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There Is More Than One Way to Get Rid of Gophers

Dec. 14, 2017

You’ll know as soon as gophers take up residence in your yard because you’ll see holes. Your plants will start dying. It won’t be unusual to see furry little heads pop up now and then, with what appears to be a diabolical grin. You might think gophers were cute if they were somewhere else, but right now all you want is to get rid of them. You would prefer not to put out poison because you don’t want to harm other creatures. Are there natural ways to get rid of gophers? Are there ways to just repel them, so you don’t have to kill them? Read on for our tips on how to get rid of gophers.

 Gopher's burrow system


Gophers Are a Problem 


Gophers create many problems when they invade your property. They dig a complex network of moderately deep tunnels. Their tunnels serve to aerate the soil, which is beneficial in the wild. Their tunnels widen into areas for: Nesting, Eating, Storing food, Depositing waste matter. Gophers are commendable for their ability to keep all the functions of daily life in separate areas. Unfortunately, their home building efforts lead to a negative impact on your property.

Signs of gopher damage

They inflect damage by: Eating your vegetable garden. Destroying your flowers, trees, and other landscaping. Chewing holes in your watering system. Diverting your water and causing erosion. Leaving ugly dirt mounds all over. Gophers can do an immense amount of damage in a very short time. What Attracted to My Yard? Gophers have eyes and they can see, although poorly. They navigate by sensing vibrations. They can sense vibrations that you probably aren’t aware of. For example, the water in your irrigation lines and spigots vibrate. That tells them there’s moist ground, which is easy for them to dig. It also means food is growing there. Even small battery-operated devices emit vibrations that gophers find attractive. Gophers like dandelions and will clear them from your yard. They also have a strong sense of smell. Gophers find their food primarily by smell as they’re digging. Tuberous plants provide one of their favorite foods. They also love the leafy plants, such as lettuce, in your vegetable garden. If you have a healthy lawn, it will have a root system that provides tasty meals to gophers. When Will I See a Gopher Pop Out of A Hole? Gophers prefer to stay underground as much as they can. If you see one pop up out of a hole, it’s usually just pushing dirt out. You may occasionally see one a few inches away from its hole, eating a plant. More often, they’ll just burrow under the plant and pull it into their hole to eat. In snowy climates, you might see a gopher that’s eating tree bark. Other than during breeding season or when mothers are caring for their young, gophers live alone. You might see the young gophers leaving their birth nests to establish their own homes.


How Do I Find Tunnels? 

If you plan to trap or use poison bait to eradicate gophers, you need to locate their main tunnel. Using a gopher probe works better than blind luck. You can purchase a probe or make your own. It just needs to be strong enough to penetrate the soil. Most people have success following this process: Look for a fresh mound of dirt. Examine the opening for a dirt plug. If it has a plug, it’s active; if not, move to another mound. Start probing about a foot away from the plugged opening. If your probe suddenly drops several inches, you’ve located the main burrow. If not, keep probing slightly closer or slightly further away. Once you’ve located the main burrow, set your trap or bait.


How Can I Remove Gophers?

 As with other pests, there is more than one way to get rid of gophers. You can: Try to repel them. Construct barriers to prevent their entrance. Set traps. Use poison baits. Use fumigants, explosive devices, or gasses. If your neighbors also have gophers, you’ll probably have to coordinate your efforts with them. Factors that can influence your choice include: Whether your intent is to repel gophers or kill them. How large your property is. How much of your property is infested. If children or pets play in your yard. You’ll also need to consider whether the eradication method you choose will harm birds or other wildlife in the area.

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