How to Get Rid of Gophers in Your Garden and Yard

How to Get Rid of Gophers in Your Garden and Yard

Gophers, also known as pocket gophers, can cause nuisance in your backyard and garden by building a wide network of tunnels underground while eating your fruits, vegetables, plants, and roots. To protect your flowers beds and fruit patches from getting destroyed, take immediate action to get rid of them for good.

How to Locate Active Gopher Burrows

Fresh mounds of soil dispersed all across your yard are a clear indication of gophers residing underground. Their burrows comprise of a 6 to 12 inches deep main tunnel/runway, where they live, and several lateral tunnels plugged with soil. Get a basic idea about their tunnel system below:

Finding the runway is important before you can try any of the methods to drive the gopher away. To locate it, insert a metal probe about 8 to 12 inches deep into one of the mounds mentioned above. When your probe reaches the main tunnel, you will feel it drop about 2 inches more into the open space. Penetrate it further to make sure you find the main tunnel.

Ways to Keep Gophers Out of Your Garden

Getting Rid of Gophers with Home Remedies and Repellents (Less Effective Methods)

1) Water: Flooding the gopher tunnels with a water hose might compel them to come out of the holes and move somewhere else, probably outside your yard. You can directly pour 5-gallon buckets of water (try soapy water) into the burrows as well.

While a few gardeners have been successful, others found fresh holes in their garden the next day. A major drawback of using water is that it loosens the soil, making it easier for gophers to dig newer tunnels and move to the higher ground, and wait till the water recedes.

TIP: Taking a cue from this method, you can fill a 1-gallon milk jug with water and place it in an inverted position over the hole. As evident from this video, once the water pours down, the gopher will pop right up into the jug and get trapped. However, in case of multiple holes in your lawn, this option might not be too practical.

2) Ultrasonic Gopher Repellents: Commercial noise deterrents like sonic spikes when inserted into the ground, close to the tunnels, emit high-frequency sounds that safely repel the gophers. Based on some reviews given by users, these devices seem to work moderately well as long as their batteries last.

3) Essential Oils: Put a few drops of castor/peppermint oil on cotton balls (old newspapers or cloths will also do) and drop them into the tunnels. But, as the homemade repellent only keeps the gophers temporarily away, it is not an effective long-term solution.

4) Ammonia: As shared by some, ammonia has an odor strong enough to keep the rodents out of your backyard. However, it should not come in contact with your pets since ammonia is highly toxic.

TIP: According to an online forum, pouring a combination of ammonia and bleach into the burrows produces a toxic gas that could suffocate and kill gophers.

5) Natural Repellent Plants: The smell of gopher purge, castor bean, and garlic might help in getting rid of gophers naturally. However, there are no evidences to support these claims.

6) Liquid Repellents: Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repellent and Tomcat Mole and Gopher Repellent are some well-known liquid repellents available online that seem to give mixed results.

7) Juicy Fruit Gum: In several forums and blogs, bubblegum has been suggested to be useful in killing gophers by blocking their intestine. And even though it is not a proven method, it is pretty easy and inexpensive to try. Just place few flavored gums inside the tunnels; if you no longer spot any gopher in your pasture, the bubble gums may have worked.

8) Fumigants: Gas or smoke cartridges are assumed to suffocate gophers to death inside their tunnels. However, they do not work in most cases as these rodents can detect the gas and seal off their burrows. Although zinc phosphide fumigants might be effective, their application requires professional help.

Some people might also recommend mothballs, but they are illegal to be used for anything other than the purposes mentioned on their label.

How to Get Rid of Gophers Humanely Without Killing Them (Moderately-Effective Methods)

1) Live Trap

Live box traps can be a good option, especially if there are multiple gophers running around your yard. Once they are trapped, check with your local authorities (if you need) to decide where to release them.

2) Underground Fencing

Bury a mesh wire with small openings (preferably 1/4 to 1/2 inches in size) about 1½ foot deep and ½ foot above the ground around your vegetable garden to discourage gophers from digging holes and eating away the roots of your plants. However, this method might need expert help as you need to be sure not to hurt any tree roots, and this might only be useful for large garden areas.

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Eradicating Gophers Permanently (Methods Most Likely to Work)

1) Lethal Gopher Traps: They work on a spring mechanism, squeezing the gopher around the neck or chest and killing it quickly. Wire traps and black box traps are the common types commercially available. Apples, alfalfa greens, carrots, or peanut butter can be good as baits. Using two traps side by side might increase your chances of a good catch.

NOTE: Since many States do not allow trapping and killing animals, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations in your region before trying out the method.

2) Poison Baits: Using commercial products with zinc phosphide, strychnine, or diphacinone content can be one of the best ways for removing gophers forever. Use a long-handled spoon/shovel to place the bait directly into the main runway through the lateral tunnel. It can also be applied with a mechanical bait applicator that creates an artificial burrow next to the hole to connect with the main tunnel.

A possibly effective homemade bait recipe is a mixture of 4 quarts of carrots/sweet potatoes/sugar beets/parsnips (cut into small pieces), 1/8 oz. of strychnine, and 1/8 oz. of saccharine.

After killing the resident gophers, these baits still remain effective for a longer time, therefore eliminating any new gophers trying to invade the old burrows. However, the toxic products should not come in contact with plants as they may cause poisoning and affect their growth.

3) Dry Ice: Some fellow gardeners have recommended eradication of gophers by using dry ice. Seal all the visible holes in your lawn except one, drop some dry ice chunks into it (make sure to wear gloves), and then seal it off. As the dry ice undergoes sublimation, carbon dioxide is released, cutting off the supply of oxygen inside the burrows, and thus suffocating the gophers to death.

Although this method might work, using dry ice does not seem to be a feasible option.

Gopher Control and Prevention by Keeping your Yard Clean

In addition to removing debris, stones, and wooden piles from your yard, trimming it on a regular basis makes it least attractive to gophers, thereby discouraging their entry.

How to Get Rid of Voles in the Garden [7 Natural Ways]

By Howard Parker Last Updated March 14, 2020 Leave a Comment

Voles are similar to large, brown-skinned mice only with shorter tails that are very common in your garden. They are herbivorous rodents that live mostly underground, although they sometimes move to the surface.

They dig a network of tunnels and feed on roots, bulbs, rhizomes, grasses, grains or seeds. They can tackle almost all plants in the garden, shrubs, vegetables (celery, squash, chard, potatoes, carrots), and ornamental flowers or even fruit trees.

The voles are much more voracious than mice and can swallow lots of amount of daily food representing up to twice their weight.

What’s On the Page

Types of Vole

The smallest and least destructive, Length between 8 and 12 cm,

The bigger and more destructive can reach up to 25 cm.

Before noting some damage to crops, the first thing to do and ensure that it is indeed voles.

Signs of The Presence of Voles

  • sometimes slightly sunken in the soil.
  • Presence of holes and tunnels on the soil surface
  • Small mounds of soil at the entrance of tunnels similar to small molehills

Difference Between Molehill And Vole hole

The Molehill Formed By The Mole

  • The mound of the land of conical and regular shape
  • Closed tunnels completely covered with earth
  • Tunnel oriented vertically
  • Entrance to the tunnel located in the center of the molehill

The Mound Formed By The Vole

  • The mound of smaller diameter and more irregular
  • Tunnel oriented obliquely
  • Visible hole

Note : Don’t take any action without not sure it is vole or mole. You can locate voles with the apple sign test.

How to Get Rid of Voles Naturally

The best protection against voles is undoubted to favor the presence of their natural predators such as raptors, foxes, martens.dogs, and cats.

Your garden is growing spaces in which weeds are allowed to grow also more prone to attack. As well as dry grass mulches allow voles to move on the surface avoid the sight of birds and other predators.

The Means of Prevention Voles

  • To destroy any kinds of soil tunnels regularly
  • Avoid plant covers and thick mulches
  • Plant repellent plants: Leafy Spurge(Euphorbia lathyris), Imperial Fritillary, Elderberry, Mint, Garlic
  • Install perches for raptors
  • Trim your garden grass regularly
  • Weeding between the rows of plantations

7 Effective Ways to get rid of Voles Naturally

The open tunnels for traps, vole products, and other chemical repellents must be closed. Because we are going to discuss h ow to get rid of voles naturally.

Dishwashing Liquid

The power of the dishwashing detergent cannot be underestimated. Generally, It is the cleaning liquid for the kitchen, but it is very effective to get rid of all types of voles. You can add other liquids such as castor oil, peppermint oil, etc with dishwashing liquid to get effective results. Like other vole repellents, You have spray into and around the tunnels after regular intervals to keep the vole away.

Recommended Dishwashing Liquid for getting rid of voles

Cayenne Powder

Cayenne powder is the most effective home remedies to get rid of voles. It is a moderately red-colored hot chili powder used to flavor dishes.

You can spray directly into the vole runway tunnel or spray it mixes with water, garlic, castor oil, soap to make a natural insecticide.

Recommended cayenne powder-

Recipes of Grandmothers

Specific products with strong odors like the remains of fish, the infusions of garlic cloves, onion or thuja twigs, rotten food (cheese and yogurt) help to get rid of voles damage.

You have to place one of them down into the vole’s tunnel. Then just wait, nothing else to do.

Cat (Smart Vole Hunter)

Cats are good for mole and vole hunting.

How to catch voles with cats?

Never mind! Your cats already know it very well. Its the safest and effective method in most situations. Don’t allow to hunt your pet If any other rodenticide is used recently.

Plants Installation

Have you planted Euphorbia lathyris in your garden?

It can be effective for getting rid of moles and voles. Euphorbia lathyris (Gopher or Mole plant) plant roots and seeds are poisonous.

You already know voles eat plant roots. So It obviously effective. You can also install chocolate lilies and garlic in your garden.

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Keep your pets and kids away from those trees.

Flooding The Burrow

The simple, cheap and convenient method of kill voles is flooding. This method refers to flood their burrow with water. Multiple holes mean multiple escape routes. So if you find multiple holes, you should cover them all except one. Generally, place your small diameter garden hose into the uncovered hole and wait 20 or 30 minutes to kill the voles.

Remember: It is difficult to ensure that water reaches all the areas of it is not the recommended way to kill voles for the long-term.

Repellents And Natural Poisons

The elderberry manure or the castor oil cake act as natural repellents. Handle with proper care, however, as these products may act as poisons for pets.

Castor cake and the elderberry with red berries are toxic. So you can kill voles with castor oil or elderberry with red berries manure. But the elderberry with blackberries that is edible for humans and animals.

How to Make Elderberry Manure

  • Cut out 1 kilo of elderberry leaves in a bucket
  • Add in 10 liters of water, macerate for 15 days and stirring occasionally
  • Collect the liquid and pour it into the tunnels or watering around the plants


Traps must be placed in a sufficient number of tunnels and renewed several times in a day. Gripper traps are cheaper but installation is more delicate.

It is also essential to identify recently created tunnels and handle traps with gloves to avoid leaving a human odor.

Recommended topcat trap- The Vole and mole Trap. Scroll down to learn how to use topcat trap.

2 Fastest ways to Get Rid of Voles With Poison

Chemicals or Toxic Gases

They are used in case of the heavy infestation of moles or voles. Bromadiolone, a potent rat poison, is authorized to eradicate voles very fast under strict conditions.

Granular Baits Chlorophacinone

Chlorophacinone is a first-generation powerful anticoagulant causes the death of the vole 1 to 2 weeks after ingestion.

Fighting with The Ground Vole: How to Use The Topcat Trap?

The Topcat trap is a guillotine type trap that lands in the tunnel and trips in both directions.

It is safest for the environment, for pets and the user who sets it up. It has the advantage of being reusable.

The “TomCat” traps operating on the same principle are also effective.

Must wear gloves to handle the trap without leaving a human odor.


  • Locate a vole tunnel using the probe
  • Dig a hole vertically through the tunnel with the auger
  • Remove the fallen soil inside the tunnel
  • Install the topcat trap in the closed position in the hole
  • Position the openings of the trap in the direction of the tunnel
  • Bridging spaces around the trap by tamping the earth
  • Arm the trap and mark it with a wand to find it easily

The trap must be regularly monitored.

As soon as you notice that it has tripped (closed position), remove the dead animal and reposition it at another location. Of course, the hole will be filled that you created to install topcat trap

Repeat the process until the trap is no longer triggered and there is no longer any sign of vole life.

How to Get Rid of Thistle Permanently

Things You’ll Need

Herbicides containing glyphosate or 2,4-D

Scalding water (optional)

Try to attract painted lady butterflies to your garden. They feast on thistle and can significantly reduce the population.


To avoid burns, use extreme caution if pouring scalding water on thistles.

Wear thick gardening gloves when weeding thistles to avoid being cut by their spines.

Always wear gloves when applying herbicides.

Read herbicide labels carefully.

It’s tough, it’s spiny, it’s hairy, and it’s taking over your yard. Thistle—whether it’s of the musk, tall or Canada variety—is a very difficult weed to eliminate from your lawn or garden once it has taken hold; a single musk thistle can generate 120,000 seeds from one flower, and can grow to six feet tall. Eliminating thistle for good my take several years, because thistles are either biennial or—even worse—perennial. If you have thistle one year, you will have even more the next, unless you take action. Biennials, such as musk thistle and tall thistle, germinate in summer and fall, spend the winter as rosettes, then produce many flower heads the next spring. The fluffy purplish flowers of thistles are the only visually pleasing part of the plant, but don’t be fooled; they carry the seeds that guarantee another year of thistle invasion. Canada thistle, a perennial, reproduces in the same way, but it has the added advantage of spreading by way of its roots; this makes control even more challenging.
If you want to banish thistle, you have to go to war against it. Fortunately, you do have some weapons at your disposal.

Burrowing Crawfish Problems: Getting Rid of Crayfish In The Garden

Crawfish are a seasonal problem in some regions. They tend to make burrows in lawns during the rainy season, which can be unsightly and can have the potential to damage mowing equipment. The crustaceans aren’t dangerous and don’t hurt any other part of the lawn but often their burrows are cause enough to want them gone. Getting rid of crawfish is not that easy, and really should start with re-sculpting your yard. Try these tips for removing, also known as crayfish, in the garden.

Crayfish Mounds in Lawns

Burrowing crayfish problems are primarily a nuisance and an eye sore. These crustaceans feed on detritus and whatever they can scavenge. They don’t do any harm to landscape plants and their burrows don’t permanently damage turfgrass roots.

About the biggest complaint are crayfish mounds in the lawn. These don’t get as numerous as say, mole hills, but they can be unsightly and a tripping and mowing hazard.

How to Get Rid of Crayfish in Your Yard

If you have a population of terrestrial crayfish living in your landscape, you can try to consider them a unique wonderful creature sharing your space or you can try to get rid of them. In cases where the animals are in great numbers or when they pose a danger, getting rid of crayfish may be necessary.

The first thing to consider is making a more inhospitable area by terra-scaping so there are no boggy areas for crayfish to build burrows. They tend to like the low lying areas of the garden where run-off collects. Another option is to install solid wood or stone fences that are snug to the ground, but this can be costly and time consuming.

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Fixing the mounds is a little thing because you can knock them over, rake out the dirt or water it in with a hose. However, just because you got rid of the mound doesn’t mean you don’t still have crayfish in the garden. If your property has a stream nearby and low lying moist areas, the critters are going to persist. They live in the burrows and have a secondary tunnel to the stream where they breed.

During rainy periods you may be able to see the animals on the surface of the soil. There are no pesticides, fumigants, or toxicants labeled safe to use on the crustaceans. Any poisons will contaminate the adjacent water. The best way to remove the animals is with trapping.

Permanent Solutions to Crayfish in the Landscape

Traps are humane and non toxic. You don’t have to worry about poisoning other animals or leaving persistent residue in your soil. To trap crayfish, you need metal traps, some bait and soil anchors.

The best baits are meat that is slightly off, or wet pet food. The stinkier the better according to pro baiters. Lay the trap near the burrow and bait it with the food. Anchor the trap with soil staples or something similar so the animal doesn’t drag it off. Check traps daily.

Use gloves when removing the crawfish. If you don’t want to have burrowing crayfish problems again, don’t release them to a nearby waterway. They make excellent bait for fishing or you can take them to a wild area and release them. This method is safe to your landscape, family and even the crayfish.

battling mice and voles (but never with mothballs)

T HE SNOW MELTS, revealing the horror: Mice and voles have had at it in your garden, coldframe or greenhouse. As fall approaches, maybe they’re scurrying for a nesting spot in your house or garage or shed. Whatever the havoc, mothballs are not the answer—and are in fact highly toxic, and illegal for garden use. Learn how to control rodent pests safely, and how mice in particular figure into the Lyme-disease equation, too.

Though this is not new information, it apparently bears repeating. I hear from readers whenever I mention animal control–even of deer–who share the “tip” that they’ve discovered mothballs, reporting that they have spread them in a vole-besieged bed, or along their deer-pressured property line, or even in a stone wall, perhaps, to deter snakes.

Any use not specifically listed on the package violates Federal law, and can also harm you, your pets, or animals in the environment, and can contaminate soil and water, according to the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State. Moth balls do not belong in your garden (nor in your attic, car, or crawl space).

Moth balls (and flakes) contain either napthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I frankly don’t want them in my closet, either, even inside a closed container as the directions advise, but again: Anywhere else is illegal, and dangerous.

What to do instead?

For rodents, I follow longtime organic farmer Eliot Coleman’s advice and trap year-round in key garden areas and outbuildings, placing my traps (I like the Snap-e brand, shown for ease of setting and lastingness) inside homemade boxes, as in the photos above and below. Get the whole story on the boxes and how to use them. The box protects other animals from potentially getting injured, compared to a trap placed out in the open. I bait mine with peanut butter, because most of my prey are mice; Coleman uses no bait for trapping voles. I get voles, too, even with the bait applied.

the mouse-lyme disease connection

G ARDEN DAMAGE ASIDE, I also aggressively trap rodents year round near the house—my own primary habitat!–because white-footed mice, in particular, are a primary vector for Lyme-disease transmission.Ticks that feed on mice are particularly likely to become infected with the spirochete bacterium implicated in Lyme.

“Long-term research shows that white-footed mice are the critical hosts for black-legged ticks, which carry and spread the bacterium that causes Lyme disease,” says the Cary Institute in Millbrook, New York, where extensive tick-related research is under way. Read their summary on the ecology of Lyme disease for a shorthand insight into this disease and its life cycle. “Superabundant mouse populations allow more ticks to survive and lead to predictable spikes in human Lyme disease exposure.” Scientists there are even working on a bait that could inoculate mouse populations against the bacterium.

So-called “deer ticks” usually spread the Lyme to humans as nymphs, their second life stage—and the stage at which they are more likely to be on mice or shrews (or perhaps even chipmunks) than on deer, who are more often hosts for the adult ticks.

My own vigilant “mouse patrol,” as I refer to it, may be slightly irrational–clearly, I am not capable of achieving a truly mouse-free zone. But letting their population build up unnecessarily where I am most likely to interact with them is something I prefer not to do.

One final thought about those snakes, and by association, those mice and voles:

Snakes are one of your best allies in garden pest control, with many species consuming not only rodents, but also those garden-damaging pests, slugs. A healthy garden includes snakes as part of its community, and though I may at first feel squeamish when one startles me outside, I am glad they’re here and would never harm one. Red-tailed hawks, who also like to pick off small animals like mice, racing down from the sky with more precision than any mousetrap I could employ, agree with me that snakes are great, but for another reason. They like to enjoy the occasional snake for lunch.

It’s a food chain; don’t poison it with mothballs or any other chemical. (And there are even more players in the dance, of course, than my little example above.)

Oh, and want to keep deer out? Get a fence. No kidding.

more on voles (vs. moles) and ‘nuisance wildlife’

C AN’T TELL signs of a vole from a mole, or have other “nuisance wildlife” issues, from rabbits to woodchucks to who knows who? This interview with Marnie Titchenell from Ohio State University may help. (Above, photo of voles’ surface tunneling in turf from Missouri Botanical Garden, where they have more on voles and mice.)

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