Thwarting gophers

butterflymomok(7a NE OK)April 26, 2013

I have dealt with gophers more years than I care to remember. I've done the bombs, castor oil, castor oil based Molemax, poison grain, and planting in fiber glass window screening. They chewed right through the screening. Today I made the first hardware cage for my milkweed plants. I found quarter-inch hardware cloth at Lowe's. What I got was a 24 inch wide by 10 foot roll. Wear gloves when you work with this stuff, it can cut to the bone! I cut a 24 inch wide piece so I had a square. Then I folded it 3 times both ways so that I created nine 8 inch squares--like a tic-tac-toe board. I cut 8 inches in on one end on each of the folds. Then turned it around and did the same on the other end. So I had 2 parallel 8 inch long cuts on each end. I folded the center piece on each end in and folded the two ends across each other to form an 8 inch square open topped box. The sides are 8 inches high. This created a nice sized planting container. I had to dig out a square for the box to fit into, leaving just about a half inch above the soil level. I filled it with soil and moved one of my two remaining Asclepias variegata tubers into it. If the gopher gets through this, we are in trouble. I would think that if he even bites into it, it would draw blood. I can make 5 cages for about $12.00. I plan on caging all the perennial milkweed plants. I will let you know at the end of the season if the gopher or I win this round!

I'll try to get a photo posted.


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I have done the same thing with hardware cloth for making a planting box cover to prevent attack from above. The cutting does produce many sharp edges, filing these off can help when handling the material.

Hopefully the gophers will not nudge your wire boxes upwards.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Try this:
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half way c water.
Float some black sunflower seed on top, about an inch or so.
The little buggers will jump in after the seed and drown.
A safe, chem-free alternative to cutting gopher/chipmunk populations to manageable levels.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:14AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Leafhead, do you sink the 5 gallon bucket in the ground? My gophers live in tunnels and only rarely surface. They have an intricate network through the yard and garden. I also have moles, but no chipmunks.

Larry, will keep a look out for "rising" cages!

I left the sharp edges on the cages so if the gophers do surface and try to get to the plants, they will be snagged. Don't mean to offend any PETA people, but these dudes choose to eat the most expensive and rarest plants.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I have more of a chipmunk problem, esp c my potted plants. I just set the bucket on a level surface and their little noses do the rest. I don't know about gophers. Do they jump like ground squirrels? I guess you could bury your bucket for gophers and moles.
For potted plants and nosy squirrels/chips, a layer of egg rock on the soil surface seems to deter unwanted diggers. Egg rock is round river rock, which is pH neutral and difficult to get a grip on and lift.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:08PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Bless you all! I thought I was having a problem with slugs this year, but those gophers and chipmunks are unreal!

You've really gone to a lot of trouble to protect those milkweeds, Sandy - I sure hope the hardware cloth does the job! And the monarchs thank you!!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Hmmm...I wonder what is eating all my chipmunks. We had a lot last year but no major damage. I have only seen a few this year. Something must be eating them all. What eats gophers? Can you encourage them in your yard? Ha, I just saw a video of a great blue heron eating a gopher and one eating a chipmunk. How do you attract one of those? Now if they would just eat the groundhog that is eating my vegetables.....


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:45PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Sandy, do you have a pic of your contraption? And this may sound silly but what species is a gopher? Do they dig the roots of your plants or do they eat the plants?

We have "woodchucks" here which are also sometimes called ground hogs and gophers. I used to battle them in my veggie garden at the previous house. The thing that works best is having a dog. Next, a gun. But since I have neither of those, I use barriers - mostly fencing and caging on the plants that they like.

Last year i started using hardware cloth around the roots of the perennials that the voles like best - Echinacea, Phlox, Savlia Black & Blue, etc. That works well and so does the castor oil.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:14PM
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