Other controls & follow-up

Pocket gophers

Pocket gophers easily can withstand normal garden or home landscape irrigation, but you sometimes can use flooding to force them from their burrows, which will enable you to use a shovel or a dog to destroy the rodent.

Gas explosive devices also are available and are somewhat effective at controlling gopher populations. These devices ignite a mixture of propane and oxygen in the burrow system. This concussive force kills the gopher and destroys the burrow system. Be sure to exercise caution when using these devices because of the potential for unintended damage to property, injury to users and bystanders, potential for starting fires in dry environments, and destruction of turf. Additionally, these devices can by quite loud, making them unsuitable in residential areas.

No repellents currently are available for successfully protecting gardens or other plantings from pocket gophers. Plants such as gopher purge (Euphorbia lathyrus), castor bean (Ricinus communis), and garlic have been suggested as repellents, but research has not substantiated these claims.

Although many devices designed to frighten pocket gophers are commercially available—including vibrating stakes, ultrasonic devices, and wind-powered pinwheels—these rodents don’t frighten easily, probably because of their repeated exposure to noise and vibrations from sprinklers, lawnmowers, vehicles, and people moving about. Another ineffective control method is placing chewing gum or laxatives in burrows in hopes of killing gophers.


Once you have controlled pocket gophers, monitor the area on a regular basis for reinfestation. Level all existing mounds after the control program, and clean away weeds and garden debris, so you easily can see fresh mounds.

It is important to check regularly for reinfestation, because pocket gophers can move in from other areas, and damage can reoccur in a short time. If your property borders wildlands, vacant lots, or other areas that serve as a source of gophers, you can expect gophers to reinvade regularly.

Be prepared to take immediate control action when they do. It is easier, cheaper, and less time consuming to control one or two gophers than to wait until the population builds up to the point where they cause excessive damage.

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