Gophers are unique herbivore mammal that lives underground. They are burrowing rodents related to mice and prairie dogs that dig tunnels. They are also often called pocket gophers because of their small size that could fit into a pocket.
Despite their cute appearance, gophers tunnels may cause problems for farmers, gardeners, and homeowners. They can reach and feed on your plants’ roots. So, you might need to learn how to get rid of gophers harmlessly, especially if you live in the region where they are commonly found.
Not just damaging the roots, gopher’s burrows leave mounds that cause a mess on your lawn or garden. When you spot gopher burrows and notice damaged plants eaten by gophers, these could be signs of a gopher’s colony living around your place. Changes in ground level may also indicate a tunnel below the ground.
You may consider keeping them away before their population takes over your garden.
Due to their lifestyle, they are pretty elusive. Not all people will be familiar with this cute critter because they are endemic to the North and Central Americas. So, you might not even encounter this adorable pest, depending on where you live. Yet, if you do, you need to be prepared.
Gophers play an essential role in the food chain and ecology. They may bring some organic materials to the soil when digging tunnels and increase aeration. This behavior can be beneficial for the ecosystem. So, if possible, you should not harm them. There are various methods to get rid of gophers. Let’s find out how!
When do Gophers Come Out of Their Holes?
Before getting rid of gophers, you should understand the gopher lifecycle and the environment of your yard. Knowing the right time is the key to dealing with gophers successfully.
To survive, gophers search for a food source which is mainly vegetation. That’s why they are habitually found on a farm or garden. For constructing burrows, they prefer moist soil that can withstand tunnels. This type of soil is similar to soil conditions for plants, especially root crops. Plants that grow and bear fruit on roots are a gopher’s favorite. The damaged roots caused by gopher may end in crop failure.
There are many species of gopher, most of them living as a group. A single burrow can house a group of gophers to grow up.
Gopher breeds once per year during spring, then young gopher comes out of the tunnels during summer. Their activities outside tunnels mostly happen during the heating season.
So, taking preventive steps before spring can be helpful in keeping gophers away.
They grow fast even though their life cycle lasts for one to three years. Gopher populations are controlled by natural predators such as hawks, badgers, coyotes, foxes, and weasels.
Read Also : How to Protect Zucchini from Pests
Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Gophers
There are safe ways to remove gophers that depend on the gopher’s weaknesses and what the gopher naturally dislikes.
Gophers’ weakness is their small size, so a physical trap is one of the most effective home remedies for getting rid of gophers.
Gophers may be capable of digging tunnels but are not good climbers. So you can place high barriers around your garden and raise your plant beds to prevent them from entering your farm or garden. Using gopher mesh can also protect the garden surfaces and prevents gophers from digging tunnels. But, they might dig the soil below, bypassing the mess.
The smell of rodent repellents like castor oil will keep gophers away from your plants. Hence, planting castor beans as a natural deterrent will shoo gophers away. Well, repellents only work if you just need to keep the gopher away, and it doesn’t stop the gophers from building more tunnels and attacking your plants from below.
You will need to control their tunnels using gas like gasoline, monoxide, and phosphide. Gassing their tunnels with poisonous materials may be the best way to eliminate gophers.
These home remedies for getting rid of gophers are super effective. You just need to choose the one that suit the condition of your garden.
How to Get Rid of Gophers with Castor Oil?
Even if you do not see gophers walking around your garden, they might be underneath, creating tunnels and surviving by eating your plant’s roots. Therefore, you will need to get rid of gophers from the surface.
Gophers dislike the smell of castor oil, a liquid that is often found as rodent-repellent ingredients.
Castor oil usually comes in liquid spray or granule form. To get rid of gophers from your garden, you can spray the liquid castor oil directly on the plants. You can also mix the liquid into the dirt near your garden to keep gophers away.
Granule castor is handier to use if you’re going to protect your soil plants and your plant’s roots. Simply sprinkle the granule around the plant’s surface or just directly sprinkle it into the gopher burrows when you find one.
How to Get Rid of Gophers with Gas?
This method is risky, so only use this as the last method if there is no other way.
First, you must find their burrows and understand how the tunnels work. Gophers’ main tunnel usually starts 12” to 18” away from an aboveground and typically runs 6” to 12” below the surface.
The burrow is roughly about 2,5” to 3,5 “ in diameter and 200 to 2000 square feet wide. Gopher’s tunnel can be complicated, and the branching can go up to 200 yards. Before deciding the right spot for gassing them, you have to cover any other hole that appears on the surface to ensure there’s no escape during the gassing process.
Gophers spend most of their time inside the tunnels, so this method possibly kills them, along with destroying their home. Hence, getting rid of gophers using gas is only the last resort.
Gassing their tunnels is safe because the poison gas only spreads below and inside the tunnels. Gasses also dissipate quickly. Once you gas the tunnels in the morning, you can safely check the burrows in the daytime without being affected by the gas.
Just ensure there are no other animals like cats and dogs while the gassing happens. In conclusion, this method is the most effective way to eliminate gophers as long as you put safety first.
For the record, even if you manage to get rid of gophers, remember that precautions will always come in handy. Gas may kill most of the gophers around your environment, but there’s no guarantee that new gophers will not come to your farm and build new tunnels. So watch out for signs of gopher presence, and always keep an eye on your plants!
Now that you have learned how to get rid of gophers with gas, it is time to find out how to remove spider mites!