How to Get Rid of Skunks Digging Mulch

Skunks tear up mulch as they dig for food.
Skunks tear up mulch as they dig for food. (Image: Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Skunk is a five-letter word most homeowners dread. Skunks spray a foul-smelling liquid when they are startled, which clings to clothing and fur and lingers for weeks. Not only are skunks unpleasant to smell, they carry disease-ridden parasites that infest your pets. Skunks are opportunistic feeders, and often dig up mulch and garden plants as they search for insects on which to dine. Ridding your yard of skunks keeps your pets, and your family, safe and free of lingering skunky odors.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal trash can with lid
  • Lemon dish soap
  • Lemon oil
  • Castor oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Roll of wire mesh
  • Metal stakes
  • Zip ties

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Clear your yard of wood scraps, lawn debris and fallen logs. Skunks often hide out under piles of debris, and removing them cuts down on potential nesting sites.

Place pet food and garbage bags in metal trash cans with locking lids. Eliminating the strong scents emanating from these items reduces the number of skunks attracted to your yard.

Pour 1 oz. of lemon dish soap into a spray bottle, and add 20 drops of pure lemon oil. Fill the bottle with castor oil, and spray mulch with this solution. Skunks do not like citrus and stay away from the odor.

Surround mulched areas with a wire mesh fence to keep skunks from tearing up your mulch. Push a metal stake into the soil at one corner of your garden, and add another stake every 24 inches along the perimeter. Unroll fine wire mesh against the stakes, and attach at the top and bottom of each stake with a zip tie. Wire mesh is small enough to prevent skunks from digging through your mulch as they search for bugs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Move slowly and quietly if you happen to see a live skunk. A skunk stamps his feet and raises his tail if he feels threatened, so stand quietly until he calms down and walks away.
  • Never attempt to trap a skunk on your own. If you feel trapping is necessary, call a professional exterminator to remove the skunk from your property.


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