That gopher that’s been living in your front yard for the last 2 years, now considers himself part of the family. Just like creepy Cousin Earle, that came to visit two Christmases ago and is now living in the basement, your gopher is entrenched and living rent free in your yard. So, what do you give your gopher this Christmas? The same thing that you give Cousin Earle. The boot!
Pocket gophers live solitary lives in underground tunnel systems (sound like Cousin Earle in the basement?), which they vigorously defend. They prefer loosely compacted or sandy soil for easy excavation. Their systems are typically made up of shallow feeding tunnels that run downward into deep nesting tunnel systems that can be several feet underneath the shallow systems. The average shallow tunnel depth is between 6-12 inches.
Gophers can heave up large amounts of soil in random mounding patterns, each forming a crescent shaped mound. (Mole mounds are conical in shape and form almost linear directions in their digging patterns.) Gophers will forage above ground very near the tunnel opening for food and nesting material, just like creepy Cousin Earle, who makes his way up the stairs from the basement to raid the fridge. They have been known to create up to 70 mounds a month destroying gardens and lawns alike.
Gophers do not go dormant or hibernate, but they will take prolonged rest periods when temperatures or humidity reach uncomfortable extremes, and will go to deep nesting runway systems and live off stored food caches. Sounds like Cousin Earle again.
The most frustrating thing about gophers (and Cousin Earle), besides their year-round, daytime and nocturnal activity, is their ability to thwart your most creative and diligent eviction tactics.
Gopher resistant plants, natural predators, smelly repellent concoctions, Juicy Fruit gum, noise makers and vibrators, gas and smoke bombs, water boarding (tunnel flooding) and poisons, can all be part of an eviction program. But the essential action you must take is consistent attention. No matter what method you decide upon, it is important to follow through, keep vigilant and act immediately when activity is observed.
When is it time to hire a professional exterminator? When your best efforts have failed, and all you want for Christmas is your beautiful yard and garden back!