Spring blooms bring life back to gardens across the countryside, and incidentally, another awakening unfolds underground at the same time. Coming out of hibernation after a long winter’s rest, gophers emerge from their extensive burrow systems to forage for fresh plants and fertilize new tunnels.
While gophers play an important role in nature, their subterranean activities can wreak havoc above ground for home gardeners. Fortunately, several effective, non-toxic methods exist for discouraging these industrious rodents and preserving your prized plants.
Table of Contents
1. Habitat Modification
The first line of defense against gopher inhibition is to discourage them from settling in your garden in the first place. Removing any cover, weeds, and overgrown brush around the perimeter reduces suitable shelter.
Eliminating access points is also important – ensure burrows leading into the garden from surrounding grassy areas are blocked. Filling holes with stone or mesh discourages new tunnels from extending invasive root systems into precious planting space.
2. Use of Traps
When gophers have already established a homestead beneath beloved blooms, trapping provides a pest-specific solution. The most effective designs mimic gopher tunnels, featuring a triggering trap door that harmlessly contains the intruder.
Live catch traps allow relocation without injury; kill traps humanely dispatch problem critters. Place traps at active burrow entrances, as indicated by fresh dirt piles. Bait with gopher-favorite foods like seeds or apples to tempt tunnelers inside. Check traps frequently, removing and sealing any new holes after each capture.
3. Beneficial Barriers to Barrow Blockades
As gophers continually extend their elaborate burrow networks underground in search of nutrients and space, physical barriers prove an enduring deterrent. Strong, flexible wire fencing installed a foot into the soil around flowerbeds prevents tunneling ingress beneath.
For large yards, inexpensive rolled landscape fabric laid flat prior to planting forms an impenetrable lining between soil and roots. Replenish mulch or topsoil to fully cover the barrier after installation.
For gardens where trapping or barriers aren’t viable options, plant-based repellents provide a natural alternative. Home remedies utilizing volatile oils from castor beans, hot peppers, or garlic infused in water and sprayed or watered into soil contain compounds gophers find unpleasant.
Commercially, ingredients like putrescent whole egg solids or castor oil create a skunk-like odor that gophers avoid. Apply Granular formulations or soaks to exposed dirt a few times at first signs of feeding.
5. Reducing Food Sources and Shelter
To sustain long-term gopher control, it is important to eliminate motives for remaining in the garden. Ensure plantings and soils are free of bulbs, tubers, and tempting crops that attract rodents for feeding.
Tidy mulch and leaf litter minimize coverage, while selective pruning opens areas and reduces hiding places. Combined with trapping and barriers, this holistic strategy forces encroaching gophers to settle elsewhere.
Gopher Control Methods: Wrapping Up
With thoughtful implementation of preventive practices and selective removal techniques addressing the habits of subterranean squatters, even the most dedicated gophers can be gracefully evicted from gardens. Prioritizing humane, low-impact solutions preserves native ecosystems while allowing green-thumbed gardeners to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor above ground. Even better, reach out to professional gopher control operators for help suited to your specific property and pest pressures.