Monday, April 25, 2011

How to get rid of gophers, in theory

We started a garden (officially in actual dirt, not in pots) and it's already annihilated by slugs and gophers. I can handle the slugs--I got organic bait for them (it keeps them from eating for three or four days--then they die--gnarly!). The gophers are tough though. I've been reading all available organic solutions for them. I don't want to set out poison in the middle of my vegetable garden, after all. But currently, it doesn't look like it's going to be much of a vegetable garden, thanks to you, gophers. So here are some of the suggestions:

Place fish heads in their entrance-ways. Like most creatures on God's green earth, gophers don't like fish heads in their burrows.

Here's Barnes and Barnes' 1979 cult hit, "Fish Heads," for inspiration. (Song starts at 2:19)

Or you can rent a "gopher vac," which will suck them out of the ground for a one-way ticket out of your yard. Gophers are not harmed by the vacuum but moved to another location, far far away. Perhaps their minds will be affected, but who cares? I couldn't find a video of a gopher vac, but here's a prairie dog vac in action--same thing.

Or you can build a cool-looking owl house to attract some predator birds. At night, they're supposed to eat your gophers, post-haste. There's some debate about whether an owl will feed in its nesting area, so you're encouraged to ask your neighbors to place an owl house in their yard, if you do the same. Great--interacting with neighbors over gophers and their predators. I guess it's better than just being on Facebook all the time.

Castor oil and camphor oil pellets are supposed to keep gophers away. Spread it around the plants and the smell disturbs them enough so they move out. Or so they say...

This answer comes from the Berkeley Parents Network--a bastion of organic solutions to life's pestering problems:

Shake Away. We used the one for rodents like voles, moles, mice and rats. It contains garlic oil. They have another product for Small Critters like gophers and a number of other animals that contains fox urine; we did not use that product. They charge $15.95 for each of their cans.

We also used garlic tablets from another company called They also sell castor oil which apparently repels moles and gophers and is the most cost effective product. They also have Shake Away for $19.95.

We used the garlic oil from shake a way once and the garlic tablets from once. The next day the gopher disappeared; we have only had gophers twice in the last year. One gopher can make many tunnels and they are solitary animals. You probably have only 1 gopher.

Gopher traps are another option. Let me know if you want info on that; we did not need to try the traps.

Thanks, Judy. When I need advice, I turn to the inhabitants of Berkeley. They read up on things and they're here to help.

So, sorry to be so gopher-obsessed today, but they're obnoxious. And hungry. And they've taken my sunflower seeds, dammit.


Cate from Shake-Away said...

Shake-Away is a certified organic animal repellent that relies on predator scent to deter pest animals from damaging your yard and garden. Our product is non-toxic and easy to apply and doesn't harm the animal you are trying to deter. Shake-Away has a full line of organic animal repellents to protect your valuable plantings from deer, rabbits, squirrels, cats, and small critters. You can learn more about your products at Thank you!

Soup and Song said...

Yay for your garden! Boo for gophers! We've had a hell of a time with squirrels at our place but thankfully so far, no gophers. Keep the updates coming, and good luck! Kick some gopher butt!

Miss Lisa said...

I got some ammonia pellets and I'm going to report back from the gopher trenches of my tiny garden. Last night I dreamed I flushed him out with the hose and forced him to scuttle down the street, suitcases packed. Well, there were no suitcases, but he ran away in that manner.

Anonymous said...

I've been using gophinator traps. Just followed the youtube video and got one within 2 days. They're a LOT bigger than I expected.