Gophers vs. Dahlias: an S.O.S from Zone 9
Forgive me, for I am so new gardening. Just this year we completely overhauled our lovely, formerly college-student run, zone 9 victorian house. After all the destruction of re-roofing, re-shingling, building an entirely separate guest house, gutting just about everything that had guts to give and then some I was finally allowed to run amok and unfrettered on our ~1/4 acre lot. Prior to this, any and all gardening I got to do was few, far between and of the houseplant variety.
Now, however, I am completly addicted. Totally consumed. However, I am as green as my erstwhile vine-ripened tomatoes that I planted in a haste not thinking, or knowing for that matter, about the sun patterens in our backyard.
Anyway, here is my question: without a doubt, gophers run the show over here in Santa Cruz. I was smart enough to plant two large, raised beds for bulbs and veggies and got a spectacular turn out for being so green myself. I put about 40 bare-root roses in around January and continue to be given gorgeous blooms, even as we speak, despite the fact that it was the first season in their new home for all of them. Thus far the gophers haven't touched them YET, but I don't know that they won't. However, and here, finally, is the real question: I plan on planintg upwards of a 100 dahlia tuber this year, if not more. I have the room and the sun exposure, the soil is excellent and the irrigation is on auto--do I have to dig out big trenches and line it with gopher wire wherever I intend to plant my dahlias?? Or will those darn cute devils in brown suits pass them up and focus on trying to eat into my carrot collection?
Any advice and information would be MUCH appreciated.