The Q&A Archives: Gophers!

Question: Does anyone know of a reliable organic method of gopher control in raised beds besides traps?

Answer: It's important to act quickly once you see signs of gopher activity, because once a tunnel system is in place, other gophers will quickly replace any you drive away. Various methods of repelling gophers can help. Some plants such as gopher spurge (Euphorbia lathyrus) and castor bean (Ricinus communis) have been reported to deter gophers because they exude a poisonous substance from their roots. Research shows that neither of these are consistently effective repellents. Putting substances in gopher tunnels-used kitty litter, rags soaked in predator urine or pine oil-have worked for some gardeners. Ultrasonic noisemakers provide only short-term relief. The most effective controls are exclusion and trapping. In small beds gardeners can create cages or baskets to protect prized plants. Dig a 2 to 3-foot deep hole in the planting area and line the sides and bottom of the bed with wire mesh. Replace the soil and plant your garden. Trees can be protected with wire mesh guards placed a few inches below the soil line and 2 feet up the trunk.

Hope this information helps you protect your plants from gophers!

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