Calling all "judges" for the annual DG County Fair! Vote for your favorites here!

Any gopher solutions?

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Chuck is my nominee for chief of thread police. Very tactful.

Karen, should those birth control pills be wrapped in Juicy Fruit gum?

Does anyone have any solutions that don't involve digging up all of the existing plants and putting them in wire baskets (with wire lids to keep out the gophers traveling overland)?

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for starting a new thread Zuzu. I second your vote, thanks Chuck, good eye! :~D

Perhaps wrap the birth control pills in shaved carrot with a tooth pick holding it together....with luck the gophers will think they're horsdeouvres (how the heck do you spell that anyway??)! My Grandfather made a contraption that he felt worked. He stuck an aluminum pole in the ground and cut up a bleach bottle so little fins stuck out on the sides and caught the wind. He placed it on top of the stake and it rattled when it spun, supposedly thumping the ground and scaring away the gophers. He thought it worked, I thought it looked silly. There are those batteried or solar powered "thumpers" for lack of a better word. Anybody have any luck with them?

K

Arroyo Grande, CA

Gophers are tough. I just gave up and started with the baskets. I have ground squirrels too. Mostly they just eat grass, though they will come on the deck and chew on things if you do not run them off. There was one inside Home Depot this morning. They are more fun to watch. The hawks, cars and cats keep them somewhat under control.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

From what I've seen, cars turn ground squirrels into "sail" squirrels.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

I asked the guys at one of the local nurseries about those battery things you plunge into the ground. The companies selling them swear they work by emitting some noise the gophers can't stand. The nursery guys almost fell on the floor laughing. They said it was a total scam and that none of those contraptions had ever worked.

Another scam is the gopher plant. I have hundreds of them. They come up all over the garden. The gophers save them for dessert, after eating everything around them. The plants themselves are pretty ugly, and they can give you a nasty rash if you try to pull them out of the ground without wearing gloves.

Arroyo Grande, CA

There are several that live right next to the street below me and spend their days dodging cars. Some days they do not make it, but another one takes their place.

San Jose, CA

I hate to say it, but gopher traps work the best. You put them in the entrance to a hole. They work like a mouse trap.

I took a half day class on gophers at UC Santa Cruz. The instructor said that all the folklore remedies were ineffective. He recommended the traps, since they didn't have any adverse effects on other animal populations. Gopher baits, on the other hand, contain strychnine and will kill any animal that eats them.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

The traps are a boon, but only if you don't have thousands of gophers. There's no way to set enough traps for that. Besides, some of my gophers stay so far underground, getting the long tap roots, that I don't know they're there until it's too late. There's no sign of them on the surface.

A class on gophers sounds amusing. As amusing as "gopher mix," which is what some of the baits are called. It always conjures up visions of "just add water and stir, and voila: you have created a gopher." Gopher bait is a terrible thing, but cats luckily will not eat terrible things, in contrast to dogs, which seem to love eating terrible things. My cats usually only leave hideous little innards and the faces of gophers on my kitchen floor, but once in a while they bring me an entire gopher and choose not to eat it. I always assumed these were the ones that had been poisoned by the neighbors.

There is a castor-oil based mixture that you spray onto your flower beds that works, but you have to do it at least once a month to keep them away. I use it on my bulb beds, but I don't have the money or the time to use it everywhere. I think it's called Gopher-Med or Mole-Med or something like that.

San Jose, CA

Oh my, so your cats bring you dead gophers? That must be a sight! I do have a dog that would eat anything, so I no longer use the gopher bait.

It is time-consuming to use the traps on a large gopher problem. The instructor was actually in charge of trapping gophers at UC Santa Cruz and he exclusively uses the traps. However, I'm sure that the university has to use the safest means possible to control the problem. He probably has 20 or more traps set every day.

The instructor did mention that there are gopher eradicators who will inject certain chemicals into the tunnels to take care of a large problem quickly. I can't remember the chemical he mentioned, but he said it was a controlled substance, so not everyone is authorized to use it.

Arroyo Grande, CA

I was out looking at some artichokes I planted bare root. Sure enough the gopher had dug all around the basket, but the artichoke was doing fine, though a little buried by all the excess dirt. I could watch with equanimity his efforts to eat my 'choke.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Watching that would give me great pleasure. I could just pull up a chair and sit back with a margarita to delight in the frustrations of a gopher. Serves him right.

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

What are the darn things good for, anyway? Another on a long list of questions to ask G*d, right behind "why do we have mosquitos?"

Arroyo Grande, CA

gophers are nature's rototillers.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

...not this one.....LOL

Thumbnail by Kachinagirl
Mesilla Park, NM

Oh, I like that trap.. the first two years here, (a little over two acres)... The only acre that we garden on has tons of gophers. I used macobee traps for a very long time and they really work. You have to put two traps in each hole, one facing one way and the other facing the other way with the backs to each other. It will catch it coming one way or another.. I love these traps (caught 17 gophers in one week), the other trap that does work but is bigger and more expensive is one called the Black Hole made out of plastic.

I will go find the traps and take a photo of them.

Kachinagirl, what is the name of that trap up there.

With the flooding we had here, I was hoping that they would drown. The dogs caught two that the rains forced to come up from the ground. Now, we have tons of cave-ins all over the yard. Some are really deep, like three feet deep and about a foot wide. We fill up the holes and as soon as we water a plant, it goes right into that darn spot and it is like a never ending tunnel.

Zuzu, I feel for you.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

This is just a box trap. I place it in the hole and tuck dirt in all around it. The vent has a "shade" on it so no light comes into the hole, but the gopher can smell the fresh air coming in and goes to check it out. I place peeled carrots just outside the vent.......my record is 15 minutes til the trap sprung! This is the gopher our Lab paraded around the yard with (trap et al), so proud of his catch. We just laughed at him. Dufus dog!

Karen

San Jose, CA

Where did you find the box traps? They look very appealing! We're having some yard work done now and were warned that disturbing the dirt was likely to cause more gophers to come investigate our yard. I need to arm myself for war.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

I actually found them at a garage sale. I have heard that they are not available anymore, so if you find some, grab them quick!!! Originally I got mine at OSH. I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know if I come across any out here in the valley. Perhaps one of the box stores will carry them, or maybe we can find them online.

K

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Here in my area, Rancho Cucamonga, we have a company that comes out and puts some sort of gas pellet in the ground where the main tunnels are. I forget the name but if anyone is interested, I'll call and get that info. I haven't had a gopher in a year and we were bombarded with them.
The pellet is inserted into the ground with a PVC pipe and covered with dirt, the moisture in the ground releases a gas that goes through the tunnels and gets the little boogers. My neighbor is now using them and we're very happy with the result.

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9a)

Hi Weegy12

i would be very interested in thisgas pellet idea, as although my dog loves to catch them, she is still a pup and cannot keep up with the destroying little pests......

Diane

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

You might want to call your local pest services Diane. I believe that product is regulated and must be used by someone licensed for pesticides etc. Here in the Valley, the farmers use them and can buy them but regular folk like me.....can't.

Karen

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9a)

Thanks for the tip Karen.... :)

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Diane,
The company is called "Wildlife Pest Management."
They use a tablet called aluminum phophide and it turns into a gas in the tunnels. I've had 3 treatments in 2 years and no sign of gophers! The neighbors around me have them, but I don't! There is no danger to the doggie as the big tablet they use is inserted into the main tunnel and covered up with alot of dirt. We have cats and dogs there and they've never gone near it. I hope I helped gopher haters out there!

Fremont, CA(Zone 9a)

Here is "Wildlife Pest Management" http://home.earthlink.net/~gmorton47/ I guess they service a very wide area.
I wonder if the prairie dog vacuum would work on gophers? http://www.cnn.com/EARTH/9612/16/sucking.dogs/
I have considered hooking up my exhaust pipe to some hosing and stuffing it in the gopher trail. Wonder if that would work? It may not be cost effective with the current gas prices. http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/gopher/gophercontrol.html gives several options, one of which is exhaust - auto & auto flares.

Arroyo Grande, CA

With the baskets, not to beat a dead horse, you do not have to do any of this stuff. Plants do fine, gopher can only eat what grows through the basket, leaving plenty of roots to allow the plant to survive. By the time the basket rots, there are plenty of roots to survive almost any attack. Only one plant lost to gophers in four years that was in a basket.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

I'll beat my dead horse too. Gophers can travel overland and they get into the baskets from above. As for the "plenty of roots to survive," this week the gophers got my Zephirine Drouhin rose, which I planted 16 years ago. It had grown big enough to cover half of the front of my house. You can imagine how many roots it had, but it doesn't look like it's going to survive.

Arroyo Grande, CA

I am sorry to hear that. You must have much smarter gophers up there. Down here, they have not done that yet.

Northern California, CA

All "solutions" are temporary. :-)

They've plagued me for the last 7 years and continue to search and destroy. I've done baskets. bombs, fogs, pellets, feeding stations(that's poison!), commercial pest services, sound emitters, water, saying bad words, stomping my feet, throwing tantrums, crying, pleading, begging. All of them work some of the time, none of them work all of the time.

I no longer plant Campanula or Eryngium......they will plow through anything to get to them. A 10' Red Abby Banana had the entire root ball and interior heart eaten out of it overnight. It was leaning precariously one morning and toppled when I barely touched it. (It was in a basket)

And they will go overland for especially tasty morsels, as will ground squirrels which are just as destructive and just as difficult to eradicate. The damage done by the hundreds of burrows from both of these pests has undermined the stability of our downslope hill in some areas.

I keep telling myself they were here first and they have to survive and feed families too.....that works on a good day when they stay out of the garden.

This message was edited Apr 26, 2005 7:24 AM

Arroyo Grande, CA

Well, I haven't been here long enough for the gophers to attack anything big, since oldest plant is only four. So far, they seem to work an area and then move on to some place else, leaving churned up soil in their wake. The HOA has had very severe attacks, wiping out whole plantings of certain species. We have tried trapping there, just to cut the numbers, not to do a wipeout with limited success. We are going to plant much smaller plants, more perennials and grasses to see if that helps. This year should be the acid test as most of the baskets from two years ago will be rusted out and many plants are quite large.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

I still prefer my Father's cure. A stool. A 6-pack of Pepsi. An open gopher hole. A revolver. Sit...drink Pepsi....wait. LOL!

K

Northern California, CA

Believe me K when I say that would have been my #1 choice......but the city officials frown upon the use of firearms within the city limits.

The gophers have been after one bed for a couple of weeks now, they are after one of the few remaining Eryngiums I think......all they've managed to do so far is make lots of tunnels and chew through the power line to the big fountain. Didn't faze them at all!

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

Change your fountain to 220 and light up their world! LOL I have clients who swear flares work. I haven't tried that in a long time. They open up holes all over, wherever they can find them. Stick a lit flare in each, then cover up the holes. Worth a try I suppose.

K

I wonder if one of those electrical rat traps would work?

This message was edited Apr 26, 2005 9:38 AM

Rohnert Park, CA(Zone 9a)

I had a coworker who used spreadsheets at work in his job, he was a computer nerd He had a nice garden with sandy loam soil and gophers.

One day I look up at his desk and see a plotted xcel graph going back several years with a line rising and falling. I looked closely and every gopher he had bagged was plotted. He too used the chair, sunscreen and beverage method. However his tool was not a revolver but a small gauge shotgun...he lives in a rural area. He took great pride in that graph and disposing of those critters.

Arroyo Grande, CA

Well the gophers got a second E. citriodora. I didn't bury the basket deep enough so they were able to eat right to where the roots branch off the main trunk. Basket was intact, had not rotted out after three years. Gotta remember to bury the baskets to the rim. Not too bad though, out of 1200 plants, only lost two to gophers.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

I'm resurrecting this thread because I just heard of a new solution. A guy said he had killed all of the gophers on his property by dropping dry ice into their tunnels. In contrast to most eradication methods, this one's supposed to be good for plants. Has anyone tried this method or heard anything about it?

Incidentally, he told me about it after I complained that the gophers had just killed three big lilac bushes. Not one root left on any of them. As usual, I found out about it when I watered. After the sprinkler had been on for a few minutes, the trees came toppling down.

Eureka, CA

Hey Zuzu.... I feel for you. Haven't heard about the dry ice one yet. I'm like you, I hate to spend more on a cage than I did for a plant! (I think I'm going to the yellow pages to see where I can buy dry ice....) Good luck, and keep us informed!

Sanna

Fremont, CA(Zone 9a)

Quoting:
Dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, is generally ineffective. At high concentrations, it displaces the oxygen in the burrow. But no one knows how much is necessary to produce results.

But it sure sounds like it may be worth the try. I think the problem is that the tunnels are so vast, that it takes too much volume of most anything to be effective - flares, car exhaust, CO2, cats, ferrets, etc.

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

You're not kidding. If 18 cats don't equal volume, nothing will.

I'm getting a little nervous about the very idea of handling dry ice, so I'm probably going to stick to my traditional combination of gopher poison in the main tunnels and Pine-Sol in the auxiliary tunnels.

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

DH just drops a lit flare or M-80 fire crackers into the holes. I think it sends em packing a whole state over. The local orchardists use Fos-toxin. Can't buy it retail, have to have an orchardist friend who will give you a sealed mason jar with some in it. I can vouch for the fact that THAT works!

K

Modesto, CA(Zone 8b)

Maybe we need Ferrets or Mongoose (Mongooses? Mongeese???) to send down the tunnels. We can tie red silk ribbons around their necks to drag them back out......LOL

K

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