How to Get Rid of Gophers
Are excavating gophers wreaking havoc on your lawn? If you see mounds of dirt that are crescent shaped when viewed straight down, inspect them to see if they’re plugged with dirt. If so, you most likely have a gopher problem on your hands. Many property owners resort to drastic measures to try to get rid of a nuisance gopher, learn more below.
1 Identify Gopher Damage
In order to get rid of a gopher problem, it’s important to identify where they are causing you trouble. Identifying and locating damage will help you determine where you should focus your control efforts.
Signs of gopher damage include:
- Gopher mounds: kidney or crescent-shaped piles of soil, marking plugged tunnel entrances
- root damage and/or exposure in trees and seedlings
- girdled/clipped trees or shrubs just above ground level
- loss of surface irrigation due to tunnel drainage
- gnawed electrical lines or water lines for sprinkler and irrigation systems
2 Choose a Control Method
Getting rid of gophers requires the persistent use of an effective gopher repellent. Learn about the range of gopher control solutions below, then select the best one for you and your property. The more solutions you put to work, the better your chances at long-term control.
Pocket gophers use their highly developed sense of smell to locate vegetation. Castor oil repellents penetrate into the soil and coat your vegetation with an overwhelming odor and spoiled taste, which forces gophers to seek food elsewhere. These repellents are available in liquid and granular form:
- Ready-to-Spray Liquid: connect a hose and spray into the ground
- Granules: sprinkle onto the ground and water in
For more information, read How to Repel Gophers »Shop Repellents »
Pepper-basedGophers rely on their sensitive whiskers and tails to navigate, feeling out the ground around them and detecting predator movement. Ultrasonic repellents send small vibrations into the earth, disturbing their equilibrium and alerting them to potential danger. These effects successfully drive gophers away in search of a safer place to live and forage.
For more information, read How to Repel Gophers »Shop Ultrasonic Repellents »
Although impractical for protecting a large property, installing 1/4 - 1/2” mesh fencing above and below ground can help to exclude gophers from vulnerable areas. For best results:
- Bury the fence at least 18” underground.
- Angle the bottom of the fence outward 90°.
- Install the fence so that it stands at least 12” tall.
Because of the cost and labor associated with this option, most gopher fencing is used to protect only smaller areas like valued plantings or vegetable gardens.
- Gopher repellents work best when applied in or near a tunnel system.
- Persistant gophers can dig below fencing, even if the fencing penetrates the ground a great deal. Because fencing is not 100% effective, it’s important to reinforce this method with an effective gopher repellent.
- Before using a gopher repellent or ultrasonic device, it’s important to understand every step of repelling gophers. Learn more by reading the article How to Repel Gophers »
- If you have a specific crop that gophers love, like alfalfa, consider rotating it with a grain crop, which does not provide a habitable environment for most gophers.
- Oftentimes mole or vole damage is confused with that of gophers. It’s important to identify which animal is causing the damage before embarking on a control plan. Learn more about each animal and signs of their presence in the Havahart Learning Center »