When Gophers Attack (Your Garden)!

This is an update on my efforts towards gopher abatement. My backyard has been a favorite place of gophers. IMG_1524I’ve been asked, “Where do these gophers come from?” One pest control company told me that home construction projects can disturb the ground enough to prompt these critters to relocate to more peaceful surroundings. On my street, a few such projects have been going on over the past few years. Also, my next door neighbor recently had a large, mature tree on the property line removed. Now gophers are tearing up the surrounding area where the tree once stood. This is the “shaky ground” explanation.IMG_1525

However, another pest control company pointed out that gophers usually tunnel across a large area, not just your property, so your neighbors might also have telltale signs of gopher attacks on their gardens. It’s often difficult to determine whose property was attacked first. But really, it’s important to note that just one gopher can tunnel through a large area of ground overnight, causing major havoc and ruining your gardening efforts and projects.

The photos above show the latest gopher attack in my backyard. For your reference, please click on the photos to get a better view of the evidence of gophers in a yard. The holes in the ground are a sign, but also, on the far right photo, you’ll see soft dirt mounds that result after the gopher(s) have dug their tunnels. The soft dirt is “kicked out” as they dig.

My current strategy has been to attack them back, behaviorally, to frustrate their efforts to dig up my yard. I plug up their holes with items too heavy for them to move, which may inspire them to go elsewhere.

This strategy seems to have protected the majority of my backyard, including my rose garden. Even my tomato container garden (21 containers!) is part of that strategy, placing a collective heavy weight in that one area makes it undesirable for them to dig it up, which may also protect the pear and apple tree saplings that are just nearby.

The gophers are now moving eastward in my yard, another near-bare area, which still has dying weeds filling part of it out. I don’t yet have any plants there yet, but seeing that I’ve essentially pushed them into a “corner,” it is my hope that the gopher(s) will see fit to leave soon, for good.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE:  Apple and pear seeds are highly toxic if ingested.  More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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