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 backyard, you know that those cartoons were not far off the truth. Because basically, that is exactly what actually happens. And if you’ve poured lots of time, energy, money and nurturing into your garden… only to wake up one morning and discover your garden ruined… 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 are cute and furry and wonderful and want our love. The fact is, they’re destructive and if you let them get a toe-hold around your premises, they’ll destroy root systems on anything they can get their choppers around. Does not matter what it is, if it has got a root system, gophers will develop a desire for it. Whether it’s a garden filled with vegetables or your freshly planted apricot tree, gophers seem to think you planted it just for them. No. Through trial and error, I have developed my own little easy system of gopher control and it works really well.
This will require some effort in setting it up, but you’ll be rewarded with years of gopher gardening. When placing the wire in, run it from the bottom of the trench to about a foot above ground level. Fill the trench with dirt, and then stake the above-ground wire, which will form a small fence around your garden. This accomplishes multiple things. It’ll prevent gophers from getting under your garden, the fence prevents them from climbing into your backyard, and the result is refreshing, 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 isn’t fool-proof. These little buggers have been known to dig down around six feet! But for the most part, it must work well for you. I did my garden with the two foot perimeter six years back, and it has not been breached, yet.
Gopher Control for Your Lawn
This is an entirely different situation than your garden, but is just as simple to do. You can do this yourself. 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’ve used for years, and it works flawlessly each time.
When you see new mounds of dirt in your yard, that is a sure indicator of a gopher. Take your shovel, and gently dig through the mound, and expose the tube. If you find an intersection of two tunnels, you’ll require a trap in every tunnel, as you don’t know which way he will approach. Establish your Mactrap(s) and put it in the pit, prongs in first. Some pest control people recommend that you re-cover the hole, but this is not necessary. Now, it is just a waiting game, because eventually that gopher will return and re-plug that gap.
Only a little trick I’ve learned, because a time or two, 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 trap, make a loop on the other end and put your screwdriver blade through it, then drive the blade into the ground. Leave some slack in the line and you’ll be able to immediately tell if you have got one!
Does a water hose help with gopher control?
With a garden hose and letting it become a gopher tunnel does work, but only if your yard is fairly level. Be prepared with your’manually controlled gopher control apparatus’ (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 portion of his tunnel, waiting for the flood to subside.
This is an easy trick, but it’s worked really well. When you buy a new tree for your yard, wrap the trees root ball at the galvanized chicken wire. This will give the tree the time it has to develop its taproot, as the chicken wire prevents the gopher from damaging the heart of the tree root. As you can see, gopher control can easily be accomplished with the appropriate tools and a little fore-thought. Prevention and trapping are easy to accomplish, and will easily give you full gopher control of your lawn and garden.