting or trapping them. Alternatively, you can seek the help of professional pest control services. They can assess the extent of the issue and implement effective measures to eradicate the rodents and prevent future infestations.

In that sense, rat control is fairly intuitive. The intent of this blog wasn’t to give you advice on how to control rats; it was more to bring to light that rat damage in lawns is a problem and it’s more common than you might think. It’s rare that they completely destroy a lawn; however, they can cause an unsightly mess, and then there is the thought of having rats on your property!

If you’d like advice on this or any other problem with your lawn, give us a call on 8298 0555 or send an email through to info@paulmunnsinstantlawn.com.au

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