Do you remember watching cartoons of gophers from the garden, seeing the tops of plants quiver, vibrate and vanish? Well, if you love playing in the dirt and building your own garden, you know that those cartoons weren’t far off the truth. Because basically, that’s exactly what actually happens. And if you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, money and nurturing into your backyard… just to wake up one morning and find your garden destroyed… you come to grips with the fact that gophers are no damn good.
Now do not start, telling me to live and let live, that they’re cute and furry and wonderful and want our love. The simple fact is, they’re destructive and if you let them get a toe-hold around your property, they will destroy root programs on whatever they can get their choppers around. Does not matter what it is, if it’s got a root system, gophers will create an appetite for it. Whether it’s a garden full of vegetables or your freshly planted apricot tree, gophers seem to believe you planted it just for them. No. Through trial and error, I have developed my own little simple system of gopher control and it works really well.
Utilizing Galvanized Chicken Wire for Garden Gopher Control
This will require some effort in setting it up, but you will be rewarded with years of gopher gardening. Since gophers do not go deep, dig a two foot perimeter around your garden and line it with 1-1/2″ galvanized chicken wire. When laying the wire in, run it in the bottom of the trench to about a foot above ground level. Fill the trench with dirt, and stake the above-ground wire, which will form a little fence around your garden. This accomplishes multiple things. It’ll prevent gophers from getting under your garden, the fence keeps them from climbing into your garden, and the result is fresh, healthy veggies for you. Just a tip: dig your trench in spring when the ground is nice and soft from the winter/spring rains. Now, gopher control is not fool-proof. These little buggers are known to dig down around six feet! However, for the most part, it should work well for you. I did my garden with the two foot perimeter six decades ago, and it hasn’t been breached, yet.
Gopher Control for Your Yard
This is a whole different situation than your garden, but is just as easy to do. I call it dirt fishin’. You may need two Macabee gopher traps (available at your local diy shop ) and a little hand gardening shovel. The Mactrap is the one I have used for years, and it works flawlessly each time.
When you see fresh mounds of dirt in your yard, that’s a sure indicator of a gopher. Take your shovel, and dig through the mound, and expose the tube. If you find an intersection of two tunnels, you’ll need a trap in every tunnel, as you don’t know which way he’ll approach. Establish your Mactrap(s) and put it in the hole, prongs in first. Some pest control people recommend that you re-cover the hole, but this isn’t necessary. Now, it is just a waiting game, because eventually that gopher will reunite and re-plug that hole.
Just a little trick I have discovered, because a time or 2, the gopher has lived long enough to pull the Mactrap deep into the pit, taking it so far back, gotta’ dig up the yard to retrieve it. Now, I take a piece of string about two feet long, tie one end to the snare, make a loop on the other end and put your screwdriver blade through it, then drive the blade to the ground. Leave some slack in the line and you will be able to immediately tell if you have got one! (dirt fishin’) Of course, the string prevents the gopher from running away with your snare.
Does a water hose assist with gopher control? What does Possum Poop Look Like
With a garden hose and letting it run into a gopher tunnel does work, but only if your lawn is fairly level. Be ready with your’manually controlled gopher control device’ (a shovel) when he comes running out. But if your lawn slopes, the water will just run from the ground, usually with all the gopher taking refuge in an upward part of the tunnel, waiting for the flood to subside.
You can even protect newly planted trees with some simple gopher control
This is an easy trick, but it’s worked really well. When you buy a new tree to your yard, wrap the trees root ball in the galvanized chicken wire. This will give the tree the time it has to develop its taproot, since the chicken wire prevents the gopher from damaging the heart of the tree root. As you can see, gopher control can easily be achieved with the appropriate tools and a little fore-thought. Prevention and trapping are easy to accomplish, and will easily give you complete gopher control of your lawn and garden.