Get Rid of Gophers
Gophers may be small, but they can create a lot of damage in your yard. They burrow underground, leaving unsightly mounds of dirt on your lawn and damaging your plants’ roots. If you have gophers in your yard, you are likely wondering what you can do to get rid of them. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to control gophers.
1. Identify Gopher Activity in Your Yard
The first step in controlling gophers is to identify their presence in your yard. Gophers are active year-round, but they are most active in the spring and fall. Look for mounds of dirt in your yard or damage to your plants’ roots, which is a clear sign of gopher activity.
1.1 How to Identify Gopher Mounds
Gopher mounds are distinctive and easy to identify. They are usually about 6 to 12 inches in diameter and have a distinct crescent shape. The crescent shape is created as the gophers push the dirt out of their tunnel system.
- The mound will be fresh and moist if the gopher is still active in the area.
- The mound will be dry and dirt-caked if the gopher is no longer active in the area.
1.2 How to Identify Gopher Damage
Gophers can cause a lot of damage to your plants’ roots, which can lead to stunted growth or the death of the plant. Look for these signs of gopher damage:
- Plants that wilt or die for no apparent reason.
- The presence of gnawed roots.
- Holes around the base of plants.
2. Use Trapping to Get Rid of Gophers
Gopher trapping is one of the most effective ways to control gophers. The traps are placed in active tunnel systems and are designed to kill the gopher when it enters the trap. Trapping is best done during the spring and fall when gophers are most active.
2.1 How to Trap Gophers
Here are the steps to trap gophers:
- Locate the active gopher tunnel system by looking for fresh mounds of dirt or damage to your plants’ roots.
- Dig a hole into one of the gopher tunnels big enough to accommodate the trap.
- Set the trap according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Place the trap in the hole and cover it with dirt.
- Check the trap daily and remove any dead gophers.
2.2 Types of Gopher Traps
There are several types of gopher traps available:
- Box traps
- Cinch traps
- Choker loop traps
- Pan traps
Each type of trap has its pros and cons, so do your research before purchasing a trap.
3. Use Repellents to Get Rid of Gophers
Gopher repellents are another option to consider when trying to control gophers. Repellents work by making the soil unpalatable or unpleasant for gophers.
3.1 Types of Gopher Repellents
There are two types of gopher repellents:
- Chemical repellents
- Natural repellents
Chemical repellents are made with synthetic chemicals that gophers find unpleasant. These repellents are applied to the soil and must be reapplied periodically to remain effective. Natural repellents are made with ingredients like castor oil and garlic, which gophers find unpleasant. These repellents are also applied to the soil and must be reapplied periodically.
3.2 How to Apply Gopher Repellents
Here are the steps to apply gopher repellents:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the repellent you choose.
- Apply the repellent to the soil around the areas where you have seen gopher activity.
- Reapply the repellent as needed to keep gophers away.
4. Control Gophers with Plants
Some plants are natural gopher repellents and can help control gophers in your yard. These plants produce natural chemicals or fragrances that gophers find unpleasant.
4.1 Plants That Repel Gophers
Here are some plants that can help repel gophers:
- Castor beans
- Gopher purge
- California poppy
4.2 How to Use Plants to Control Gophers
Here are the steps to use plants to control gophers:
- Select plants that are known to repel gophers.
- Plant these plants around the perimeter of your yard or in areas where you have seen gopher activity.
- Water and care for the plants regularly to keep them healthy and strong.
5. Use Bait to Control Gophers
Bait is another option to consider when trying to control gophers. Bait works by attracting gophers and killing them when they consume the bait.
5.1 Types of Gopher Bait
There are two types of gopher bait:
- Poison bait
- Non-poison bait
Poison bait contains chemicals that kill the gopher when it eats the bait. Non-poison bait works differently and is meant to clog the gopher’s digestive system, which causes it to die.
5.2 How to Use Gopher Bait
Here are the steps to use gopher bait:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of bait you choose.
- Apply the bait to the areas where you have seen gopher activity.
- Check the bait daily to see if any gophers have been caught.
- Dispose of any dead gophers and bait properly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1. Are gophers harmful?
A1. Gophers are generally not harmful to humans, but they can cause a lot of damage to your yard and garden.
Q2. Can gophers be controlled without harming them?
A2. Yes, there are several ways to control gophers without harming them, including using repellents and planting gopher-repelling plants.
Q3. What is the best way to control gophers?
A3. The best way to control gophers depends on your personal preferences and the severity of the gopher problem in your yard. Trapping is generally the most effective method, but if you prefer non-lethal methods, repellents and plants can also be effective.
Q4. How often should I check my traps and baits?
A4. You should check your traps and baits daily to see if you have caught any gophers. If you leave the trap or bait unchecked for too long, it can become ineffective or attract other animals.
Q5. What can I do to prevent gophers from returning?
A5. To prevent gophers from returning, you should remove any sources of food and water from your yard. You can also use plants that are known to repel gophers, such as castor beans and marigolds, to create a natural barrier around your yard.
Gophers can be a nuisance, but there are several effective ways to control them. Trapping, using repellents, planting gopher-repelling plants, and baiting are all options to consider when trying to get rid of gophers. Choose the method that works best for you and your personal preferences. Remember to check your traps and baits daily and dispose of any dead gophers and bait properly.