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Getting Rid of Gophers

Closeup of a gopher.
The cute little gopher is the bane of many a gardener and home owner. They are herbivores that love to eat roots. They will eat the roots of your vegetables, flowers, and lawn. Getting rid of them can be difficult. This is guide about getting rid of gophers.


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By 3 found this helpful
September 20, 2011

This was a simple solution for me, anyway. I tried everything for 5 months to eradicate gophers in the yard. They were dining on all my newly planted trees, plants, shrubs, etc. and the yard was filled with fresh mounds. Finally, I called a service in my area called The Gopher Patrol and they made one visit, poisoned/gassed all the holes and to this day, 3 1/2 years later, I have never had one problem. The cost of $100 was well worth it. I probably spent close to that amount on all the DIY methods, not too mention my time and frustration with failure. If I ever have gophers again I will not hesitate to leave it to the professionals.


By Judy from Riverside, CA

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By 3 found this helpful
January 16, 2013

When you start noticing mole hills or gopher runs in your yard, just get some Wrigleys Juicy Fruit gum. You chew it just until it is soft and the flavor is starting to come out. Then you poke a hole in the hill or run and drop the gum down into it and cover it up. The moles or gophers are attracted to the scent of fruit, but, when they eat it, they can't digest the gum and it kills them. The only problem I have ever had is that my dog likes the gum and will dig it up and eat it. So, I try to put it in areas he can't reach.

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By 1 found this helpful
September 22, 2011

Pee on them. Have your hubby save his urine and pour dashes of the urine on the mounds. The gophers move.

Another solution is to dig into the mound and put cat poop from the litter box into the mound as best you can. Cover the poop, congratulate yourself that while both solutions work, it is also a little funny to explain to others.


By Vicki from Roseburg, OR

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August 29, 20101 found this helpful

Here is an eco-friendly and humane way to reduce the ground rodents like gophers from your sensitive gardening areas. If you have healthy cats (rodent predators) and a litter box or other source of feces, spoon the litter with feces and urine (about a half a cup) down the open gopher holes and add enough water to be sure it reaches the lower levels of the tunnels.

You can open closed holes with a tool. You don't want to waste water or to have it go into your ground water if you are on a well or close to a water source. Be sure you use eco-friendly litter with no chemicals or perfumes.

This does not kill the rodents but they will move away from that section of your yard. Do not use feces in your food garden, only lawn/yard and flower beds. Ground rodents are natural tillers of the soil so they do have a positive side for some gardeners and certainly for the earth. Maybe they can be herded into the areas that you want tilled!


By Lin from Atascadero, CA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 13, 20050 found this helpful

My yard is full of gopher mountians and I don't know what to do about it. Does anyone know of a safe frugal way to elminate them from my yard?

Thanks for your help,


Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
February 13, 20050 found this helpful

If you have cats or now of some one who does, take the used litter and open holes in the gophers tunnels and put the used litter in there tunnels it wont be long before there gone.""

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 14, 20050 found this helpful

If you place an unwrapped stick of Juicy Fruit Gum in each hole you find....... they won't come back !!!

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March 5, 20050 found this helpful

We recently bought an small acreage and green horned enough not to recognize gopher mounds. So now we are trying to control them. My first try was good in just applying ground red pepper in all the holes or on about mounds. This seemed to keep them out of the yard for a couple of months. Ran out of red pepper (had gotten a big sack of it at the Oriential market) so I had juicy fruit gum and put it down every hole and again all was okay for a couple of months. I am going to grow habenero pepper this spring/summer as I think it will do the trick for most part if it is done regularly. Also my husband is building a thing which you can buy called a rodenator which puts propane down the hole followed by oxgyen which is lite , then "boom". However, after the garden is planted I do not want him to blow up the garden. We also are going to get a rat terrier dog and maybe a cat which locals have said take care of some of them also. We also have a big deer population. I have wrapped bars of soap in netting and put them on the fence line as well planted garlic all along the fence line. Next I will put fabric softener sheets on the fence line.

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April 20, 20050 found this helpful

juicy fruit multipacks, locate mounds, open stick of gum, roll it up, poke it with a stick down the center or the molehill, should work within a week, repeat @ all mounds you can locate, may seem cruel, but it works, the mole chokes on the gum or somethin, or they cannot digest the fruity smelling "treats" do not chew gum before inserting, hope you enjoy? lemme know how it works for ya

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 28, 20070 found this helpful

I hope by now you have gotten rid of your gophers. If not put used kitty litter in the hole and cover up. This worked for me

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August 26, 20090 found this helpful

I put moth balls in Styrofoam cups with holes poked in the bottom, covered the cups with foil & set in each hole, it worked. To keep them from tunneling under your plants in the garden try putting down a large piece of "hardware cloth"'s like heavy metal screening; just dig down into the garden before planting & lay it down, the plants roots can grow thru it but the gophers can't pull the plants down and can't tunnel thru it.

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November 30, 20140 found this helpful

I have a garden and gophers keep destroying it. They're so greedy! I love gardening, and planted a separate garden for them, but they still eat mine and theirs. Should I plant different types of vegetables in their garden than mine? I'm not looking to hurt anyone, I just want peace and vegetables.

By R.C. Collins

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December 7, 20140 found this helpful

I'm sorry, I don't have an answer. Actually, I clicked on your post to try to find an answer! My dilemma is a little different. We have prairie dogs. Built here 6 years ago, added a strawberry patch and then added bird feeders on the side so I could watch them from my kitchen table (I know, I know). The birds eat well, the prairie dogs are fat, and the strawberry patch is growing like crazy! Alas, we get no strawberries, but love watching the birds and cute prairie dogs while I enjoy another cup of tea in the morning. Like you, I would never dream of hurting any of them. A lot of joy, and hey, I can support a local farmer to get strawberries. Everyone wins, nobody loses.

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July 20, 20170 found this helpful

Plant a row of castor beans separating the gardens.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 29, 2010

We have a pesty gopher in our garden. Does anyone know how to get rid of gophers? Thanks.

By Michael from San Bruno, CA

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September 11, 20100 found this helpful

Since I live in your area I listen to Bob Tanum on Sunday morning on KSFO. He is a gardner. He recomends dry ice. Seems to be successful.You can find it in some grocery store or liquor stores.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 2, 2011

What kind of plant roots do gophers hate to eat? I have gophers and no matter what I do I can't get rid of them. I've tried everything.

By Dianne T. from Castaic, CA

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 18, 20100 found this helpful

Gophers are demolishing my yard. They are eating my roses, iris, and other plants and leaving mounds of dirt everywhere. I've been putting poison in the holes. I tried traps, but the gopher pushed dirt onto it which set it off.

Hardiness Zone: 10a

By abacal4 from Vista, CA


Getting Rid of Gophers

I read that you can take a couple of tablespoons of castor oil and a drop of dish detergent. Put in garden sprayer, fill rest of the way up with water and water your lawn. They hate the castor oil and won't mate because of the smell. I personally poured old grease down the holes that I found which were quite a lot. Over the course of one summer, they went to the neighbors yard. Hope this helps. (08/06/2009)

By grannygirl

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August 4, 20090 found this helpful

I have a very persistent gopher in my yard. I tried crushed mothballs in the hole he made, and thought it had done the job, but he's back. Any suggestions on how to get rid of him without killing him?

Jean from Michigan


Getting Rid of Gophers

Sorry, you cannot just go up to a gopher and tell him politely to leave. You will have to kill him in order for him to not be there anymore. If you do not do it soon, he will have a family and there will be more gophers to take care of. Actually, once you have seen him, he probably already has a wife and kids. (05/07/2006)

By valleyrimgirl

Getting Rid of Gophers

Here is an "Ask this Old House" article on getting rid of gophers :

Roger Cook replies: "Look on the bright side at least you won't have to aerate your lawn this year. Seriously, though, gophers are wily, destructive pests that throw up big mounds of earth willy-nilly across the landscape and destroy gardens and crops. Here's a quick overview of the remedies for these rodents, but check with your local extension service on specifics that suit your area.

First of all, stuffing things down a gopher hole, including hair or those so-called sonic repellents, just doesn't work. (Neither does dynamite, as Bill Murray proved in the movie Caddyshack.) I recommend box traps, which are the simplest and easiest type of gopher trap to use. You plant them in a main tunnel, which lies about 6 to 12 inches below the surface. (Find it by probing the ground around a mound on the side where you see a plug of fresh earth.) Then, following the illustrated directions below, dig down and set two traps with their open ends facing opposite directions into the tunnel. No bait is needed, but be sure to wear gloves when setting the traps. You don't want your scent to scare them away.

If you prefer not to trap, stay away from the poisons that contain strychnine. A poisoned gopher eaten by a cat, dog, or fox will poison that animal as well. Safer poisons use a bait laced with anticoagulants; internal bleeding kills the gopher (painlessly, I'm told) without endangering other animals. Just be sure to follow instructions for its safe use and disposal.

I've read that gophers can't stand the smell of castor oil (can't say I blame them) and that spraying a diluted mix on the ground is enough to make them skedaddle. There's also some evidence that gophers don't like mulch, so you could try mulching a buffer area around plantings. Or you could encourage predators to come feast on your rich gopher supply. Installing owl boxes in a nearby woods might be a good start." (05/10/2006)

By Lynda

Getting Rid of Gophers

Good for you for not wanting to kill him. That's most people's answer to everything without even looking for another option. Have you done an on-line search typing in getting rid of gophers humanely? But if he's only made 1 hole that isn't to bad. I have chipmunks who have several holes in my yard. I just figure I like having them around more than I mind the holes. (05/10/2006)

By Vic

Getting Rid of Gophers

Dump used cat-litter down his holes. (05/16/2006)

By Kaytee

Getting Rid of Gophers

I have found that when you find a fresh hole clean it out enough so that you can drop a egg down it. Then cover the hole up with dirt and while you are doing that make sure you break the egg. It gets rid of the gophers for a couple of months. (01/02/2009)

By Yucaipa Valley

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