How To Keep Gophers From Killing Your Garden Plants

Gophers might be cute, but they can be pretty destructive. They burrow beneath the ground, eating the roots of your plants and causing them to die off. Thankfully, there are several ways to protect your garden from these pests.

Install a gopher fence.

A gopher fence is a fence that extends below ground. When the gopher is tunneling, it runs into the fence and is not able to go any further. As long as your garden is not overly huge, you should be able to put in a gopher fence yourself.  Dig a trench at least 2 feet deep (3 feet is even better) around the perimeter of your garden. Then, purchase a big roll of wire mesh fencing that is a foot taller than your hole is deep. (If your hole is 2 feet deep, for example, you need 3 foot fencing.) Pound metal posts into the trench every 4 – 6 feet. Then, unroll the mesh fencing, attaching it to the fence posts with wires or metal ties. Fill the hole in so that most of the fence is below ground. Admire your work.

Does this project sound too overwhelming to you? Consider hiring a fence company to install a gopher fence for you.

Plant gopher spurge around the edge of the garden.

A plant known as gopher spurge is very unappealing to gophers. Planting this plant around the edges of your garden will help keep gophers away. They will smell the roots of the gopher spurge and won't want to burrow any further past them. The easiest way to plant gopher spurge is to buy already-started plants from your local garden center and transplant them.  Sometimes these plants are sold as "euphorbia lathyris." Space them about a foot apart so that once they are established, their roots form a continuous barrier around your garden.

Note that planting gopher spurge is not an instant fix for you gopher problem. It will take a few weeks for the plants to establish their roots and become large enough that they keep gophers away.  To enhance the effects of gopher spurge, you can try also planting other plants that are unappealing to gophers. These include marigolds, castor beans, and daffodils.

If you are able to construct a gopher fence or surround your garden with gopher spurge, the pesky rodents should leave your plants alone. You'll have healthier, happier plants, and they'll go feed elsewhere. For additional reading, check out the rest of this blog.