Getting Rid of Gophers

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.

Closeup of a gopher.
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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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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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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.

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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

    By Michael from San Bruno, CA

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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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    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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    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,


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    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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    Read More Answers...

    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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    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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    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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    Home and Garden Pest Control Small WildlifeSeptember 16, 2011
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