9 Ways to Get Rid of Pocket Gophers Naturally [Step by Step Process]

Pocket gophers are a type of rodent that digs through the ground and causes massive damage to your garden and your property. The amount of damage they can do is quite extensive.

While many farmers and gardeners use gas or poison to get rid of gophers, it is neither a long-term solution, not very safe. Besides, killing these animals is a hassle. Therefore, a better solution is to get rid of them using natural methods.

As long as they don’t visit your garden uninvited, they will not be able to cause any harm. In this article, we will look at some of the natural methods you can use to get rid of pocket gophers from your garden. 

How to Get Rid of Pocket Gophers Naturally [8 Different Ways]

1. Gopher Mesh

Gopher mesh is a wire netting that is placed on the ground to prevent the gophers from digging and tunneling. This method is great for smaller gardens and for those on a budget.

Gopher mesh is quite inexpensive and does not need much effort to set up, yet it protects your plants quite well. Gophers may still eat some of the roots of your plants, but if they find it hard to tunnel, they will leave that area eventually. 

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Begin by laying down your wooden frame in your desired position. If it is a smaller frame, you can lay it down after the net is set up. 
  • Place your gopher net inside the frame and staple it on the side of the frame. 
  • Roll out the mesh and when you reach the other side, staple it on the inside as well. Make sure to not create any tension. This way your mesh will lie on the ground flat. 
  • Now you can cut the excess mesh away. Also, cut the mesh diagonally along the corners of the frame. 
  • Staple the sides as well, and now it is ready to use. 
  • Fill your frame with soil and you are ready to start your garden. 
  • You can start new plants or relocate your existing plants into the frame now. 

Precautions:

Gopher mesh will prevent gophers from tunneling, but they may still eat some of the plant roots along the sides, so keep an eye on your plants and pair this method with other methods to get the best results. 

2.    Gopher Baskets

Gopher baskets are great for individual plants and trees. These baskets keep the gophers away from the plants.

It will not protect your entire garden, but if you only have a few plants and trees, then it is a good option for you.

You can buy pre-made gopher baskets, or you can make your own using gopher mesh. For trees, you should always use tree baskets because they don’t hinder the growth of your trees.

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Buy gopher baskets according to the size of your plants. Use a gopher basket that has adequate space for the plant to grow. 
  • Place your plants along with the planter inside the gopher basket.
  • You can also use plastic bags meant for plants to hold the soil inside the basket, and re-pot your plant. 
  • For trees, dig a hole in the ground and place your gopher basket inside. Cover your basket with soil and plant your tree inside the mesh. 

Precautions:

There are no extra precautions required for gopher baskets, except while installing them. They are made from sharp wire, so always make sure to wear gloves while working with them. 

3. Live Traps

We don’t recommend using traps that kill gophers, as it is inhumane. However, there are many no-kill traps available for gophers and other rodents, which are also known as live traps.

These traps will catch the gophers and you can take them out of your property and release them in the wild far from your garden. This method is great for catching gophers but always uses a preventative method to make sure they don’t come back. 

Required Material:

Step by Step Process:

  • Identify active gopher tunnels. Look for a crescent-shaped mound of soil, that is where a gopher has started digging. Monitor your grounds so that you know which one is the newest. 
  • You’ll find a hole which is an entrance to the tunnel. It may have some soil sunken inside it. 
  • Place your trap in front of the tunnel at an angle. Angle the end of your trap upwards, this will make sure that the gophers don’t become suspicious. 
  • Place your trap during dawn, that is when there is the highest gopher activity. 
  • Once you have caught the gopher, release it far away from your property. 
  • In case there is no gopher in your trap for more than one day, move your trap to a different gopher hole. 

Precautions:

Live traps are not dangerous in any way, but if you accidentally catch any animal that does not cause harm to your garden, then you should release them immediately. Also make sure to check on your traps, so that the gophers don’t die inside them. 

4. Repellant Plants

Gophers don’t like certain plants, so if you plant those around your garden there is much less chance of a gopher attacking your garden. This is not a foolproof method, but if you don’t have a huge gopher problem, you may find good results with this method.

Gophers dislike Caper spurge, marigold, lavender, rosemary, Crown imperial, catnips, etc. Always make sure to use a preventative method along with this method for the best results. 

Required Material:

  • Any of the plants from this list: Caper spurge, marigold, lavender, rosemary, Crown imperial, catnips. 

Step by Step Process:

  • Plant any of these plants in and around your garden. 
  • Water and maintain them so that they repel the gophers away with their strong smell. 

Precautions:

This method is not guaranteed to work, so you should always consider using other methods such as gopher mesh or gopher baskets to make sure they don’t cause any extensive damage. 

5. Fabric Softener Sheets

Dryer sheets or fabric softener sheets are highly fragrant, so they repel gophers. This method is great if you only have a few gophers around your property or your garden. You can also use peppermint oil on a cotton ball and get the same results. 

Required Material:

Step by Step Method:

  • You can use both of these ingredients or any one of them. 
  • To use the peppermint oil, soak a cotton ball in the oil, then put it on the entrance of a gopher tunnel. If you are using a fabric softener sheet, you can stuff it down directly. 
  • Do this repeatedly for a few days until you see that gopher activity has stopped completely. 

Precautions:

This method will not work if you have a lot of gophers or a large area to cover, as you will have to find every hole in order for this method to work. 

6. Castor Oil

Castor Oil is another natural Gopher repellant. Many people use castor oil pellets to drive away gophers from their garden.

This method is great for those who have a small garden or is dealing with a small number of gophers.

If you have a lot of gophers on the property, it will become quite hard to get rid of all of them using this method. Castor oil is great as it is neither a lethal method nor does it harm the environment. 

Required Material:

Step by Step Method:

  • If you are using castor oil pellets, simply pour a small amount of the granules into each gopher hole you find.
  • If you are using pure castor oil then mix 1 part of castor oil into 2 parts of water and then shake the mixture. 
  • Soak some cotton balls into the mixture and then drop them down each gopher hole you find. 
  • Repeat this process every few days, until you see there is no more gopher activity on your property. 

Precautions:

Castor oil does not pose any harm to you or your garden, so there is no need for any extra precautions.

7. Garlic Mixture

Garlic can repel gophers away, which is why it is a popular method used by many gardeners. You can use garlic paste to repel these pests away, and you can also try planting garlic in your garden.

However, the plants themselves do not have the pungent smell that gophers hate. This is why using a garlic solution is the best method. 

Required Material:

  • A few bulbs of garlic
  • Water
  • Cotton balls 
  • Cayenne pepper powder (optional)

Step by Step Process:

  • Take a few garlic bulbs and blend them in a blender. 
  • Add half a cup of water or until it’s a liquid. 
  • You can add some pepper powder to make the mixture even more pungent. 
  • Now soak some cotton balls in the liquid and drop them into every gopher hole you find. 
  • Repeat this process after every 3 to 4 days so that the gophers are encouraged to leave. 

Precautions:

Garlic paste and pepper powder are extremely pungent and cause burning if it gets in your eyes or your nose, so be careful while handling this mixture. 

8. Scare Them Away

Owls scare away gophers and other rodents very easily. Owls are predators that kill gophers and feed on them. This is why having owls on your property is a great way to scare away pocket gophers.

You can build owl boxes and allow owls to come onto your property. If owls don’t frequent your area, you can also use fake owls to scare away these animals, however, it’s less likely to work.

Required Material:

Step by Step Method:

  • Install Owl boxes around your property. This will encourage owls to visit your garden or your land. 
  • They occasionally catch and eat gophers, so gophers will be scared and they will leave. 

Precautions:

Owls will scare away gophers, but if you have a lot of gophers you will need to install other preventative methods to make sure they don’t come back. 

9. Flood Them Out

When You have a few gophers in your yard, you can simply flood them out of their hole and get rid of them from your yard altogether.

Flooding Gopher holes can also result in an opposite effect if the gopher is not inside the hole. Water makes the soil softer, making it easier for them to dig through. This is why you should always make sure that the gopher is inside the hold while you flood its burrow. 

Required Material:

  • Water Hose
  • A catching stick
  • 10-gallon jug (optional)

Step by Step Process: 

  • You can do this in two ways, either by using a jug or just using water. If you’re just using water and a stick to get them out. 

Precautions: 

If you are unsure about the location of the gopher and you accidentally flood an inactive gopher hole, you can loosen up the soil and cause your garden soil to become looser. This makes it easier for gophers to dig through them. 

5 Natural Methods to Prevent Pocket Gophers

1. Fence

A fence is not only a great solution for bigger animals, they are also good for keeping away gophers. Although a fence does not go very deep into the ground, still it can protect your garden from gophers for the most part.

When a gopher digs underneath the soil, if they hit the fence, they will be deflected and they will go away in another direction. 

2. Underground Gopher Barrier

If you don’t have a budget for a fence, or you simply don’t want to cover your property with a wall, an underground gopher barrier is the best option.

This method uses a hardware cloth or gopher mesh underneath the ground to prevent gophers from being able to dig into your garden.

First, you will have to dig a trench, which is about 3 to 4 feet deep. Then you should fill the trench with your hardware cloth, with about 1 foot of extra mesh sticking out from the ground.

Now you should fill the trench back in, and this will prevent any gophers from entering your garden for a long time. 

3. Fill the Gopher Holes

If you have driven away the gophers that previously attacked your garden, it is always a good idea to identify the gopher tunnels and fill them up with soil as much as possible.

This will make sure that the gophers don’t come back into your garden again. Make sure to pair this method with other methods such as a fence or an underground barrier to make sure that there is no possibility of them returning. 

4. Fake Grass

If you have a gopher problem in your front yard or somewhere where you would not plant any trees or plants, then you can cover the soil with fake grass.

Having a layer of artificial grass will discourage the gophers from digging in that soil. In fact, if they come from above, they will not be able to dig a hole at all. 

5. Pet Dogs or Cats

Both Cats and Dogs are great at chasing away gophers. They also kill gophers if they find them. So if you have a pet dog or cat, let them wander around in your garden, and they will help control the gopher population naturally. 

Top 5 Best Natural Gopher Repellents Available Online

If you are looking for natural repellents ready to use to get rid of gophers, please check below recommendations.

Final Words:

Pocket Gophers are quite commonly found in farmlands and gardens, however, they can survive well in the wild. This is why there is no need to kill these animals unless you absolutely need to.

So whether you simply relocate them or you drive them away, as long as you take precautions to prevent them from coming inside your garden or land, they will not come back to plague you.

It is important to catch these animals fast so that they don’t get the time to reproduce and develop a large family because then it becomes significantly harder to get rid of them. Now that you know how to get rid of pocket gophers naturally, it’s your turn to take action. 

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