Get rid of gophers

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Do you remember watching cartoons of gophers from the garden, seeing the tops of plants quiver, vibrate and disappear? Because basically, that is exactly what really happens. And if you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, money and nurturing into your backyard… only to wake up one morning and find your garden ruined… you come to grips with the fact that gophers are no damn good.

Now don’t start, telling me to live and let live, that they’re cute and furry and wonderful and need 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 systems on whatever they can get their choppers around. Does not matter what it is, if it’s got a root system, gophers will develop a desire for it. Whether it’s a garden full of vegetables or your newly planted apricot tree, gophers seem to believe 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 may 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 backyard and line it with 1-1/2″ galvanized chicken wire. When placing the cable in, run it from the bottom of the trench to about a foot above ground level. Fill the trench with dirt, and bet the above-ground wire, which will form a little fence around your garden. It’ll prevent gophers from getting under your garden, the fence prevents them from climbing into your garden, and the result is fresh, healthy veggies for you. Now, gopher control isn’t fool-proof. These little buggers have been known to dig down around six feet! However, for the most part, it should work well for you. I did my backyard with the two foot perimeter six years back, and it hasn’t been breached, yet.

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This is an entirely different scenario than your garden, but is just as simple to do. You may need two Macabee gopher traps (available at your local diy store) and a small hand gardening shovel. The Mactrap is the one I have used for years, and it works perfectly each time.

When you see new mounds of dirt in your yard, that is a sure indicator of a gopher. Take your spade, and dig through the mound, and expose the tube. If you find an intersection of two tunnels, you’ll need a trap in each tunnel, as you don’t know which way he’ll approach. Set your Mactrap(s) and put it in the hole, prongs in first. Some pest control people advise you to re-cover the hole, but this is not needed. Now, it’s just a waiting game, because eventually that gopher will return and re-plug that hole.

Just a little trick I have discovered, since 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 snare, make a loop on the other end and place your screwdriver blade through it, then push the blade to 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?

Using a garden hose and letting it run into a gopher tunnel does work, but only if your lawn is fairly level. Be prepared with your’manually operated gopher control apparatus’ (a shovel) when he comes running out. However, if your yard slopes, the water will just run from the floor, usually with the gopher taking refuge in an upward portion of the tunnel, waiting for the flood to subside.

This is a simple 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, as the chicken wire prevents the gopher from damaging the core of the tree root. As you can see, gopher control can easily be accomplished with the right tools and a bit of fore-thought. Prevention and trapping are easy to do, and will easily give you full gopher control of your lawn and garden.

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