Robert Smaus' reply to a Topanga resident who asked how to keep raccoons from disturbing a newly laid sod lawn ("Nature Is Cheering for the Raccoons," Feb. 8) was to berate him for having a sod lawn. What a cop-out!
The poor guy just wanted a solution to his problem, not a lecture by some nature freak. Why can't he have a sod lawn if he wants? Who is Smaus to tell others what they may and may not grow in a rural area?
I have had the same problem with lawn, and I thought it was my neighbor's Vietnamese pig that occasionally roams the neighborhood until I caught the raccoons green-handed.
The lawn had built up a layer of thatch underneath the roots, and the roots were not anchoring the lawn to the soil. Underneath all that was a colony of juicy fat grubs that the raccoons were after.
The physical characteristics of the lawn allowed the raccoons to roll up the grass like a rug, which they frequently did. I tried using motion detectors, but all that did was keep me up all night. The 'coons would come right back after being scared off by me. A light coming on just helped them find the grubs.
I finally gave up and tore out the one offending lawn, rototilled the soil and hauled it off along with the grubs. I then added amendments and reseeded with Marathon. Since then I have had no trouble with raccoons.
I think the trick is to make the lawn root in the soil so it cannot be rolled up. I imagine with time the grubs will return, but they can be controlled with chemicals. (I suppose Smaus is also opposed to that.)
I hope this helps the Topanga resident with his lawn problem.
LAWRENCE I. IVEY