Has your yard been hit yet? For the last month or two, many Belwood and nearby residents have been awakening in the morning to damaged landscaping, particularly front lawns. One home owner phoned the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police to complain about his vandalized front yard. But this time, it’s not human caused damage.
On several social media sites, neighbors vent that they have been victims of wild pigs or boars. But that’s not it – at least not for most of us. Boars do far more destruction and they are further in the hills, though perhaps if you are in the east Los Gatos foothills around Santa Rosa, or in parts of Almaden near open space that could be a risk.
Although sometimes the damage is quite extensive, involving a large percentage of one’s front lawn, the guilty parties are usually hungry racoons. Crows may be assisting too, but they don’t create problems on as large of a scale.
They are after a meal in the form of tasty lawn grubs. Grubs find their way into the soil to eat the roots of the grass, and those grubs seem to be the best eating in town for some of the local wildlife.
If that’s not enough, squirrels like to bury food in lawns, too (someone is giving out peanuts in the shell – the squirrels keep burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).
The first photo is of our family’s front yard and it was taken in early September. The second one is of our next door neighbor’s place, and it was taken about a week ago.
Most of the time, the racoons creep out in the middle of the night, but not always. A couple of days ago, our hungry hunters came back between about 6pm and9pm. It must have only barely been dark!
So what can you do about it?
In my real estate practice, recently I showed a home with a lawn grub problem. The home owners there laid down something like a soft plastic chicken wire atop the lawn and similar landscaping. It did seem to work in terms of keeping the critters out, but it may not do anything at all for the grubs which are the Siren call to them.
One grub solution is beneficial nematodes. These are a type of roundworm used to kill the grubs without using pesticides. This approach may work for some but I’m reading comments online that this has not been so successful for many who’s attempted to quash the grubs this way.
There are anti grub pesticides available as well. Sunset Magazine advises that the best thing to do is to dig into your lawn and get some of the grub worms to take to your local nursery to identify the culprit, as different treatments will be more successful with one type of grub than another.
No matter how you treat them, you do want to get rid of the grub worms, as a serious infestation will not only be unsightly, but eventually will kill the lawn.
Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont – we have a problem.
It’s your pets and where they do their doo doo.
People in Los Gatos love their pets. Not all of them – residents or pets – are well behaved, though.
One neighbor of ours in Belwood who recently planted new sod in his front yard got tired of locals allowing (encouraging?) their pets to relieve themselves on his newly laid lawn and put up two signs telling them not to do it.
Another neighbor, on another street, placed graphic “no pooping” signs along one side of the yard because not only were pooches defecating there, but their owners were not cleaning up after them, either.
Dogs are usually on leashes, so it’s hard to say that their owners don’t know any better. But what about cats who are allowed to roam freely and do what they want and where they want? Their messes become everyone’s problem too – the owners just don’t have direct knowledge of it.
We have this issue in our front yard, where a neighborhood cat seems to love to return again and again, and the stench from its markings can be unbearable – especially early in the morning when stumbling out to get the newspaper. (Maybe it’s to taunt our black lab, who can’t get at the cat?) Jim periodically uses some nasty sprinkles from a company called Predator Pee (not making this up!) to keep the felines away. It works, but it, too, is smelly. Wouldn’t it be nicer if cats only stunk up their own yards? (Aren’t cats safer if kept indoors, too?) Continue reading