DIY Gopher Removal
Your lawn might be your sense of pride and or its upkeep can be a painstaking venture for you. Whether you are proud or content with your lawn, you are unlikely to actively appreciate certain vermin invaders coming in and ripping it up with a bunch of holes and mounds. If you keep your lawn pristine, almost like a golf course, a "Caddy Shack" style pest ripping it up is the last thing you want to look out your window and see.
More accurately, you are unlikely to visually see the gopher that is doing the damage as they prefer to stay underground. While that's the case, gophers can do significant damage to your property while staying entirely subterranean. Gopher tunnels don't just run under lawns, they also get under porches, walkways, and driveways, compromising the integrity of the ground they burrow through. The weakening of the ground can cause your structures or walkways to collapse inward with insufficient soil underneath to uphold it. If close enough to the surface, they can cause the ground to swell up and crack or offset the asphalt.
On top of that, gophers eat the roots of trees and plants, so they may be killing off vegetation in your area quicker than you realize. This is enough of frustration to make you want to rid your yard of these pests. Contacting wildlife personnel might be a safer move, but they can be costly. They may charge you for offering advice about how to handle the situation rather than pursuing action.
Gassing and traps are some of the solutions, but those are likely better done by professionals. Plus, those are lethal and dangerous to your pets and kids. Luckily, there are multiple natural or easy DIY methods by which you can repel gophers and drive them off your property. Most of these are nonlethal, though, in fairness, not all guarantee permanent departing. Let's take a look at some methods you can leverage to rid your property of gophers.
Flooding Gopher Holes
This method is not intended to be lethal, but it can be. Gophers caught unaware can drown if you pump water from a hose into their holes. The intention is to flood tunnels to drive the gophers out, but that may not be the ultimate effect. You will also dump a lot of water into your soil, potentially overwatering the ground under your grass, and killing it more than the gophers could. It's an easy solution, but probably not a great one. The water will also seep into the soil, and the tunnels will be usable again.
Gopher Mesh Fencing/Baskets
Using chicken wire, or more effectively, galvanized gopher mesh around your property's perimeter could keep most gophers out. You do have to dig about a 3/4 inch deep ditch to install it. If you pursue this method, you will want to install it around decking areas and under grass lawns. Mesh baskets can also be placed around particular plants or even raise gardens. This is a lot of work and isn't going to stop gophers from eating roots in your plants, but it will make it almost impossible for them to dig up your yard.
Living underground, gophers have a keen sense of hearing. Therefore they are not fans of loud noises. If you have an old radio, you can wrap it in plastic and place it near one of the tunnel holes or entrances. Please don't play it loud enough to bother your neighbors, but loud enough to freak out the gophers, and send them tunneling elsewhere.
Ultrasonic Gopher Repellents
You can pick battery or solar-powered ultrasonic frequency emitters up at many hardware stores. They are handy for this type of treatment. As with loud noises, gophers are very sensitive to ultrasonic vibrations and likely will evacuate the area. There is no guarantee they won't come back, though.
One of the most effective ways to get rid of gophers is by engaging in a little scent warfare. Gophers are blessed (or cursed) with a keen sense of smell. Particular scents are intolerable to gophers and you can use these to get them to leave your property.
We might think they help our laundry smell delightful, but gophers cannot stand the smell of fabric softeners. Place some fabric softener in gopher holes and chances are the gophers will be heading far away from that smell.
Another smell gophers are not fond of is peppermint oil. Dripping some of it on cotton balls and placing it at the entrance will get gophers moving on to another place to escape the scent.
This is one of the best methods to repel gophers from your yard. You can purchase castor oil or make a concoction of the oil with dish soap, then stir about five tablespoons of that with water, and pour it down the gopher holes. After a few days, do the same thing a little further down and continue this action until you are off your property, and so are the gophers.
Some people consider planting castor beans. These will also work to drive them out, but they are poisonous, so if you have pets or children, stick to mixing the castor oil solution.
Your local garden store will sell these. They are safe for lawns and can be placed into the ground around your property, driving gophers crazy with disgust, causing them to evacuate.
One strategic solution that does not require chemical warfare is to plant flowers that gophers can't stand strategically around your property. Crown imperial, Narcissus, rosemary, salvia, and lavender planted around your property or gardens will keep gophers from burrowing under your property. They hate the smell, so they will certainly not be interested in eating the roots of those plants. Planting marigolds in your garden will help keep gophers away and other pests that do not care for the smell.
Use Artificial Grass
If you eliminate the food source, gophers have no desire to show up. With no food, gophers will venture elsewhere for a meal.
If you want to try your hand at scaring the gophers away, you can build owl boxes. This could turn into a lethal method of gopher removal as attracting owls will likely cause the natural predator and prey relationship to occur. Still, at the very least, the owl's presence on the property is likely to send the gophers somewhere else.
You can also consider using plastic owls. But make sure you don't keep them in just one spot, or the gophers will quickly assess them as non-threatening presences.
Once the gophers leave, there is a chance another batch will show up to take their place. This is less likely with some of the methods above, but you will want to fill the holes they made, blocking their tunnel entrances and exits.