Our lawns, gardens, and yards are a source of pride to many of us. And the sight of mounds created by burrowing rodents causes a lot of damages to our yard, which is certainly unpleasant.
Gophers, moles, and voles are very common in many parts of the United States, and they are fond of wreaking havoc on people’s property. These rodents burrow passages underground and into your lawn, transforming your yard into a maze of mounds and burrows.
Gophers, in particular, will cause massive damage to your lawn or yard if left unchecked. They will stop at nothing to eat up your plants, roots, and damage the landscape of your lawn. Because we know that knowing how to get rid of gophers is definitely at the top of your list, we have put together an article with comprehensive gopher control techniques and methods to keep these small terrorists off your property.
Now the first step to getting rid of these small rodents from your home is to know exactly which one of them you are up against. The pest control solution you choose to utilize needs to be tailored to the exact pest you are dealing with. Therefore, you need to identify which tunnel burrowing yard pest you may be dealing with so that you can safely and quickly get rid of your pest problem.
That brings us to the next point in our discussion, identifying gophers.
What are Gophers?
Gophers are burrowing rodents with prominent front teeth and powerful front paws. They are also called pocket gophers because of external cheek pouches that allow them to carry food around.
They are usually between 6 to 10 inches long and has a short tail. Their large front teeth also protrude from their mouth when closed.
Gopher, Voles, and moles, Gophers are by far the largest of the three burrowing animals.
Their size and persistent desire to destroy anything in their path are particularly notable as they not only attack your lawn but utility cables, irrigation, and sprinkler systems.
Gophers’ activity is at an all-time high during the spring and fall.
During the spring and summer, gophers climb out of their feeding holes regularly to feed on surface vegetation. They dig hollow passages nearby, climb out to eat their food, and when they are done or disturbed, they dive back down the hole and plug the entrance with dirt.
You should also know that gophers feed on plant roots during winter,
How can you recognize Gopher tunnels/burrows?
A very telling sign that you are dealing with gophers in your yard is the presence of several fan or horseshoe-shaped mounds. As gophers burrow underground, they push dirt to the surface, which creates a small mound on the surface each time.
Gopher burrows are quite broad and deep. They may go as deep as 6 feet below ground or more, making it hard to get rid of them. The burrows are typically between 2-4 inches in diameter, while the feeding burrows are usually between 6-12 inches below ground, which gives them access to their food before quickly retreating.
Unlike moles, though, their burrows are not very extensive.
However, they still find it easy to destroy many things on your property, including underground utility cables, water lines, and irrigation pipes. They are also solitary animals except during breeding season.
What is the most effective way to kill gophers?
The most lethal gopher control methods include setting kill traps, poisoning them, and gassing them.
Gopher traps are among the most effective ways of catching gophers and protecting your lawns from gopher-related problems. They are easy to assemble and are even built to withstand repeated use over some time.
(Picture credit: Victorpest)
Traps are very effective at catching or, in this case, killing gophers. The best way to do this is to place them in or near the mouth of an active tunnel frequently used by the gophers.
To ascertain if the tunnel is active, you can slightly disturb or make an impression in the entrance. If the damage is repaired within a day or two, then the tunnel is active.
Trapping a gopher usually takes about 48 hours, but if this does not happen, you can change the tunnel’s location by moving it to a different tunnel.
Spreading poison pellets in the gopher tunnels tends to get the job done, but it has its risk. When gophers ingest the poison and die, the dead body still contains the poison, which poses a danger to household pets if they consume the dead gopher.
It is advisable to use anticoagulants rather than strychnine in this case. Anticoagulants will cause internal bleeding in the gopher, but unlike strychnine, the gopher’s corpse does not become toxic.
To be safe, use a pellet type poison and cover the hole to prevent exposure. Even if you decide to use the pellet type, using poison may still pose dangers to pets and children, and you should keep them away from it.
3 Gassing them out
This is another brutal way to get rid of gophers. You can use your car’s exhaust to get this done.
First, you cover all the holes where they live with soil except just one. Connect a garden hose to the end of your car’s exhaust pipe and put the other end of the hose into the open tunnel. Turn your vehicle on and keep it running for about 15 to 30 minutes.
This will flood the tunnel with carbon monoxide, which is poisonous to the gopher.
What do gophers hate the most?
Strong smells and Owls.
Owls, especially barn owls, have proven to be the perfect biological gopher control method. They usually eat adolescents young between 50 to 60 grams in weight but also take on adults. A family of owls can consume one thousand pocket gophers annually.
Gophers also have very sensitive noses, and there are many ways to take advantage of this to chase them away.
You can chase gophers away by placing some fish scraps or parts next to the mouth or just inside their burrows.
Drop some castor oil capsules into the tunnels or dilute it with some water before spraying it into the tunnels. Castor oil is one of the most potent ways of getting rid of gophers from your lawn or yard.
You probably don’t know this, but coffee does more than just give you that extra boost at work. Sprinkling coffee grounds into the burrows or mixing them with the soil is a perfect way to get rid of gophers.
Tuck a few dryer sheets into the holes and watch the strong smell send gophers away.
We have come to realize that gophers dislike the smell of naphthalene, which is why dropping a couple of mothballs in the tunnel will chase them away.
Gophers dislike the smell of peppermint. Just a few drops of peppermint oil onto cotton balls and place them in the tunnels.
How do you get rid of gophers in your yard?
Gopher mesh creates a barrier that stops gophers from digging holes into your lawns. However, it does not stop them from eating your roots and killing your plants. The wire mesh especially galvanized gopher mesh, prevents the rodents from creating more holes in the ground.
Gopher mesh barriers
You can also use gopher mesh to create a barrier around the lawn or the yard. You will need to dig a trench at least a foot deep around the area you want to protect and place the hardware cloth in the trench. Make sure the fabric is sticking out of the ground at least a few inches.
A gopher basket is an effective method to keep gophers away from your plants, especially when they have little to no protection. Gopher basket looks like mesh baskets or bowls and is made from either chicken wire or gopher mesh. Gopher baskets do not entirely prevent gophers from eating the roots that grow into the soil outside the basket, but it still offers a lot of protection to the primary root system.
Live traps are perfect for catching and relocating live gophers without killing them. You may be averse to killing or harming these small animals. Trapping them is the best plan for you then. Getting a live trap is a perfect non-lethal gopher control method.
You can buy or rent them yourself. You may even decide to hire a professional to do it for you. The latter option is often recommended because trapping and removing a live gopher from your property requires some care.
Fabric softener sheets
This comes as a domestic gopher control method, as gophers find the smell of dryer sheets unappealing. You can stick these sheets in their tunnels, and the scent will keep the gophers away from your lawn or garden. These sheets are readily available in your laundry room.
You can plant flowers that can act as natural gopher repellents. Gophers are irritated by some flowering plants’ natural odor, and you may decide to add them to your collection of plants and flowers in your garden. Marigold is the right choice. These natural repellents keep out the animals but still allow you to plan your landscape beautifully.
Gophers dislike noisy environments. You can make a lot of noise using portable radios or wind chimes to chase away them away.
Does Juicy Fruit gum kill gophers?
This is a question that has often sparked endless debate.
Full disclaimer, while we can tell you for sure that using juicy fruit gum is not a scientific backup to help get rid of gophers, it has been said to be effective. Homeowners worldwide have used this method, and it may turn out to be one of the cheapest ways you can try to get rid of gophers in your yard.
So how do you go about using Juicy Fruit gum to kill gophers?
Well, that’s another thing.
The idea behind using fruit gum against gophers is that when you chew the gum until it is soft and its flavor is out, gophers are attracted to it. They can’t digest it, however, and trying to do so eventually kills them.
So how do you do it?
It is a very straightforward process. Just follow the steps listed below:
- First, you may want to get yourself some juicy fruit gum (Wrigley’s is the number one option for many).
- You chew up some gum sticks until it is soft and you can taste the flavor coming out, when that happens, you find yourself a gopher hole.
- Dig a little into the hole using your hands or any instrument you can find.
- Place the gum just inside the hole without disturbing the hole too much. You can place this all over the tunnels the gophers must have dug around your yard.
- Ensure that you rinse your hands and have yourself a good glass of water or juice when you’re done. The gophers should eagerly rush to devour the new fruity stuff in the hole once they smell it.
- Your final step is to sit down and watch your yard become gopher free.
Gophers are very destructive rodents who burrow into lawns and yards, causing a lot of damage. Luckily, there are several ways to control or eliminate this pest problem, many of which we have discussed in the article. We also recommend that you call in a professional to take care of it if facing a severe infestation.
We hope this post was helpful and has given you some much-needed information on how to get rid of gophers. You can check out our other posts and articles for more information on pest control and how to go about living in a pest-free environment.