The Q&A Archives: Gophers vs. Junipers

Question: I live in what I call Gopher City and I have noticed that where I have Junipers planted they don't dig. Also my next door neighbor has Junipers planted at the edge of her frontyard and they don't come in her yard. So what do you think? Could I be onto something here? If I planted Junipers at the front of my yard would it keep the Gophers out? Our family also use to sell Paxco Tree protectors and Hot Caps to your company many years ago and I just want to say when I order from a nursery I always ask for Monvoria plants, your plants are the best. Be good to each other, Peggy Sue Paxton

Answer: I think whatever works in your situation is the right thing to use! There is a bit of science behind your observation. Gophers feed primarily on the roots of various plants and occasionally on stems and leaves. They prefer thick tap-rooted plants over thin, fibrous roots but they will eat both. Since junipers have mostly fibrous roots and they thrive in dry soils, and because dry soils tend to be more compacted and less populated with grubs and other insects, the gophers are not so much repelled by the juniper planted area as they are actively avoiding it because there are much more lush and yummy plant roots in other parts of your landscape. I'd caution against planting a perimeter of junipers around your yard, though - even if it did work to repel gophers, what if you trapped a population inside your garden??

Best wishes with your landscape!

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