Gophers, called pocket gophers sometimes, are burrowing rodents that inhabit the Western Hemisphere from Central America to Alberta. They are famous for being an enemy of farmers because of their tunneling activities and their ability to destroy farms.
Damage is mostly done in the spring and fall, as that is when gophers are active near the soil’s surface. Since these rodents are herbivores, fruits and plants make up their menu and what better source of food than a garden rich of roots.
The problem with gophers is that they don’t just constantly chew on plants, but also on underground equipment such as sprinkler systems, plastic water lines, and irrigation pipes.
This is an attempt from the mammal to receive some drinking water. However, gophers are part of the food chain, and their burrowing helps enrich the soil by adding organic matter to it and increase aeration.
For this reason, we will list ways in which we can get rid of gophers without using any lethal procedures.
This article will focus on ways to prevent gophers from being attached to your garden, then ways in which you can get rid of these mammals if they had already claimed your plants and vegetation as their territory.
- Prevention First
- Try a physical Barrier
Fence your garden:
This technique will also keep other burrowing animals out of your property, such as moles and groundhogs. Gophers are not good at climbing, but they are champions at digging and they will do so until they reach a food source.
Use a hardware cloth perimeter fence that goes down at least one foot under the ground. You can also try and curve the bottom part of your fence so that is parallel with the ground’s surface. The gophers will likely go back once they are hit with the fence.
Add Mulch or Gravel:
Gravel creates a good barrier when added around yards or when mixed into the dirt with the perimeter of your garden.
You can also add mulch around your plants because gophers dislike the smell and taste of it, so they will not be able to pull your plants underground and eat their tops.
You can also purchase and plant your bulbs inside baskets made out of netted material that fit in the ground.
This will allow your plants to grow in a healthy way without being in danger of gophers.
Raised Plant Beds:
You can either purchase a planter from a lawn care store or a garden store, or you can turn it into a cost-effective DIY project that will make your garden gopher-free.
Introducing Natural Predators:
The smell of your pets’ fur and urine may in fact be enough to make gophers stay away of your garden.
The small rodent will not be a danger to your cats or dogs, unlike other pests. Your pet may actually chase around and play with the gopher when they occasionally come to the ground.
Make sure your pet does not receive any bites or parasites from the gophers. Examine your pet for any signs since gophers carry diseases, ticks, and fleas.
Using Non-Lethal Remedies:
There are many lethal procedures that you can follow to get rid of the gophers.
Some of them are:
- Using gopher burrow blasters or detonators to smoke them out
- Gassing them using car’s exhaust
- Using a garden hose to flood the gopher tunnel with water
- Using poisons, releasing a predator, or hiring a professional
However, for the sake of preserving the ecological balance, we will only consider non-lethal options.
The gophers are in your property for a reason. Try and make it less hospitable for them. When used with other methods, gophers are more likely to leave and not come back.
Reduce Vegetable Planting
You don’t have to rid of all of your precious plants for the gophers to disappear. However, you may want to consider reducing the number of vegetables in your garden or making them hard to access.
Harvest your vegetables as soon as they are ripe before they even fall to the ground, and trim back any bushes and shrubbery.
When they get access, gophers are more likely to still nibble at the roots but they are less likely to choose your garden anyway if there isn’t as much vegetation.
Pack Your Soil
Soil that is well moisturized is perfect for gophers as that’s what they look for when building a burrow. These creatures also seek loose soil that’s easy to dig through and enjoy soil that is higher in quality.
That is why we advise you to pack down your soil so it becomes too dense for gophers to move in. Use a lawn roller for this, which will allow you to pack down the dirt while walking along with your entire property.
Use a Trap
Using a trap is an effective way to get rid of gophers. A yard will usually only have one gopher at a time, so it will be easier to capture the rodent and set it free far from residential areas.
Keep in mind that you will need to follow strict guidelines when using any trap. Gopher traps are available in stores and online, but make sure you consult your gardening center for tips, bait advice, and additional information.
Use Smells That Gophers Hate
Gophers have very sensitive noses; they are more likely to escape when smelling something they don’t like. These include the smell of naphthalene (found in mothballs), Tabasco sauce, pet waste, coffee grounds, fishing scents, and castor oil.
You can use different recipes of this combination of ingredients. We recommend you use a solution of castor oil, dish soap, and water.
Mix the ingredients well, and spray it all over your lawn and garden using a spray bottle. Castor oil will not kill the gophers, but it will repel them.
Plant Gopher Repellent Plants
The first plant that comes to mind is under the name “Euphorbia Lathyris”, it is known to be a gopher repellent.
You can purchase it from your local nursery and add it to your garden by planting it in gopher infested areas.
Gophers also seem to dislike other plants such as castor beans, daffodils, marigolds, and oleander. Consider planting these around the sides of your garden.