Justin White, Landscaping Lessons | Gophers be gone – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Punxsutawney Phil’s verdict of that Groundhog Day was six more weeks of winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to give his cousin the gopher six more weeks in your yard. Although gophers may look like cute and innocent animals, they can cause mounds of destruction in your landscape. Not only are the holes and piles unsightly, but they are also tripping hazards. Follow these proactive solutions to prevent these pesky rodents from invading your property and destroying it before they have a chance.
It’s important to note the difference between gophers and moles. Gophers rummage through your landscape for roots and plants, while moles look for maggots or earthworms in the ground. Gophers forge pits and piles, as well as underground channels, while moles dig shallower tunnels that are located over the land. However, to get rid of them, the same action is required … remove their source of food.
There are several tactics that you can use in your arsenal against the gophers invasion, but the first would be to eliminate the main reason behind the dig, their food supply. These ground creatures weasel themselves in your dirt and eat moisture-rich roots and vegetables. Extract their favorite snacks and replace them with plants that naturally repel gophers like rosemary, strawberries, and lavender. When it comes to moles, the best way to get them out of your yard is to remove the maggots and bugs that love to eat them. This can be achieved with a systemic insecticide like Aloft.
Once you’ve closed your favorite outdoor restaurant, you can defend the ground with fences and barriers. Install galvanized netting or chicken wire around the perimeter of your lawn or garden. This needs to be placed several feet in the ground as well as above. Then you implant gopher wire under your lawn and around your plants. This can be a big undertaking if you have a large lawn, but it will be worth years of protecting from gopher threats! Gopher baskets can be bought at your local hardware store and create a barrier around your plants and trees. The best time to install gopher baskets is when you are installing your plants and trees for the first time. Adding to existing plants, while possible, is usually less effective and can damage the root systems.
If these rodent miners have already invaded your landscaping, having to move them out will help make their home uncomfortable. Fill their holes with detergents like peppermint oil, garlic stakes, chili powder, or pine disinfectant. Gophers can be sensitive to noise, so loud noises like a radio or wind chimes can make them pack. In addition, ultrasonic vibrations can be enough to disrupt them and make them flee. Ultrasonic devices are available battery-operated or solar-powered and can be placed directly on their underground hiding place. Start with a tunnel opening in the corner of your property and then work your way to the other side over the next few days.
Many pest control companies use poison or bait stations to solve gopher invasions, but I would advise against it as there may be secondary killing of our local wildlife and pets. The proactive approach with gopher wire and baskets is always best. However, if you find yourself in a difficult situation, consulting the professionals may be your only option. Opt for bait fishing to reduce environmental impact.
A gopher problem is known to be a persistent problem. So when you’ve fixed the last problem, make sure they don’t come back by following all of these steps! Level their hills, fill their holes, and take back your landscaping!
Justin White is the CEO of K&D Landscaping, headquartered in Watsonville, California, and was named Business of the Year 2020 by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. White is also the current president of the local chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) on the central coast. He is involved in several nonprofits across the community. For more information on landscaping, outdoor and gardening requirements, contact K&D Landscaping at kndlandscaping.com.