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Gophers can wreak havoc in your yard and garden, causing extensive damage to your plants and lawn. If you’re dealing with a gopher infestation, it’s important to take action promptly to prevent further destruction. In this guide, we will provide you with effective strategies to get rid of gophers and keep your backyard gopher-free.

Understanding Gophers

What Are Gophers?

Gophers are burrowing rodents that primarily reside underground. They belong to the family Geomyidae and are known for their extensive tunneling systems. Gophers are herbivores and feed on the roots and bulbs of plants.

Identifying Gophers

Gophers come in different species, each with its unique characteristics. The most common species include:

Pocket Gopher

The pocket gopher, also known as Thomomys bottae, is a small mammal with fur-lined cheek pouches. They have short, stout bodies and powerful forelimbs, which they use for digging tunnels.

Botta’s Pocket Gopher

Botta’s pocket gopher, scientifically known as Thomomys bottae, is a larger species of gophers. They have a stockier build and are commonly found in the western United States.

Plains Pocket Gopher

The plains pocket gopher, scientifically referred to as Geomys bursarius, is a species that inhabits the central and eastern parts of North America. They have a more elongated body and a relatively smaller head compared to other gopher species.

Mazama Pocket Gopher

The Mazama pocket gopher, or Thomomys mazama, is a species found in the Pacific Northwest. They have a robust body and large front teeth.

Signs of a Gopher Infestation

It’s crucial to be able to identify the signs of a gopher infestation in your yard. Look out for the following signs:

  • Mounds of fresh soil scattered around the yard
  • Visible gopher tunnels
  • Damaged plants with missing roots or teeth marks
  • Wilting or dying plants
  • Gnaw marks on trees or wooden structures

Potential Damage Caused by Gophers

Gophers can cause significant damage to your yard and garden if left unchecked. They can destroy your plants by eating their roots and bulbs, resulting in their death. Gopher tunnels can also damage the roots of larger trees and undermine the stability of structures like fences and patios.

Preventing Gopher Infestations

Reducing Attractants

To prevent gopher infestations, make your yard less attractive to these rodents. Remove any food sources, such as fallen fruits or vegetables, and maintain clean gardening practices. Regularly remove debris and excess vegetation that can provide hiding spots for gophers.

Using Underground Fencing

Install sturdy underground fencing around vulnerable areas to deter gophers. Bury the fencing at least two feet deep and ensure it extends a few inches above the ground to prevent gophers from burrowing underneath.

Removing Gophers from Your Yard

Live-Trapping Gophers

Live-trapping can be an effective and humane method of removing gophers from your yard. Set up multiple traps near active burrows, using bait such as fresh vegetables or peanut butter. Check the traps daily and release the captured gophers far away from your property.

Using Gopher Repellents

Scented Repellents

Scented repellents can be used to deter gophers from your yard. Some commonly used scents include castor oil, garlic, and predator urine. Apply these repellents near gopher burrows or on plants to discourage them from entering your yard.

Sonic Repellents

Sonic repellents emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to gophers and can drive them away. These devices can be placed strategically around your yard to create an unappealing environment for gophers.

Controlling Gophers with Chemical Treatments

Gopher Baits

Gopher baits can effectively eliminate gopher populations. These baits contain toxic substances that are attractive to gophers. They should be placed carefully near burrow entrances to minimize the risk of accidental ingestion by non-target animals.

Gassing and Fumigation

Gassing and fumigation can be used as a last resort to eliminate persistent gopher infestations. This method involves injecting toxic gases into gopher tunnels, effectively poisoning the animals. However, it’s important to consult a professional to ensure safety and proper application.

Professional Pest Control for Gophers

If your gopher infestation persists despite your efforts, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control services. Pest control professionals have the expertise and tools to effectively remove gophers from your yard and prevent future infestations.

Maintaining a Gopher-Free Yard

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your yard for any signs of gopher activity. Look for new tunnels, mounds, or damaged plants. Early detection can help you address the issue before it escalates.

Monitoring for Re-infestation

Even after successfully removing gophers from your yard, it’s essential to monitor for any signs of re-infestation. Keep an eye out for fresh mounds or tunnels, and promptly take action if you notice any gopher activity.

Implementing Preventative Measures

To maintain a gopher-free yard, continue implementing preventive measures such as reducing attractants and using repellents. Regularly inspect and fortify your underground fencing to ensure its effectiveness.


Q: Are gophers harmful to humans?

A: Gophers are generally not harmful to humans. However, they can cause extensive damage to yards and gardens, leading to significant financial losses.

Q: How can I prevent gophers from entering my yard?

A: Prevent gopher infestations by reducing attractants in your yard, using underground fencing, and applying scented or sonic repellents.

Q: Can I use natural remedies to get rid of gophers?

A: Yes, natural remedies such as castor oil and garlic can be effective in deterring gophers. However, their effectiveness may vary, and professional pest control may be necessary for severe infestations.

Q: Is it safe to use chemical treatments for gophers?

A: Chemical treatments should be used with caution and strictly following the instructions. Ensure the safety of children, pets, and non-target animals while using these treatments. Consult a professional if unsure.

Q: How often should I inspect my yard for gophers?

A: It’s recommended to inspect your yard for gophers periodically, especially after implementing preventive measures or noticing previous gopher activity.

Q: What should I do if I can’t control the gopher infestation on my own?

A: If your efforts are unsuccessful, it’s best to seek professional pest control services. They have the expertise and tools to effectively eliminate gophers and prevent re-infestation.


Gophers can cause significant damage to your yard and garden, but by following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can rid your property of these troublesome rodents. Remember to regularly inspect and maintain your yard to prevent re-infestations. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to seek professional help in dealing with persistent gopher problems. With the right approach, you can ensure a gopher-free backyard and protect your landscaping investment.

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