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Gophers can be a major nuisance in gardens and yards, causing damage to plants and ruining the aesthetics of your outdoor space. But fear not, there are natural remedies that can help repel these pesky rodents. In this article, we will explore 10 scents that gophers hate and how to use them effectively. By incorporating these scents into your garden, you can create an unwelcome environment for gophers and protect your plants.

Understanding Gophers and Their Behavior

Gophers are small burrowing rodents that belong to the Geomyidae family. There are several types of gophers, including pocket gophers, which are the most common species found in North America. These creatures have adapted to living underground and are known for their extensive tunneling systems.

Types of Gophers

Pocket gophers are widely distributed across the United States and are recognized by their fur-lined, external cheek pouches, which they use to carry food and nesting material. Other species, such as Botta’s pocket gopher and the southern pocket gopher, are found in specific regions.

Eating Habits of Gophers

Gophers are herbivores and primarily feed on underground vegetation, including the roots of plants. They can consume up to their own body weight in a single day. Unfortunately, gardens and yards offer a plentiful food supply for gophers, making them a common nuisance for homeowners.

Why Gophers are a Problem for Your Garden

Gophers can cause significant damage to your garden. Their extensive burrowing can disrupt the root systems of plants, leading to wilting, stunted growth, and even death. They also eat the foliage of plants, further impacting the aesthetics and health of your garden. Additionally, gopher tunnels can create a tripping hazard while mowing or walking on your lawn.

10 Scents that Gophers Hate

Here are 10 scents that gophers hate:

1. Castor Oil

Gophers dislike the strong smell of castor oil. Mix one part castor oil with two parts water and spray it around your garden to create a protective barrier against gophers.

2. Coffee Grounds

Spread used coffee grounds around your garden to repel gophers. The smell is unappealing to them and can help deter them from digging in your yard.

3. Rosemary

Planting rosemary around your garden can deter gophers due to its strong fragrance. Consider placing rosemary plants near susceptible areas to keep the rodents at bay.

4. Peppermint Oil

The scent of peppermint oil is disliked by gophers. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them near gopher holes or in areas where you suspect gopher activity.

5. Lavender

Not only does lavender add beauty to your garden, but gophers also find its scent unpleasant. Plant lavender in gopher-prone areas to help repel them.

6. Pine

The smell of pine is known to deter gophers. Spread pine needles or use pine-scented products, such as oils or mulch, in your garden for effective gopher control.

7. Thyme

Thyme has a strong scent that gophers dislike. Plant thyme in areas where you want to prevent gopher activity, or use thyme oil as a repellent.

8. Geranium

The fragrance of geraniums is a natural gopher repellent. Plant geraniums in your garden or use geranium oil as part of your gopher control strategy.

9. Eucalyptus

Gophers are repelled by the smell of eucalyptus oil. Mix eucalyptus oil with water and spray it around your garden to create a deterrent effect.

10. Marigolds

Marigolds emit a smell that gophers dislike, making them an effective natural repellent. Plant marigolds in areas susceptible to gopher activity to keep them away.

How to Use These Scents to Repel Gophers

Planting Lavender Around the Garden

Choose gopher-prone areas in your garden and plant lavender shrubs or flowers. The strong scent will help deter gophers from invading those spaces.

Making a Coffee Grounds Spray

Collect used coffee grounds and steep them in hot water to create a concentrated coffee spray. Transfer the liquid to a spray bottle and apply it to the perimeter of your garden and around gopher holes.

Using Rosemary as a Natural Repellent

Plant rosemary near vegetables, flowers, or other plants that are commonly targeted by gophers. The strong fragrance of rosemary will keep these pests at bay.

Creating Peppermint Oil Sachets

Soak small cotton pouches in peppermint oil and place them near gopher holes or in areas where gopher activity has been observed. The scent will repel the rodents.

Growing Lavender Plants in Gopher-Prone Areas

Choose spots in your garden where gophers are often found and plant lavender. The scent will act as a deterrent and reduce the likelihood of gophers invading.

Utilizing Pine Needle Mulch

Spread a layer of pine needles around the base of your plants or garden beds. The potent fragrance of pine will discourage gophers from approaching.

Planting Thyme in Gopher-Infested Areas

Identify areas that have fallen victim to gopher damage and introduce thyme plants. The scent of thyme will help repel gophers and prevent further destruction.

Choosing Geraniums for Your Garden

Add geranium plants to your garden as their scent acts as a natural gopher deterrent. Plant them strategically to protect vulnerable areas.

Using Eucalyptus Oil in Gopher Control

Mix eucalyptus oil with water and spray it around your garden, paying special attention to areas where gophers have previously been active. The scent will discourage gophers from returning.

Planting Marigolds for Gopher Deterrence

Plant marigold flowers in pots or garden beds near plants that you want to protect from gophers. The scent emitted by marigolds will help keep gophers away.

Additional Methods to Keep Gophers Away

Installing Gopher Traps

If your garden is heavily infested with gophers, consider using gopher traps. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the traps correctly and relocate or eliminate captured gophers.

Using Gopher Baskets or Cages

For plants that are particularly vulnerable to gopher damage, such as small trees or shrubs, use gopher baskets or cages around the roots to protect them from gopher feeding.

Installing Physical Barriers in the Garden

Create a gopher-proof barrier by burying a metal mesh or hardware cloth fence at least 2 feet deep around the perimeter of your garden. This will prevent gophers from tunneling into your garden.

Seeking Professional Pest Control Services

If your gopher problem persists despite your efforts, consider hiring professional pest control services. These experts have effective methods to eliminate gophers and can provide long-term solutions for your garden.


Gophers can wreak havoc on gardens and yards, but with the right measures, you can gopher-proof your outdoor space. By using scents that gophers hate, such as castor oil, coffee grounds, rosemary, and others, you can create an environment that is unwelcome to these rodents. Additionally, employing other methods like planting gopher-deterring plants, setting traps, and using physical barriers will help keep gophers away from your garden. Implementing these strategies will enable you to protect your plants and maintain a beautiful and gopher-free outdoor space.


Q: Are these scents harmful to other animals or plants?

A: No, these scents are generally safe for other animals and plants. However, it is always advisable to test the scents in small areas first to ensure they do not have any adverse effects.

Q: How often should I reapply the scents?

A: Depending on the scent and environmental factors, you may need to reapply them every few weeks or after heavy rainfall. Monitor the effectiveness and reapply as needed.

Q: Can these scents completely eliminate gophers from my garden?

A: While these scents can be effective in deterring gophers, they may not completely eliminate them. It is important to combine scent repellents with other control methods for a more comprehensive approach.

Q: Will gophers eventually get used to these scents?

A: Gophers may eventually become habituated to certain scents, reducing their effectiveness. To maintain their efficacy, it is recommended to rotate scents periodically or combine them with other control methods.

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