Gopher Management Revisited

This week, gophers have seemed inactive in my flower garden. No new holes to report. My current strategy has been to place heavy objects, such as large rocks or bricks atop new holes (filled in with soil beforehand). I’m hoping that the inability to easily break through the soil will sufficiently frustrate the gophers and spur them to find greener pastures in more welcoming yards.

From my experience, gophers thrive in loose soil filled with plant roots. Therein lies the dilemma. If you’re doing a reasonable job to maintain your garden, by diligently watering your plants and feeding them plant food, the result is softer soil filled with abundant roots, as well as healthy plants. But this is also the very environment in which gophers thrive. If one goes away, another gopher takes its place.

I’ve had to contend with gophers for about 2 years now and it seems to me that gophers will likely be  problems that need to be managed, not completely eliminated. In a previous post (May 4), I’d mentioned the strategies that have been ineffective for my particular garden. Certainly, every garden has their own specific needs and perhaps some pest management strategies have proven effective, at least in the short run. I’ll keep updating this blog with any strategies that I’ve found to have demonstrated long-term effectiveness, as well as any cost-effective solutions.

TIP: If you’re planning on laying down new sod, putting in a simple flowerbed, consider the issue of pest (not just gopher) abatement and control. I was so proud to have designed and installed my own backyard flower garden. It was great for one year, and then the gophers came. Consider the types of plants you’ll want to put in. My beloved roses – a few perished from gophers – are somewhat costly. Be prepared to budget the cost of pest management since that will likely affect your garden maintenance budget,  especially the cost for replacement sod or plants.


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