Gophers are well-known and certainly unwelcome pests in landscapes, gardens, lawns, and athletic turf. More correctly called pocket gophers, these rodents mostly remain hidden underground in tunnels and feed on plants from below, sometimes pulling whole plants into their tunnels. They prefer herbaceous plants but will eat a wide range of vegetation.
Characteristic crescent shaped mound of a pocket gopher. (UC IPM, Jack Kelly Clark)
A single gopher can destroy a landscape quickly, so control measures need to begin as soon as the gopher is detected. Mounds of fresh soil are usually the first indication of their presence. Effective integrated management of pocket gophers relies largely on exclusion measures and trapping, although poison baits are also available.
Read more about gophers, their behavior, and management in UC IPM's newly updated Pest Notes: Pocket Gophers, by Dr. Roger Baldwin, University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist in Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution.
What's new in this version? Find updates about current restrictions on fumigant and rodenticide use, optimal trapping techniques, and new carbon monoxide exhaust machines.
Adult pocket gopher peeking out a burrow entrance. (T. Chalmers)