gopher cages

tressa(SECA)October 24, 2006

Do you need to protect your plants from gophers? I have always planted using chicken wire. Just recently a gopher did severe damage to my apple tree. I dug it up this weekend (hardly any roots left)to replant it and found that the chicken wire was rusted and torn......

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youreit

I definitely need to protect my plants' roots from gophers. Many folks have mentioned using something called hardware cloth. It's a lot more durable than chicken wire, and as such, I've personally found it a little difficult to work with. I'd probably have an easier time if I used some elbow-length, heavy-duty leather gloves. :)

I've been searching high and low for pre-made root cages, but I guess they don't make such things. I would love to see something like this on the market, with different sizes (gallon up to 5 gallon or so). I even tried to talk hubby into starting up such a business! But we'll have to wait for that.

In the meantime, I'm experimenting this year by using plastic pond baskets as root cages (medium and large sizes). I've been buying them in 10s online, and it's even cheaper than buying them local. They're pretty durable, but we'll see how they stand up to my ever-hungry gophers.

Brenda

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 9:30AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Commercially made and for sale at retail garden centers are gopher cages in 2 or 3 sizes. Unfortunately they are also made out of chicken wire with the guage of the wire being too small for a long life in the soil. Considering that the roots of an apple tree will extend out beyond the drip line of the tree, I would not expect to protect the roots with a basket of any kind of wire. I know it is not easy but the solution is to kill the gophers on a regular frequency as they will continually repopulate your garden. Al

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 9:53AM
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tressa(SECA)

Brenda. Yes, hardware cloth is really hard to work with and really too dense to use with something that is going to develop large roots. Calistoga....I used the gopher cages on a couple of pine trees and I think they were the reason for the tree's demise....the heavy-duty top appeared to gurdle the trunk.

My gopher problem is a never-ending battle. We are on property that is surrounded by undeveloped land. I have used traps, sulpher bombs, poison....they are out of control!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 12:39PM
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youreit

Our property is situated in the same sort of area. No matter how many I kill, more just move in. We've tried everything you listed, as well, including castor beans and oil with any number of combinations of hot sauce, moth balls, flooding then thumping, etc., etc.

Those chicken wire cages sound like they wouldn't do too much to protect the roots. Too bad they don't have pre-made hardware cloth cages for use with regular-sized plants. :(

The only thing I've read that might help for us would be to dig barriers down into the perimeter of the property. I'm not sure how deep gophers actually go, but I suppose deeper would be better. Once you kill all of the gophers inside, you should be ok. Famous last words. :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 9:14AM
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lilydude

For those who like excitement, Google "rodenator". Rodent huggers need not apply.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 3:43PM
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tressa(SECA)

I looked at the site, lilydude....too bad it cost $1,800!!!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:35PM
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youreit

I must now edit my Christmas list. :D

Not a rodent hugger,
Brenda

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 8:52AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

i think gophers will come up and go over an inground barrier unless you have a solid wall along the top of it. for years we have tried everything to get rid of them too but we are always seriously outnumbered. min

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 10:46PM
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davisgard

My backyard also backs up to a field full of gophers. I did put in an underground fence along the back fence. I dug about a 3 foot trench and put in two layers of hardware cloth. The fence line is about 80 feet, and it was A LOT of work--but I think it has helped considerably. I know the gophers can go deeper, the hardware cloth will eventually rust out, and the fence isn't perfect (there may be some gaps or holes a determined gopher can get through). But I still think it was worth it. One or two gophers have made it through (they may come through my neighbors' yards on the side), but I have been able to trap them.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 10:58PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

The galvanized hardware cloth that is used on the bottom of my veggie planter boxes works fine. I have never planted a tree in a cage however.

My thinking is that the roots may encircle the root ball when they come in contact with the wire - not being able to go through the wire easily.

For some reason, - or perhaps I am not aware of it - the gophers have not killed any trees - just my poor lawn so far, especially since putting the protection on the bottom of the boxes.

I used mothballs (before I became a devout organic one), by tying a few mothballs in panty hose, attaching to the hose so that water dripped into the burrow through the mothballs. It seemed to chase them back into the vacant lot - until the run aired out, then they came back. At one point, I killed one, and dropped it down the burrow and covered it well. That seemed to work to - for awhile.

I've heard of attaching a hose to the exhaust of a car, and putting it down the burrow, but with the price of gas -----.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:49AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

The galvanized hardware cloth that is used on the bottom of my veggie planter boxes works fine. I have never planted a tree in a cage however.

My thinking is that the roots may encircle the root ball when they come in contact with the wire - not being able to go through the wire easily.

For some reason, - or perhaps I am not aware of it - the gophers have not killed any trees - just my poor lawn so far, especially since putting the protection on the bottom of the boxes.

I used mothballs (before I became a devout organic one), by tying a few mothballs in panty hose, attaching to the hose so that water dripped into the burrow through the mothballs. It seemed to chase them back into the vacant lot - until the run aired out, then they came back. At one point, I killed one, and dropped it down the burrow and covered it well. That seemed to work to - for awhile.

I've heard of attaching a hose to the exhaust of a car, and putting it down the burrow, but with the price of gas -----.

Just my 2 c's.

Bejay

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 11:03AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Sorry about the double post - t'was my computer's fault - honest.

B.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 11:06AM
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tressa(SECA)

bejay9....uh huh...LOL

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:33PM
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bayrose

I do not have a problem with gophers yet, thank god. But a friend does and he uses broken glass to keep them off his plants. He brakes the bottels and then puts the glass in the bottom of the planting hole adds a bit of dirt puts the plant in and then adds a bit more glass to the side of the planting hole. He says it works.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:41PM
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tressa(SECA)

Wow, bayrose, that's an interesting concept.....I wish it didn't make me happy to think about them cutting their little noses!!!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 5:48PM
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dandevries

I just found this site, and maybe this information is posted elsewhere, but I went on to find a commercial supplier of gopher baskets in various sizes. Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply at http://www.groworganic.com/default.html

Gophers keep getting my cabbages, and baskets seem like a possible solution.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:01PM
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slave2thefur

I saw an interesting product at Loews - blood meal, with 10% bone meal and 10% chili powder. I'm going to mix some up and see if it drives them away, altho the tunnels have my cat facinated. =^,,^=

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 11:35AM
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youreit

I hate to say anything and jinx it...but it looks like the pond baskets are doing their job at keeping the gophers away. I haven't seen any new holes or mounds or any sign of activity. I can't count how many of the baskets I've used, so they probably got tired of fighting their way through the maze of them.

I can't even remember where I've been buying them, but as much as I love the pre-made cages, the plastic pond baskets are a lot cheaper. :)

Brenda

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 8:22AM
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poodlepup

Hi. I think I can add some knowledge.
I spent over $450.00 on hardware cloth.
I did put on my leather gloves.
I made huge gopher trenches 3' wide and 2-1/2' deep.
The gopher "baskets" are also 3' wide and 2-1/2' deep.
They are open at the top, and go 3" above the ground.
These are for perimeter flower/rose beds.
I planted the beds in the Fall, and have not had ANY gopher problems. The huge baskets wrap the lawn. -Not one gopher hole even in the lawn.
Our entire neighborhood is ravaged on an ongoing basis. My yard is doing great.
-About individual plant baskets- They are HELL!. It's cheaper, but forget ever trying to transplant anything that you put in a basket. The individual baskets make it a bloodbath (your blood) to culitvate or and amendments to, or otherwise dig in the soil. Trees, would be ok, I think. But if you are doing beds, just bite the bullet and make the huge wire baskets.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 4:46PM
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diggers_gopher_wire

We are the manufacturer of gopher baskets and bulk gopher wire and we now are selling on the internet @ www.gopherbasket.com

About Us
The baskets are made from specially selected gopher wire. Gopher wire is a hexagonal wire mesh that measures 3/4" across the flats of the hexagon. The steel wire strand is 20 gauge and galvanized after weaving for ideal strength and corrosion resistance. These specifications were chosen to prevent gophers from passing through it or chewing through it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Digger's

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 5:34PM
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rogerv_gw

Well, I think that the rodenator is a little more than I want to do in my back and front yard, but sounds like fun.

I use a tool that is essentially a hollow, pointed rod that you push into the ground around gopher mounds until you find their run (you can feel the rod go into the run with little resistance). Then there's a resevoir that has gopher bait/poison in it near the handle, and you just discharge some gopher bait into the run. The bait doesn't smell like your hands, which is an advantage. And there's no bait on the surface, only underground.

Anyways, I've been using this for years, and it always works to help me save my plants. It may take more than one try to get a particularly stubborn gopher (or family), but it has worked for me consistantly. I've seen these at nurseries along with the appropriate bait, so I know that this is still available.

-Roger

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 8:13PM
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caflowerluver

After the chicken wire rusted out on our raised beds we replaced it with hardware cloth on one. Then we found stainless steel wire on the internet. We lined the rest with that because we are getting too old to be digging them up and relining them every 10 years. It is expensive but it will last a lot longer.

But the only way to keep them under control is to use gopher traps and kill them. We live way up in the foothills and have lots of wild land around us and they just keep coming. Plus none of our neighbors do anything about them. We have been traping them for 20 years after losing everything the first 2 years.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:54PM
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caflowerluver

It is stainless steel hardware cloth. And use "gopher wire" for baskets for trees because it is not welded and the roots can push it apart. And it is 3/4" holes, in between the 1/2" hardware cloth and 1" chicken wire.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 1:06PM
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peterbb(z10 SanDiego CA)

First, I'd be skeptical about plastic pond baskets, at least without seeing them. Some friends used a plastic chicken-wire like mesh on their raised beds and the gophers just chewed right through it.

It's not hard to make a cylinder of hardware cloth in whatever diameter you need. You could probably leave the bottom open if you dug it three feet down, especially if you were worried about the roots.

But it would be pretty easy just to flatten the bottom of a cylinder into a flat seem.

I wouldn't worry too much about the roots. They should grow through and around the mesh.

You definitely want to let it stick up out of the ground about 4 inches. Gophers will come above ground, especially at night. I had one get inside the cage of a dwarf mandarin this way.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:05PM
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debbysunshine(san diego)

Better first get rid of the gophers and maybe their families. Did that years ago and haven't been bothered again. I have the Coast soap out everywhere on broken pots which something with big teeth is moving and eating but for the first time in 23 years moving into this house nothing in my garden has been disturbed except from a large bird or whatever and that just a small branch. Used to use Irish Spring but was told Coast was better. Big Lots has a large multiple bar package for a few dollars..

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:56PM
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slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

We used a combo of poison (as Roger described) and trapping. I read that if a gopher eats enough poison to get sick but not die, they'll be bait-shy afterward. Anyway, I was able to trap a couple stragglers with the Gophinator traps which I like better than the McAbee. They seem a bit heavier-duty, don't rust and they're made in the USA. Easy to set, too.

I think keeping our garden gopher-free will be an ongoing effort. We let it go too long (our "live and let live" philosophy) and it was a huge mistake. I'm sure we have quite a tunnel system going, just waiting for new occupants.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:33PM
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