chicken wire to prevent gopher for school garden

gracechenDecember 11, 2007

I'm helping a local elementary school to build a butterfly and herb garden. (20ft x50ft)

The garden will be devided into 5 sections using bender board, each section has herbs and butterfly plants.

School teacher suggested to rototill the ground, mix with bags of new soil then lay out chicken wire for entire garden area 20ft x 50ft to prevent gopher.

I'm not sure how difficult to layout chicken wire ? or is there any other easy way to do it ? we will have some teenager boys come to help.



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Use landscaping pins to hold it down. But that won't stop them completely as they will just dig nearby and tunnel underneath.
I have had ground squirrels dig up the landscaping pins along a fence to get in underneath the chicken wire.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 4:16PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

What about doing raised beds with the hardware cloth laid on the bottom so the gophers can't get up inside?

Here daily vigilance is effective. As soon as I see a mound I set traps and since the tunnel system is not yet established, I get them within a day, usually, sometimes just a couple of hours. Once their tunnel system becomes extensive it is much harder to trap them.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 6:31PM
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CA Kate

I just did this with an Iris bed 30' long and 5' wide. I had my "muscle" dig out all the soil to 10 " down; lay down small-hole chicken wire pinned in place with landscaping pins and turned up the sides and leave a collar of wire 6" high above the ground so it was like a tray ; and, put back all soil. Then I planted the Iris tubers. So far the Gophers have been deterred.... it seems they are stopped by the wire collar.

You can also make wire baskets for each plant, just make sure you leave enough wire above the ground for the collar. This is what I've done for most of my plants. Also, gophers never bother any of the Salvias or herbs, so I don't bother to cage those plants.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 8:08PM
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What I did was dig a trench along the fence line 3 feet down and lined it with hardware cloth (probably a better choice than chicken wire). It was a major undertaking since the fence is 80 feet long (on the other side is a field full of gophers). It's not a perfect system--they still get through, probably because there are extensive tunnels underground. Then I, too, try to set traps right away. Generally, all this works. (BTW, they have bothered my salvias.) I also lined raised beds with hardware cloth (that was relatively easy to do).

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:13PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Hardware cloth is a heavier gauge than chicken wire and will last longer in the ground. Chicken wire should last 5 years which is probably long enough for your project. Al

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:59AM
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bfreeman_sunset20(Ca 9b vta co)

I have had chicken wire last only 2 years, you do need to make sure it goes up the sides of the bed and out above the soil by a few inches. You can put down two layers of chicken wire to last longer, and that is still cheaper then hardware cloth.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 12:26PM
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napapen(ca 15)

and remember gophers are not opposed to going in from the top!


    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:06PM
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Regular chicken wire has holes big enough for gophers to slip right through. You want aviary wire with holes no larger than half an inch. Hardware cloth is also a good choice.

You will need to line the sides and bottoms both. Or you can follow the excellent suggestion of making raised beds. Gophers rarely come up to the surface if they can avoid it. When they are on the surface they are vulnerable to predators such as owls.

There are also gopher cages sold in nurseries for planting individual plants. They come in three sizes -- bulb/perennial, shrub/rose, or tree.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:24PM
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Chicken wire rusts very fast and the baby gophers do get through. Hardware cloth is the way to go - and make sure you have about 2 inches above the soil level on each side.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 6:36PM
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Gopher also travel above ground and can enter areas you think are secure. Just use GopherOut like I did. It works, it's safe, it's biodegradable and contains natural oil pine and citrus oil extracts. They hate it and it lasts for months.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 4:25PM
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lucia_ca(z9 CA)

I have used 1/4 aviary wire under my raised beds. I layed the hardware cloth down flat (like a blanket), installed the raised bed on top of it (leaving around 5 inches of hardware cloth sticking out as a border), filled the raised bed with soil AND then placed those red concrete pre-fab.ed pavers all around the raised bed....they do a decent job of keeping the hardware cloth down in place and form a decent looking border around the raised beds.....

so far, so good....those critters are to figure out how to get animals from eating my figs BEFORE I can! :)

---lucia in CA

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 6:08PM
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