Ask a Question forum: Gophers eating rose roots

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Name: Carol
East Texas
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backacre
Feb 1, 2014 3:27 PM CST
Any suggestions to fight gophers/moles? eating roots of roses and other shrubs. I've searched some on the internet and found one person planting in tubs called "squats". I live outside of Tyler, Texas and do not know of a supplier. Our rose nursery had never heard of a squat when asked about this. I am mainly concerned about the roses. It was suggested to use a 15 gallon squat to be put in ground. We are over-run with this pest and I've tried the usual (pellets & traps) with no success.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Feb 1, 2014 3:30 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

A local master gardener friend suggested to me to try the black hole trap. It's made for trapping gophers and he said he catches them constantly with this. He said it's the only gopher trap that has worked for him. I bought one (around $15 from Amazon) but I haven't used it yet.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Feb 1, 2014 3:30 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Here it is:

http://www.amazon.com/Various-Black-Hole-Gopher-Trap/dp/B000...
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Feb 1, 2014 6:05 PM CST
@Calif_Sue
Sue uses some wire basket thingys. She'll answer the call & explain.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 1, 2014 6:07 PM CST
FYI ... a squat pot is a 7 gal nursery can that is almost as wide as it is tall. Since they are shorter in height than the 15 gal cans, it is easier to use when you are burying a container for gopher control.

Roses don't have a tap root, just a few anchor roots and their root mass spreads out. So, no matter what size container you decided to use, be sure to drill holes in the sides of the container for the roots to spread.

@Dave ... thanks for the link for that trap. It looks like it would work very well if you were only after a few gophers instead of a whole colony of the beasts invading your garden.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Feb 1, 2014 6:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Duane Robinson
Kerrville, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas
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Poohdaddy
Feb 1, 2014 7:22 PM CST
I have heard that you can plant garlic around your roses and they will help repel gophers and moles. In addition, garlic around roses is suppose to help control fungus black spot and aphids on roses. Daffodils, marigolds and hot peppers also are suggested for gopher and mole repellent.
Name: Carol
East Texas
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken
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backacre
Feb 1, 2014 7:34 PM CST
Thanks, Dave. Interesting looking thing....don't think I have ever seen one like it before. I have ordered it and will hope it works as well for me. We have had problems with what I thought were moles before (tunnels) but never the root damage that I am seeing now. I had always thought moles did not eat roots but were after grubs in the soil. This vicious creature has eaten roots off nearly every dwarf nandina I have plus all of my porcupine grass and my Julia Child rose. It seems to have happened over night but I expect it has been going on this winter and I haven't noticed until now. Last spring I noticed a few of the above ground hills but they were away from my perennial bed on this property and then seemed to disappear. Unfortunately, it has probably found a bonanza this winter.

Lyn, in my desperation to do "something" I read about the pots. I have just bought 4 new roses and have plans for another in a new bed. I have surrounded the new roses with wire cages and if I could get some of these pots locally like early next week I would re-dig the roses and plant them in pots as in my experience the wire cages are a mess over time and haven't worked all that well. I have planted in tubs for annuals under trees to avoid some of the tree root problems and that has worked.

Thanks all, for suggestions. War is declared!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 1, 2014 7:52 PM CST
Carol ....

If you are planning a "bed", and if your landscape allows this, you can protect the bed by excavating the soil and lining it with what they call hardware cloth. You'll be protecting the whole bed. I've been told that is is quite effective and you don't have to fight the wire mess.

Right now, my neighbors gophers are exploring the front of my house and I, too bought a trap. Thanks, Dave.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Feb 1, 2014 7:52 PM CST
So far the Daffodils are working for me. We prune roses in late Jan. here and that gives the Daffs enough light to bloom so It's win win.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Feb 1, 2014 8:04 PM CST
I would be interested to hear how the traps work out for you guys when you test them. I'm all ears!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 1, 2014 9:03 PM CST
Are you sure it's not voles? Voles eat roots. I wonder if the trap would work for voles?
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Feb 1, 2014 9:14 PM CST

Plants Admin

I've tried every possible solution, and the only thing that's worked for me is to plant everything in gopher-proof cages. All of my roses are planted in 5-gallon cages. I used to buy them from the hardware store for about $5 apiece, but I later met a man who makes them for about $2.50 apiece.

Daffodils, garlic, "gopher spurge," and various other deterrents did not work in my garden. The gophers eat everything near the daffodils, garlic, and spurge, and if they're hungry enough, they'll even eat the daffodils, garlic, and spurge. I tried putting kitty litter, dead fish, castor oil, and broken glass in the tunnels and even buried a dead raccoon in one of the tunnels. Those "sure-fire" remedies didn't work in my garden either.

Lining a bed with hardware cloth doesn't work because gophers can travel overland. They simply walk over to the bed and burrow down into it. I thought I had the solution one year and built raised beds on top of concrete, assuming the gophers would never bother the roses and bulbs in those beds. It didn't work. The gophers climbed up into those beds, burrowed down, and ate all of the bulbs and roses.

I haven't used traps because they would be a full-time job around here. One of my neighbors doesn't want to pay for the cages and uses traps. He has dozens of traps, catches dozens of gophers regularly, and the rest still eat everything they like in his garden.

The cages are a big investment if you grow lots of roses and other plants that appeal to gophers (lilies, tulips, irises, daylilies, fig trees, etc.), but they cost less than the plants you'll lose if you don't use them.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Feb 2, 2014 8:44 AM CST
I agree with Zuzu. I have way too many roses and gophers to tend traps. Fortunately our gophers seem to prefer grass roots and rarely bother the roses - so far. Repellents don't work on them, baits are rejected. They are smarter than I am. I have tried piping truck exhaust into the tunnels and have had very limited success. The gophers are winning.
Porkpal
Name: Carol
East Texas
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken
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backacre
Feb 2, 2014 1:32 PM CST
Thanks everyone for your messages. Zuzu that was hilarious! You have obviously had lots of experience with gophers. We tried the exhaust thing, too, Porkpal, using our generator. They could be voles, Arlene, as some of the new azaleas have bark stripped on stems and leaf die back.

I have decided to re-dig the roses, put them in cages since that bed will be a dedicated rose garden and I won't be digging into the cages planting other things. Also, will use the new trap for the perennial bed and if we get one, for the pure pleasure of putting it out for good!

I have learned from all of your messages....so far have only grown Knockouts other than Julia (which I am afraid is a goner) and I didn't know a rose had no tap root. So, the cages I am building out of hardware cloth are "squat" like recommended (short & fat) so if that rodent gets in that bed and gets some of the roots that have outgrown the cages, maybe it won't kill the whole rose. Thanks again!
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Feb 2, 2014 3:08 PM CST

Plants Admin

I live in gopher central! Most of the nurseries around here sell something like this:
http://gopherbasket.com/wirebaskets.html
They have to be a heavier mesh, nothing thin like chicken wire, it doesn't last.
We have a local guy that makes them and I bought over 100 when I first moved here. They are rounded like the shape of the 1 gal., 5 gal., and 20 gal pots and he adds a top lip overhang so prevent the gophers from coming up next to the cage and over and inside. Although a few of mine sank once the compost amended soil settled so I had to dig the soil out around it a bit. I only plant my daylilies and roses in the 5 gal and all bulbs in the 1 gal. Where I didn't use a cage for the bulbs, they were eaten.
I still need to set traps too. Glare
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
Cottage Gardener Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Bee Lover Butterflies Birds
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Calif_Sue
Feb 2, 2014 3:17 PM CST

Plants Admin

I had my window open too long and see Zuzu already posted, Green Grin! I live 2 miles from her, she was my source of info for the cages.
My gardening Blog!
Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Feb 2, 2014 6:09 PM CST
So far, I only get about one gopher a year, so the trap may do it for me. They seem to be going after Mrs. J's irises. I don't mind that at all because I really don't like where she sited them. I'll just plant more daffys there.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Feb 2, 2014 6:10 PM CST
Sue, worked anyway because somehow I missed Zuzu's post! So now I have the link! Thanks.

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