Pocket gophers are often simply called ‘gophers’. These rodents (and their cousin, the vole) can destroy lawns, vegetation, and plants. They are extremely small in size at no larger than eight inches long. Gophers love to live near wooded areas, grassy areas, and where there is plenty of plants to feed off of while digging holes from one place to another. They can live up to five years without disturbance from predators or disease.
If you have gophers you must first recognize the signs before taking measures to try to get rid of them because they could be another type of animal as there are quite a few different pesty animals that enjoy feeding on the roots of plants and digging holes through grassy areas.
Gophers have two large front top and bottom teeth with chubby cheeks and are usually the same color as the soil they live in. They have small round eyes and short hairy tails. Since they are rarely seen above ground you will need to recognize their horseshoe-shaped tunnels in your grassy areas and damage that may be happening to your plants.
They prefer fresh soft soil to dig a tunnel through so if you have some freshly planted plants and turned over your lawn then chances are you are making it easier for gophers to network their tunnels through your yard.
Farms and vegetable gardens are the common victims of gophers. If you notice small tunnels through your grass to your vegetable garden with damaged leaves and roots then you probably have gophers.
There are ways to get rid of the gophers and this is not an easy task. They can be complicated to get rid of. You can use live traps and place them in the areas where gophers seem to be most active. You will need to place the small cage within the tunnel and cover it with burlap to prevent light from shining through. This will trick the gopher to enter the cage and it can shut behind him.
There are ways to deter gophers from coming around or to make them leave with organic fertilizer. Dig a trench near the tunnel or within the tunnel and make it at least three inches wide and two inches deep. Fill the trench with fertilizer and cover it up with an inch of soil.
Reduce the food source by cutting down tall grass and removing weeds where they enjoy hiding. If you don’t have any rooted plants then you just took away the majority of the food and they may just leave.
Another choice is to create a semi rigid plastic barrier that is 30 inches deep and six inches above ground around your vegetable garden and young plants in the yard. This will help prevent them from getting to the roots of the plants by continuing the tunnel and since they are bad climbers they will not be able to climb over the fence either.
As pocket gophers are a threatened species it is best not to kill these creatures. Despite the fact that they can do some damage to the lawn and plantation they do serve a purpose.
They can be food for various types of predators including owls and hawks plus they eat some unwanted insects. As they can be endangered it is best to create deterrents to prevent them from coming around or chase them out.
One of the best ways to get rid of the gophers is use some unwanted odors for the gophers. Use non-toxic solutions at garden centers that can be unappetizing to the gophers. Spray them or sprinkle them around the yard, around the base of bushes and trees, and spread it around vegetable gardens.
The tunnel makers also don’t like the smell of castor oil and you can spread granules of castor oil around your yard and around your plants to deter the gophers from feeding. Water the areas that you placed the granules around for them to spread easier. Make sure to spread them around evenly to make sure they don’t go for a specific area that doesn’t have as many granules.
You can use vibrations or sound waves that will disrupt the gophers from trying to come on your land. There are various devices that create sounds or vibrations that are set off by motion and will prevent the gophers from sticking around or will prevent them from coming near your property.
If you take a number of these steps to prevent or get rid of the gophers there will never be a need to call upon a professional to come out and try to remove them. There will be no need to resort to killing them. With the use of barriers, odors, and sounds you can keep the gophers from digging tunnels on your property and destroying your plants.