Tending to your own vegetable garden can be a very rewarding hobby, but keeping pests away from your prized produce is a constant concern. Gophers are a notorious enemy of any keen vegetable garden, and one or two of these burrowing pests can decimate the most carefully cultivated vegetable garden.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can keep hungry gophers away from your prized vegetables, without resorting to painful, inhumane methods such as gassing, poisoning, or drowning. If you want to keep gophers away from your vegetables and also keep your conscience clean, the following methods can all be highly effective:
As prey animals, gophers are easily startled by loud noises and/or vibrations and will steer clear of your vegetable garden if you plant noisemakers around its perimeter. Many wildlife removal services offer ultrasonic noisemakers, which create high-pitched noises. These noises are too high for human ears to hear but will irritate a gopher's sensitive hearing and force it to steer clear.
These noisemakers are planted in the ground, so the sounds they make will carry through the soil and into gopher tunnels and burrows. Bear in mind that cats and dogs are also sensitive to ultrasonic noise, so this solution may not be suitable for pet owners.
A cheaper, pet-friendly solution is to plant decorative pinwheels in the soil around your vegetable garden. As they spin, these pinwheels create vibrations that can fool gophers into thinking there are predators nearby. However, gophers are adaptable and may learn that the pinwheels represent no threat to them after a few weeks.
Non-lethal chemical deterrents are another humane way to keep gophers away from your vegetables, and a wide variety of different deterrents are available. Standard mothballs are effective, as are peppermint oil and garlic oil. If you are a pet owner, cat and dog feces are particularly effective and can also help fertilize the soil in your vegetable garden when used sparingly.
For a more tailored solution, you can also purchase crystalized fox urine from many wildlife removal specialists. Foxes are a major predator of gophers, and the smell of their urine will convince most gophers to stay away. If you do choose smell-based deterrents, bear in mind that they lose effectiveness quickly and need to be replenished at least once a month.
If gophers are doing a number on your vegetables and you need a long-term solution that is still humane, call in a wildlife removal service that offers humane trapping services. These services do not use conventional foothold or snare traps, which can cause a slow, painful death.
Instead, humane trapping services use cages buried in tunnels and burrows to catch gophers alive. The live gophers are then transported to an offsite facility, where they are painlessly euthanized with carbon monoxide or other fast-killing gases that don't cause respiratory distress. While this method is more expensive, it is also much more long-lasting.
Contact a wildlife removal service near you to learn more.