There’s nothing that makes a gardener or homeowner happy than gazing upon a vibrant garden or a lush green lawn. The fragrant blooms and vibrant blend of colors create a magical haven of peace and tranquility.
However, this joy can quickly turn to sadness and disappointment when gophers invade your property.
Small, cunning, and relentless, these pesky pests have a knack for creating mayhem wherever they venture. Not only do they eat and uproot thriving plants, but leave behind unsightly mounds of dirt.
But wait, there’s more:
With their sharp claws, gophers create a series of extensive tunnels that can destabilize the soil, posing a risk to unsuspecting humans, pets, and livestock.
But worry not! This guide will equip you with knowledge and effective strategies to outsmart and drive out these mischievous tunnelers.
Brief Overview of Gophers
Gophers, or pocket gophers, are cunning underground dwellers, notorious for their destructions.
Armed with powerful claws and broad feet, these tiny creatures are built to dig and live below the ground. They often establish an extensive network of tunnels and burrows, where they nest, store food, and breed.
Like squirrels and hamsters, gophers have spacious cheek pouches which they use to store and carry food to their colony.
Let’s not forget, their ever-growing incisors’ teeth adapted to chewing through even the toughest woody plants. Combined with voracious appetites, gophers can convert pristine landscapes into a battlefield within weeks.
Also, gophers reproduce rapidly, with a female producing three litter annually consisting of 3 to 4 pups. Because of this, they can be challenging to control and exterminate.
But what lures gophers to venture into gardens, lawns, and backyards?
Here are a few things that might be drawing these mischievous pests to your property:
- Food Sources: Like mice, moles, and other rodents, gophers often venture into well-cultivated spaces searching for food. Since they’re omnivores, they can consume a variety of vegetation. They particularly love tubers, roots, and bulbs of plants. Your green lawn grass also makes an excellent snack for gophers.
- Shelter and Protection: Gophers fall prey to several predators, including foxes, owls, snakes, cats, coyotes, and dogs. As a result, they often burrow and nest under dense vegetation, bushes, and shrubs that can offer them protection. These could include your plant-rich garden or backyard.
- Soil Quality: Gophers thrive in regions with loose, sandy soils since they can move freely. They also love gardens and lawns with moist, well-drained soil and organic matter.
Smells That Gophers Hate
Have you scouted the internet for methods to get rid of gophers?
What solutions did you come across? Did they yield any results?
While there is a myriad of ways to get rid of gophers, very few deliver the result you desire. Gophers are super resilient and persistent, which makes it difficult to find the most effective way to repel them.
But don’t lose hope because there is a natural method that shows great promise at deterring these creatures. And it all revolves around targeting their strong sense of smell.
By exploiting their olfactory receptors with smells, they detest, you can discourage their invasion into your lawn.
In this section, we have highlighted a few scents that can help you keep gophers at bay. Check them out!
1. Castor Oil
Gophers despise the smell of castor oil. Create a simple concoction of water and a few tablespoons of castor oil, then place it in a spray bottle. Shake it well and spray the solution around your garden. Target the areas often frequented by these unwanted visitors.
Also, focus on visible gopher tunnels. The powerful castor oil scent will disrupt their sense, forcing them to seek alternative areas to forage and burrow.
2. Coffee Grounds
Coffee isn’t more than just a morning pick-me-up. It can serve as a power gopher deterrent. Like castor oil, gophers dislike the powerful scent of coffee grounds. For the best results, strategically sprinkle coffee grounds near their tunnels. The smell of coffee will force the gophers to think twice before venturing into your cultivated spaces.
The rosemary herb isn’t just a flavor powerhouse in the kitchen; it’s also a gopher’s worst nightmare. The potent aroma of rosemary leaves these critters cringing in disgust.
Plant some rosemary bushes strategically around your garden. The potent scent of rosemary leaves and flowers will keep those gophers at bay.
4. Peppermint Oil
The invigorating scent of peppermint oil has the power to send these small animals running. A few drops of this minty goodness produce a strong smell that gophers can’t withstand.
But the best way to use this repellent is to soak a few drops in cotton balls and place them near areas with frequent gopher activities. The smell will permeate the air, overwhelming the gopher and sending them to look for other areas to forage.
For humans, lavender delivers a calming and soothing effect. But for gophers, the delightful scent of lavender can prove detrimental.
To use this gopher repellent, plant lavender along the perimeter of your garden. As they grow and bloom, they will produce a captivating scent that fills your home while deterring these invaders.
Alternatively, you can hang a few dried lavender bundles around your garden.
Another scent you can use effectively against gophers is pine. If you plant pine trees around your yard, the smell of the tree will overwhelm any gopher that tries to nest there.
Apart from pine trees, you can purchase pine-scented repellants. These products capture the pungent aroma of pine. Therefore, you can spray them near regions gophers love to repel them.
Thyme is a great herb that adds a burst of flavor to your dishes. But it can also help you deter gophers and other rodents from your property.
Plant some thyme near your vulnerable plants or crush a few thyme leaves to release their tantalizing aroma. This potent aroma will create a barrier that gophers won’t dare to cross.
Geraniums have vibrant and colorful flowers that brighten any garden. These plants also have an incredible nostalgic scent that can repel many rodent species, including gophers.
The eucalyptus tree provides shade and also acts as a gopher deterrent. The robust, menthol-like aroma of eucalyptus can leave these rodents feeling disrupted.
Plant some eucalyptus trees, hang dried eucalyptus branches, or use eucalyptus oil around your garden, and gophers will stay away.
Without a doubt, marigolds bring sunshine to any garden. On top of that, they attract beneficial insects, like bees and ladybugs.
But how do they help you deter gophers?
Marigolds come with a distinctive smell that repels mosquitoes and other garden pests, like tomato worms. But you can also use it against gophers.
Additional Scents That Can Keep Gophers Away
- Daffodils: Plant daffodil bulbs in your garden to protect your vegetable from gophers
- Sage Herb: Grow sage along your fences and around your yard to create a repelling field.
- Chili powder: Sprinkle some chilis inside the gopher hole
Other Effective Ways to Keep Gophers Away
1. Tunnel Traps
One way to keep gophers away is by setting up tunnel traps. These traps include study frames with a spring load mechanism which can be placed within gophers’ tunnels.
As these creatures travel through their system of burrows, they might bump into the trap, activating the mechanism which taps them.
2. Gopher Baskets
Protect your precious plants and trees from gophers using gopher baskets. Made from wire mesh, these baskets create a physical barrier around the plant’s roots, preventing gophers from reaching them.
Some gopher baskets, especially for trees could break down within a few years, allowing their roots to thrive.
3. Installing Physical Barriers
Gophers are resilient, but they can have a hard time overcoming physical barriers. Create a physical barrier around your garden using wire mesh or hardware cloth to block the tiny animals from accessing the area.
Remember to lay the wire mesh under your garden or lawn to prevent burrowing.
4. Seek Professional Pest Control Services
If you’re dealing with a gopher infestation, the above methods might prove ineffective. Here’s where a professional pest control company comes in.
Experts from such an organization will use advanced methods and tools to deal with the gophers. They might also provide you with advice on how to prevent gopher infestation in the future.
Telltale Signs of Gopher Infestation
- Mystery Mounds: Gophers are well-known for their burrowing abilities. And one sign that indicates their presence is fresh, crescent-shaped mounds appearing on the surface overnight. These creatures form the mounds by pushing soil through tunnel openings.
- Several Tunnel Openings: If you look around the mounds of soil, you will discover tunnels that act as entry and exit points for gophers.
- Dying Plants: If your plants start dying suddenly with no sign of disturbance, chances are you have a gopher lurking around.
- Sunken Areas or Uneven Ground: These creatures usually establish an extensive network of tunnels that serve as nests and food storage points. The interconnected tunnels and burrows can extend for several feet. These underground runways mess with the stability of the soil, causing sunken areas on your lawn.
Gophers might appear small, but their knack for destruction knows no bounds. From eating garden plants to creating unsightly mounds, these underground dwellers can be a nuisance for homeowners.
Luckily, you can harness the power of scents to repel these mischievous rodents from your property. For the best result, we recommend you combine smell-based gopher repellants with physical barriers and traps.
Now, go forth, fellow gardener, and show those gophers who’s the master and reclaim your domain!