Gophers vs. Dahlias: an S.O.S from Zone 9

amymalia(95060)August 26, 2005

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.

Happy gardening....

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Poochella(7 WA)

Hi amymalia. You have large aspirations and enthusiasm to match! Unfortunately, I can't answer as we have no gophers here. Moles, chipmunks, pine squirrels, bears, deer and other big scary things, but no gophers. Only the moles to date have neared the dahlias but not harmed them, and an occasional bouquet of planted sunflower seeds shows up as evidence of the passing squirrel.

Anyone else have gophers?

Welcome, and congratulations on your major overhaul and garden plans. I'm not sure about your zone, but it could be too late to plant dahlias for this season, or did you mean next year?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 1:24AM
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amymalia(95060)

Yes, yes, yes--next year. This year is winding down with a lovely show of the handful of dahlias that I picked up last year. Being the aforementioned novice and a little daunted by the prices of dahlia bulbs at my favorite nursey I only picked up 6 or so (however, I hear that Costco carries them early in the year...)but they are gorgeous. These were planted into my raised bed and so are protected by some serious Alcatraz gopher wire. The new additions, however, wil likely be on the own. It's not that I won't dig trenches and line it with wire if need be, it's just that I'd RATHER NOT do if unecessary.

Anyway, thanks for the laundry list of other if not less likely predators. No bears in my neck of the woods however my black cat has lately taken on the appearance of a very obese black bear cub, but I digress....

thanks for your input poochella....anyone else out there with input on gophers?

Happy gardening to you...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 4:03AM
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