Will pocket gophers eat seed Poppies (papaver somniferum)?

Asiya(Zone 9)April 27, 2012

I know that papaver somniferum is toxic to most insects, but I don't know if gophers will eat it. My city has a SEVERE pocket gopher infestation on the entire north side; There are probably 1000+ in my neighborhood.

I keep all my flowers in pots, but I would love to place them in my garden so they will get bigger with more blooms. I just don't want to plant seeds there only to have them eaten!

Anyone know if they are toxic to gophers? :)


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Anyone know if they are toxic to gophers? :)

One could only wish!!!!! I don't think anything is toxic to gophers,including the poison they sell for that reason.

Gophers,snails and slugs,3 of the things i hate in my gardens.Although snails and slugs i can control,but gophers,we have tried everything out there to get rid of them,nothing works!! Although some years are worse than others.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:39AM
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Propaganda Garden Design

Get a roll of chicken wire and some wire cutters and make little gopher baskets for all your plants (much cheaper doing it this way rather than buying the premade gopher baskets). It is kind of a pain but worth it to protect things that are either expensive or cherished. They aren't too difficult to make once you get the hang of it. Just like wrapping a present but with a material slightly more difficult to deal with than wrapping paper.

They may still nibble on roots that grow out of the wire but it protects the main stem from being yanked under ground and severed.

I had a gopher attack the other day. It destroyed an annual lupine that I didn't protect and then tunneled over to a large Nicotiana that had chicken wire protection. It tunneled right to the base of the plant and then stopped.

And poppies have fat juicy roots so I would imagine the gophers love them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:57AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

after years of experience fending off the @^* gophers, i no longer use chicken wire beneath my plants because it rusts away in a few years. hardware cloth is what i use now. yes it is very hard to work with but it seems to last forever.
when a plant suddenly declines because it's chicken wire has rusted out, IF it has survived the gopher attack, it means it has to be dug up and re-planted with new wire so why not use the tougher hardware cloth in the first place?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:02AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I just got a gopher hole right in the middle of the main part of my flagstone path a week before I am on the garden tour and after I just spent months leveling the flagstone. I am gophericidal right about now. He has already sprung two traps, so I will have to dig up all kinds of plants to get to his tunnel. If any plant poisoned gophers I would have it everywhere. They eat oleander, for crying out loud. I hate them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 4:22PM
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They love regular Ca poppies, eschscholzia californica, that is often how I tell where a new gopher is, when I see a wilted poppy.

My theory with some suceptible plants from seeds is to plant extra, so there is enough if they get attacked. When I see damage, I set a trap, the cinch traps work the best for me. When I see a mound, I am usually in the middle of another garden task, but I drop everything and set the traps, because the longer you wait, the harder to find the freshest mound.

I have planted many fruit trees and my most prized plants in the bought cages, but it is so much more digging and effort to get those cages in deep and I have read that some people say they stunt plants. I think you have to be very careful to make sure the cage is filled with soil, especially the corners and around the rootball, and underneath.

On my to do list is raised beds lined with hardware cloth for veggies.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:29AM
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Asiya(Zone 9)

Thanks for the replies! I do use the chicken wire method, only because there are no affordable galvanized wire sheets around here. Chicken wire is only a few cents, so I don't mind digging it up every year. I have to turn the soil anyway since it's poor. :)

@elvie: California poppies are much less toxic than papaver somniferum (opium poppies), which is why I asked. I wanted to weave them in with my other flowers and garlic to keep the buggers away.

There are hundreds of pocket gophers in my yard, you have to be careful where you step or you could break your neck falling into a hole! lol!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 3:53AM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

If you really have a gopher problem planting more will just bring more of them to your property. I grow just about everything I plan to eat in raised beds with hardware cloth bottoms.

The last year I planted in-ground I planted 200 garlic and not one survived. Also, planted two 4' wide, 12' long beds of potatoes that year and got 5 spuds the size of egg yolks for my trouble.

I have had 6' tall rhododendrons killed by gophers eating their roots. There were very clear teeth marks at the base of their trunks. Of course, all the fruit trees I planted my first year were eaten to death, too.

In Del Norte and Humboldt Counties there are gophers which are called "Boomers." They are more like prairie dogs--as large as a large breed newborn puppy (think rotweiler. ) You can't win that battle without a lot of wire.

And, yes, they do love opium poppies.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Asiya(Zone 9)

Thanks still kris. The have no touched my garlic, but my 'lawn' is basically a big brown field of dead grass. It's why I plant my veggies in wire baskets.

We have tried everything to get rid of the gophers. Poison, gas, cats, flooding, smashing with a shovel.

The main problem is that the earth on our property is hard as a ROCK. It's impossible to probe, even after it's soaked with water, so we don't know where to put traps. We need a pick just to soften the dirt enough to plant things. I have no idea how the gophers are getting through! :)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 8:09AM
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