Getting rid of gopher mounds in your yard, garden, or flower beds has to begin with eliminating or relocating the gophers to an area far, far away.
If you take pride in having a beautiful lawn and landscaped backyard and garden, gophers can be a huge problem. Waking up in the morning or coming home from work to find a fresh pile of dirt in the center of your yard or finding all your carrots nibbled on before you can even pick them up can be frustrating. While you can fill these holes with dirt and try to restore your outdoor appearance, the gopher will likely create a new hole before you fill the last one.
In this article, you will learn about the different methods available for gopher control and what attracts them to your yard. We will also answer some of the frequently asked questions about gophers.
- Eliminating the gophers is the only way to get rid of holes in the yard for good.
- You can choose from baits, traps, repellants, fencing, or professional help for gopher control.
- Gophers are attracted to the yard because of food, shelter, and soil composition.
- Fill gopher holes with gravel or topsoil to restore the yard.
- Prevention methods help avoid gophers from coming back.
What does a gopher hole look like?
Seeing mounds of dirt sprout up in your Ventura County yard most often means a gopher, also known as a pocket gopher, is present. In rare cases, another small rodent, such as a mole or vole, may be to blame. Learning how to identify specific holes and mounds in your yard will help better determine which pest is overtaking your yard.
- Small, circular mounds that make it near impossible to find a hole most often mean a mole mound and moles are present. In contrast, a gopher hole will be:
- Large in size, typically measuring between 10-20 inches in diameter.
- It will be crescent, fan, or horseshoe-shaped in appearance.
- The opening, or hole, will be off to one side of the mound and sealed with loose dirt.
- They tend to build mounds in clusters and can create multiple ones in a single day.
How do you get rid of gopher holes?
Eliminating gopher holes in your yard or garden begins by eliminating the gopher. Gophers are solitary animals, so in most cases, a single gopher is all you need to focus on. However, this is not the case during breeding, as a female gopher can have 5-6 pups in a litter and can have three or more litters a year. While these pups stay with the mother for a few weeks, they will eventually venture out to create their own tunnel system. When the first tunnel appears, it is time to take action. These options can help you eliminate existing gophers and prevent them from making their way into your yard.
Poisonous gopher bait is available at your local hardware store and is a very effective method of killing and eliminating the gopher. The bait appears as a tasty treat for the gopher but includes chemicals that will kill the rodents. While very effective, these baits should be used with caution as they can be dangerous and lethal to other wildlife, pets, and children.
In California, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation has restricted access to many of these bait products to professionals only, while others have strict application instructions in order to reduce the risk to predatory birds and mammals that can become poisoned when eating dead or dying gophers.
Trapping is an option that includes both humane methods as well as kill traps. No-kill traps can be set within the tunnels, allowing you to catch the offending gopher and relocate it to an area away from your home. Kill traps work in a similar fashion but will kill the gopher in the trap. Both types of gopher traps are placed inside the main tunnel structure, and, if after 48 hours have not caught a gopher, you need to remove the trap and find another tunnel.
Gopher repellants are items designed to keep gophers from entering your yard in the first place. These can include natural ingredients, such as peppermint oil or coffee grounds, to the use of mechanical or electronic repellant options, such as ultrasonic vibration devices.
If you are looking to keep gophers out of your vegetable garden or even your lawn, exclusion fencing is an effective option. Around the vegetable garden, digging a trench around the garden and placing a wire mesh or hardware cloth with openings smaller than ½ inch will help keep the gophers from digging in. If you are placing a new lawn with sod or seed, consider laying this mesh fencing on the soil before the grass grows as a way to prevent digging and burrowing.
If you are not having any luck or believe you have more than one gopher taking over your property, it may be time to call in the professionals. Professional pest control management uses a combination of baits, traps, and preventative methods to help keep gophers and other rodents from calling your yard home.
If you live in Ventura Country, learn about professional rodent control here.
What attracts gophers in your yard?
When it comes to removing gopher holes and keeping these rodents out of your yard, it is important to understand what draws them to your property in the first place.
Unfortunately, a good food source is the main draw for gophers, and if you have a beautiful lawn or a well-landscaped yard, you are a target for gophers. These animals are herbivores and eat plant roots and tubers, as well as grass, clover, and other vegetation.
Gophers have many predators, so areas of shelter are important. While they spend a great deal of their life underground, they tend to build tunnels and openings in areas of cover, such as under bushes or along fence lines.
Gophers rely on their digging abilities to survive and will look for areas with loose, sandy soil that is easier for them to dig and navigate when it comes to moving and creating their home.
Frequently asked questions
When it comes to gopher and gopher hole removal, homeowners often have a lot of questions. Here we answer some of the most common questions we hear.
How does fumigation control gophers?
Fumigation is a process that uses smoke or gas to draw out or kill gophers in their tunnels. Unfortunately, gophers tend to smell this coming and seal off their tunnels in order to keep the smoke or gas from entering their burrow.
Can I use predators to control gophers?
Taking advantage of natural predators, such as barn owls, can be a more natural control method if you live in an area where these are present. Installing owl boxes may encourage owls to nest in your area, but this does not guarantee those owls will target your gophers. While this can be effective, your lawn may become overrun with gophers before the owls take notice.
What can I fill gopher holes with?
Once you have eliminated the gophers, it is time to eliminate the gopher holes. For holes in the lawn, you may consider filling the gopher tunnels with gravel before covering them with topsoil and then sprinkling them with grass seed. In a garden, simply fill areas with packed topsoil and avoid leaving the soil loose, as this can attract new gophers.
Maintaining a mound-free yard
When you wake up in the morning to find a mound of dirt in your yard, a gopher like the famous one in Caddyshack may come to mind. Once you determine the mound is in fact a gopher, it is important to address this new resident immediately, either with traps or bait. Preventative methods, such as deterrents and fencing can help you avoid gophers returning or continuing to damage areas of your yard.
Helping you keep gophers away
If you are still fighting a gopher problem despite trying to take care of them on your own, it may be time to call in the professionals. The team at Insight Pest Management understands gopher behavior and the best way to eliminate these pests from your property. Contact us today to learn more about residential or commercial pest management and how we can help.