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Do you have gopher tunnels ruining your yard or garden? Gophers are notorious for their extensive underground tunneling habits, which can cause damage to plants and lawns. If you’re looking for effective methods to collapse gopher tunnels and prevent further damage, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss different types of gopher tunnels, their impact on your yard, and explore methods to effectively collapse these tunnels. We’ll also compare the pros and cons of different methods and provide tips for preventing gopher damage. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Gopher Tunnels and Their Impact

Overview of Gopher Tunneling Habits

Gophers, specifically pocket gophers, are burrowing rodents that create elaborate tunnel systems underground. These tunnels serve as their homes and can extend for several yards. Gophers are solitary animals, and each gopher creates its own network of tunnels. They are active year-round and dig tunnels at various depths, depending on the availability of food and water sources. It’s important to understand the behavior and habits of gophers to effectively address the issue of gopher tunnels in your yard.

Identifying Different Types of Gopher Tunnels

Gopher tunnels can be categorized into two main types: surface tunnels and deeper tunnels. Surface tunnels are shallow and can be easily identified by the tell-tale mounds of dirt that are pushed up as gophers excavate their tunnels. These tunnels are usually created to search for food sources close to the surface. Deeper tunnels, on the other hand, are located further underground and serve as the main thoroughfares for gophers to move around their territory. Identifying the different types of tunnels can help you determine the extent of the gopher infestation and choose the appropriate method to collapse their tunnels.

How Gopher Tunnels Affect Plants and Lawns

Gopher tunnels can have a detrimental impact on your plants and lawns. As gophers burrow through the soil, they uproot plants, cause soil erosion, and damage root systems. This can result in wilted, yellowed, or dead plants. Additionally, gophers love to feed on the roots of plants, further inhibiting their growth and survival. If left unaddressed, gopher tunnels can wreak havoc on your yard, making it essential to take action and collapse these tunnels effectively.

Methods to Collapse Gopher Tunnels

Flooding the Tunnels

One method to collapse gopher tunnels is by flooding them. This involves saturating the tunnels with water to compel the gophers to evacuate and abandon their burrows. To flood the tunnels, locate the mound of dirt created by the gophers and dig a small hole to access the tunnel. Insert a garden hose into the hole and turn on the water, allowing it to flow into the tunnels for at least 30 minutes. The water should flood the tunnels, forcing the gophers to vacate. However, it’s important to note that this method may not be suitable for areas with high water tables or if there are underground structures that may be affected by excess water.

Using Gopher Bombs

Another method to collapse gopher tunnels is by using gopher bombs. Gopher bombs are commercially available smoke bombs that release toxic gases when ignited. To use a gopher bomb, locate the main entrance of the gopher tunnel and gently insert the smoke bomb as far as possible. Ignite the bomb according to the manufacturer’s instructions and quickly cover the hole to prevent the gas from escaping. The toxic gases released by the bomb will fill the tunnel system, eliminating the gophers and collapsing the tunnels. However, it’s important to use gopher bombs with caution, following safety instructions and considering potential environmental impacts.

Comparing Gopher Tunnel Collapse Methods

Effectiveness and Pros/Cons of Flooding

Flooding the gopher tunnels can be an effective method to collapse the tunnels and drive the gophers away. Pros of this method include the ease of implementation and the low cost involved. However, it may not be suitable for all locations, especially those with high water tables or where underground structures may be affected. Additionally, flooding may not eliminate all the gophers in one go, requiring repeated applications.

Effectiveness and Pros/Cons of Gopher Bombs

Using gopher bombs can also be an effective method to collapse gopher tunnels. The advantage of gopher bombs is that they can reach deeper tunnels that may be inaccessible with flooding. However, there are potential risks involved, such as the release of toxic gases and the need for careful application to prevent harm to the user or the environment. It’s important to follow safety guidelines and consider alternative methods if environmental concerns are a priority.

Preventing Gopher Damage to Lawns

Effective Measures for Preventing Gopher Damage

While collapsing gopher tunnels is important, preventing gopher damage to your lawn is equally crucial. Here are some effective measures you can take:

1. Install gopher-proof barriers: Use hardware cloth or wire mesh to create barriers around vulnerable areas, such as gardens or flower beds.
2. Remove attractants: Clear away debris, fallen fruit, and piles of rocks or wood that can attract gophers.
3. Use sonic devices: Install sonic repellents that emit sound waves to deter gophers from entering your yard.
4. Plant gopher-resistant plants: Choose plants that are known to be less appealing to gophers, such as lavender, rosemary, or daffodils.
5. Regularly monitor and maintain your yard: Keep an eye out for newly formed tunnels and take swift action to collapse them before they become extensive.

Impact of Preventative Measures on Gopher Behavior

Implementing preventative measures can significantly reduce gopher damage and discourage gophers from taking up residence in your yard. By creating barriers and removing attractants, you make your yard less appealing to gophers. Additionally, the use of sonic devices and choosing gopher-resistant plants can further deter gophers from tunneling in your lawn. Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to catch and collapse tunnels early, preventing extensive damage.

Comparison to Other Rodent Control Methods

Beyond collapsing gopher tunnels, there are several other rodent control methods available. These can include live trapping, using repellents, or employing the services of professional pest control companies. The choice of method depends on various factors such as the severity of the infestation, personal preferences, and environmental considerations. Research and consult with experts to determine the most suitable rodent control method for your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gophers

Can Gophers Cause Damage to Pipes and Other Underground Structures?

No, gophers do not usually cause damage to pipes and other underground structures. They primarily focus on foraging for food and creating their burrows in open spaces such as lawns and gardens. However, their tunneling activities can indirectly impact underground structures by destabilizing the soil.

How Deep Do Gophers Tunnel?

Gophers can tunnel at various depths depending on factors such as soil conditions and food availability. Generally, gopher tunnels can range from shallow tunnels just below the surface to deeper tunnels several feet underground.

How Long Do Gophers Live?

The lifespan of gophers can vary depending on the species and environmental factors. On average, gophers live for around 1 to 3 years in the wild. However, some species have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity.


Gopher tunnels can wreak havoc on your yard and plants, but there are effective methods to collapse these tunnels and prevent further damage. Flooding the tunnels with water or using gopher bombs can be viable options, although each method has its own pros and cons. Additionally, implementing preventative measures and regularly maintaining your yard can help deter gophers and minimize damage. Remember to consider environmental impacts and choose the most suitable rodent control method for your specific situation. By taking action, you can reclaim your yard from gopher tunnels and enjoy a thriving, gopher-free outdoor space.

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