Hope this helps someone. If it does, please return the favor & rep me ok-
Use the "Heavy" galvanized "Hardware Cloth". It’s harder to work with, but when you are finished. You'll have a Mat that is VERY strong and can be reused next grow. I really prefer using the Long "Landscaping Nails". You just pound them down & you’re done. Make sure you use 8 Nails per mat! But you can also use the long metal poles in certain situations.Remember the Mat can be as large as you want. You just want to make sure your Nails are in the ground outside the perimeter of the Hole. (The Nails need to be in hard ground) Also make sure you always trim the mat so as its edges have sharp "Thorns". This is accomplished by simply cutting 2 adjacent squares in half. (Rather than cutting right down the edge). If when you are handling the mat, you get "poked" you know you did a good job! This is what the Coons don't like. They have no protection on their wrist and they also get poked in the nose.
I decided to show a little closer how I keep the Coons from digging deep holes into my root system. The Hardware cloth I used here is actually too "wimpy" I chose it because it was coated in green vinyl. I usually use galvanized, and then spray paint it with camo paint. This green stuff looked great, but then I opened it up I realized it was a gauge thinner. I had to use it anyway because of time restraints. Also you can substitute steel rods with 12" landscaping nails or visa verse. If you use the steel rods, drive them into the Hardware cloth & leave about 1" above ground. Then use black zip ties to cinch the Hardware cloth down onto the the steel rod & ground. If the ground is real rocky the nails are the way to go. If the ground is real soft the 4ft stakes are better. Remember you can you this system on a potted plant. Just drill holes around the top circumference of you plastic pot. Cut the Cloth so it over hangs the pot by about 2 inches. Zip tie the cloth to the top of pot through the holes. Then drive 3 ft long stakes through the cloth in the square closest to the pot. This will keep the pot from being tipped over. If you do this with a potted plant you only need four steel rods. (The zip ties will keep the mat attached to the pot and the rods support the pot) Peace & good luck, you’ll need it with these little crafty bastards.
The way I finally figured out what was doing all the digging, was with a live trap. I lost so many plants last year, I lost count. We have a Massive Coon population here. I bought a small "Live Trap" cause I thought it was Skunks digging. (Skunks "root" for grubs) Skunks can do a lot of damage to your lawn. Anyway,I go out to my trap in the am with a tarp to throw over the trap. (Skunks won’t spray unless they see your face).You can imagine my surprise to find a 20lb Raccoon in a trap designed for a squirrel! It was so jammed in there I could barely see its face! After that I got a bigger trap. Coons are so strong that they would reach thru the holes in the large trap & crawl/drag the trap along the ground. They would do this till the trap got so heavy with dirt.That they couldn't drag it any more or until it got stuck against something. I was catching one or two a night. I would have this big huge Frickin mess to deal with every am. They would have so much shat pulled into the cage that the hinges wouldn't work. Plus they would actually bend the "trigger" to the point of making it inoperable! I even caught my Barn cat one night! That cat was never so excited to see me in the morning! After that morning I thought of the heavy gauge Hardware cloth trick around the base. I can honestly say I have not lost a plant to them since. And my Cat is much happier now! It’s a relatively cheap fix. And its VERY stealthy, especially if you use the long Landscaping nails to secure it. I use camo paint on the mesh after I trim it to size. Then once its in place, a little dried grass & leafs is all it takes. Toke in Peace my friends!