How to Get Rid of Gophers Naturally, Hunker

How to Get Rid of Gophers Naturally

Things You’ll Need

Used cat litter

Castor oil pellets

Cyan pepper power

Commercial gopher repellents

Gophers, also known as woodchucks in some parts of the country, can devastate a lawn or garden. They create large holes and eat away at the surrounding vegetation. Unlike deer, gophers cannot be physically blocked out of a garden with a fence. Instead, they must be discouraged from wanting to frequent the tunnels they build there. If shooting gophers is not possible where you live, or if you want to avoid the bloodshed, here are a few natural tricks to rid your garden of their presence.

Step 1

Place objects that move or make noise around the perimeter of your garden, throughout the garden, and near gopher holes. The more intimidating they are, the more likely they will scare away the gophers.

Step 2

Sprinkle used cat litter around the gopher holes and inside of them. The ammonia in the cat urine is unpleasant to gophers and may make them move. Use as much cat litter as possible. It will break down, and therefore is not harmful to the environment.

Step 3

Spray cyan pepper powder inside the woodchuck holes, if the woodchucks still persist. Get it as deep into the hole as possible, making it harder for the gopher to dig it out. If this does not work, continue to step 4.

Step 4

Apply caster oil granules inside and along the holes. Much like the cyan pepper, this discourages the rodents.

Step 5

Use a commercial gopher repellent, if all else fails. This usually comes in the form of granules that can be sprinkled into the holes. Choose one that is non-toxic.

Getting rid of gophers tends to take repeated applications of the chosen product. Be persistent.

How to Get Rid of Gophers? Top 13 Hacks To Remove Gophers From Your Garden

Gophers can destroy your garden and all the hard work you put into making it look beautiful. These critters will take barely a few days to create havoc in your beautiful patch of green! If you have decided it is time to make gopher scourges a story of the past, then you have hit the right page. Read on for some of the most effective and time-tested hacks and tips that can help you keep your garden- Gopher Free!

How To Get Rid of Gophers?

How to Get Rid of Gophers?

Here are a few handy tips to get rid of Gophers. They are simple, inexpensive and almost always works.

1. Chewing Gum

Did you know that you can use candies to control gophers? As strange as it may sound, it does work. Simply throw in a handful of chewing gum or candies into a gopher’s hole and before you know it they will be gone.

2. Pet Waste

Now this is yet another hack that is hard to believe, but works like a charm! Block gopher’s holes and tunnels using cat litter or dog poop. This is a remedy that has been used for years by men to do away with gophers naturally.

3. Vibrating Stakes

Gophers do not get scared easily as they are immune to the constant noise and vibrations caused by people moving around. However, if your garden is infested with gophers and moles, dig a hole and put a vibrating stake into it. Next, compact soil around the hole until it is tightly seized. Within a few days, you will find the gopher’s population diminish in your garden.

4. Plants

Commonly known as “Gopher Spurge”, euphorbia lathyris is said to be highly effective in controlling subterranean burrowers such as gophers. You will find these plants available in almost every nursery. Grow them in different parts of your yard, especially in areas that are frequented by the creature. Another way to repel gophers is to plant castor bean, daffodil and marigold in your garden as these critters hate the smell and taste of these plants.

5. Poisons

If you are looking for an effective way to eliminate gophers, poison is another alternative you could resort to. However, if you have children or pets at home, you will have to use it cautiously. You will find a number of poisons available on the market to control gophers. Strychnine and zinc phosphide are two of the most popular. You will have to dig a hole with a shovel, broomstick or poke a rod into a gopher tunnel and apply strychnine by hand. You are sure to see the gophers disappear faster than you expect. If you are using diphacinone, then make a solid block of grain, wax and the poison and place it in the little tunnels to get rid of gophers.

6. Castor Oil Repellent

Another home remedy to eliminate gophers is castor oil. It has scientifically proven to work in controlling gophers. These nasty pests get diarrhea when they consume castor oil and as a result, they leave looking for a new habitat. To prepare the repellent, mix ¼ cup of unrefined castor oil and 2 tablespoons of dish washing liquid. Next, dilute the mixture by mixing 2 tablespoons of the mixture to 1 gallon of water. Spray it on the areas infested by gophers. You will find them gone in no time at all. You can also plant the castor oil plant to get rid of gophers from garden and lawns.

7. Coffee Grounds

If you are a coffee addict and have gopher problems, this is the perfect remedy to help you control gophers. It is really quite simple. All you have to do is sprinkle the used coffee grounds in the openings of gopher tunnels and then cover the holes with soil. According to a gardener who used this home remedy, there was a gradual decrease in the gopher population, proving that it does work against these destructive pests.

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8. Increase Water Supply

As cruel as it may sound, you can flood the gophers out of their home! Use a hose and water the mounds or simply pour in about 5 gallons of water. You will not be killing them, but simply forcing them to vacate your patch of garden!

9. Dryer Sheets

People like using dryer sheets for great-smelling, spongy laundry. You can use them as repellent for gophers too, as they hate the strong smell of dryer sheets. This is an effective as well as inexpensive way to solve your gopher problem. The method is easy – all you have to do is place a couple of dryer sheets into the gopher holes and cover them up again with soil. The scent of the dryer sheets will get the creatures running away as far as possible.

Also read : How To Get Rid Of Ticks?

10. Vehicle Exhaust

The carbon monoxide that the exhaust of your vehicle contains is an excellent way to eliminate gophers. Make use of your vehicle’s exhaust and flood the gopher tunnels around your property with it. Connect a pipe to the engine’s exhaust and place it in the gopher tunnel. Next, pack soil tightly around the pipe and flood the entire tunnel network for about 3 to 5 minutes. This is what is known as Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control (PERC) and it works quite well in getting rid of gophers.

11. Mothballs

If you are looking for an inexpensive yet effective home remedy to eliminate gophers, you should consider using mothballs. Simply place several naphthalene balls in a gopher tunnel opening. Wrap it with a plastic to make sure that the smell of the mothballs stays intact. As soon as the nasty little critters smell the naphthalene, they will leave your yard or garden as quickly as they can. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution and is best used at areas with lower gopher population.

12. Tabasco Sauce

Do you have Tabasco sauce in your kitchen? Make good use of it to control the gophers in your yard. Simply mix 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, a few drops of peppermint oil, ½ cup castor oil and 1 cup of water in a bottle. Shake well until all the ingredients are well blended. Immerse cotton balls and put them into the gopher holes. The pests will hastily leave your property within a day or two.

13. Garlic and Red Chili Powder

Here’s another amazing way to get rid of gophers. Make a spray out of 2 or 3 garlic bulbs, 12 hot chilli peppers, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 3 squirts liquid detergent and 7 cups of water. Blend all the ingredients together and then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth. Fill a spray bottle with it. Spray the mixture around your garden or lawn for a gopher-free outdoor.

As you can see, there are many excellent home remedies to get rid of gophers. These pests can create a lot of havoc and destroy your beautiful garden. Hence, try out these remedies and find the one that works most effectively to keep your property as lovely as you want it to be.

In this article

A deep rooted passion, writing for me is as much a pleasure as it is business! From remedies to politics, I love breathing in life into the most mundane of topics! When I am not writing, you will often find me either curled up with a book and a bag of fries, or playing with my son of five years and his many transformers and cars! Wanna watch a movie? Ask me for an unbiased review first! If you ask me what I love most, my answer will be quick: Travel, Food, Movies, Music, Writing, Books, and My Son!

How To: Get Rid of Gophers

Don’t let a gopher get the best of you or your backyard! Learn how to get rid of gophers and keep them away with several simple solutions.

Photo: via Mechanoid Dolly

Even if you’re not an avid cultivator of prized begonias or caretaker of an expensive golf course like Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack, having a gopher in your yard can still put a damper on your lush landscape. While these small, vegetarian, half-blind rodents seem fairly harmless, they didn’t earn their pest classification just by disrupting a little soil.

Gophers are very territorial and solitary, so you’ll rarely get more than one critter per acre. But even the one can do a fair amount of damage. He can dig up 10 to 30 mounds of dirt in your yard every month, eating through roots, vegetables, stems, and just about anything else in its underground path, edible or not. That includes tree roots and utility lines—both with the potential to cause a lot of damage.

Gophers’ network of tunnels create sinkholes in your yard that are as potentially dangerous for pedestrians as they are unsightly. Gophers also spell trouble for other animals, since, like all wild rodents, gophers tend to carry lice, fleas, ticks, and mites, often passing those along to pets who spend time in your yard.

The presence of a gopher can encourage other unwanted guests—predators like weasels, skunks, and snakes—to visit your yard looking for a quick meal.

The best thing to do is act swiftly, using one of the following three methods:

  • Bait the gopher into a live trap and release it far from your property.
  • Repel the gopher by placing castor oil pellets, peppermint oil, and fabric softener sheets in the burrows nearest your home.
  • As a last resort, poison the gopher with toxic pellets featuring zinc phosphide.

Gophers Live Trapping

Live traps (as well as poison traps, which are detailed below) are non-labor-intensive ways to effectively remove a gopher from your lawn. Besides being one of the least involved methods, trapping also ranks as one of the most effective way to get rid of gophers or other rodent intruders.

You can pick up a live trap at your local hardware store or even on Amazon.

Place the trap near the entrance of the burrow, with or without some lettuce or peanut butter inside (alas, experts aren’t convinced that baiting the trap significantly increases your chances of trapping the little varmints).


Once a gopher has been caught, you will need to fill the tunnels and repair the holes to discourage new gophers from moving into their vacated burrows.

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For a similarly humane removal method, consider sending the gophers packing on their own using repellent. First, plan an exit route you hope they follow out and away from your property. Then, place castor oil pellets, peppermint oil, or fabric softener sheets in the burrows nearest your house to start.

One or two days later, place additional repellent in burrows further out—and closer to your desired exit point at the far edge of your yard. This will push the gophers away from the source and out.

Gophers may also be turned off by pet waste or fish scraps placed in their tunnels, if you’d prefer to use waste you have on hand.

The major downside to rodent repellents is that they likely won’t drive gophers far enough away. If you have close neighbors, you can guess where the rodents might move next.


Disguised as a tasty grain to attract gophers and other outdoor rodents, poisonous gopher bait often utilizes a toxic chemical like zinc phosphide. Homeowners report success with products from manufacturers like JT Eaton and Bonide. (Avoid any that list strychnine on the label as an active ingredient, because this poison remains in the gopher’s system and may poison any predator who feasts on a poisoned gopher’s remains.)

Follow the instructions printed on the bait packaging very carefully, depositing the appropriate amount at the burrow entrance, using a dispenser probe. While poison is easy and efficient to administer, it does cause potential hazard to pets and children; consider this method carefully before placing them on your property as a means for how to get rid of gophers.

The Undesirables: Flooding and Fumigating

Though it sometimes get the job done, flooding gopher tunnels with water harms the lawn and doesn’t guarantee success. Water simply loosens the dirt, making your land easier to tunnel through. Until the water recedes, the gopher can easily retreat to higher ground.

More ideas that aren’t worth the time effort: Fumigating (smoking gophers out with the exhaust from a lawn mower or blower) or blowing up the holes. Aside from being downright dangerous, these methods will cause more harm to your lawn than even the most active gopher. Often, gophers will seal themselves in a tunnel and wait out the fumes anyway.

Gone for Good

After attempting one of the extermination methods described above, check to see if the gophers have packed up and moved on by poking a hole into one of the burrows. If after a few days the hole stays open, your guests are gone!

Your work isn’t quite over, though: Once they’ve left, make sure they’re gone for good with a few precautionary measures. Start by planting natural gopher-repellent plants such as natal plum, lavender, salvia, catmint, oleander, penstemons, rhaphiolepis, rosemary, and/or strawberries.

If you tend to a flower or vegetable garden, dig a trench around the plot and bury a wire mesh screen (hardware cloth) in it to prevent burrowing.

Finally, if extra concerned, place a solar- or battery-powered ultrasonic emitter in your yard to keep gophers and any other rodents at bay. Such a device, situated at ground level, creates vibrations small enough for humans to miss but big enough to annoy small pests.

This trifecta—repellent plants, a trench, and an emitter—can ensure your unwelcome guests don’t return, leaving your yard low-maintenance and critter-free!

How to Get Rid of Gophers

It is my goal to educate the public about gophers and other wildlife, and provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.

HUMANE HINTS: I have to be honest — it’s hard to perform humane gopher removal. They won’t enter live cage traps, to be relocated. There are no good repellents or fencing to keep them at bay. Most gopher control methods involve lethal means.

If you need gopher help, click on my Nationwide List of Gopher Removal Experts for a pro near you.

How to Get Rid of Gophers In Your Garden and Yard — Gophers are subterranean rodents, otherwise called vermin that can wreak havoc on your lawn, garden or crops. These critters are very small, rarely growing up to a foot long, and have coats that come in a variety of colors but are commonly a tan/brown color with a white underbelly. They have four small paws, large incisors and big puffy cheeks. However, you will most likely see the damage they leave behind rather than seeing one firsthand because they are reclusive and do not like to mess with other animals. They are active during all parts of the day and hibernate during the colder winter months.

However, what makes gophers such a nuisance is their diet and their digging. Gophers are omnivores and love to eat fruit, vegetables, roots and seeds. They have a weird sixth sense for finding your garden and eating all the vegetables/fruit or destroying the plant from underneath by eating all the plant roots. You can imagine how annoying they can be for farmers and people who get the majority of their food from their personal garden. They are also a pest by the tunnels that they dig underground which can leave holes in your lawn and kill your grass. If you have gopher problems, you probably want to know how to get rid of them as soon as possible. Here are the most common and effective ways for getting rid of gophers:

  • Poison is a common way to get rid of gophers but it can be dangerous. While poisoning these critters is effective, if you have other animals outside that you do not want to accidentally eat the poison or eat a poisoned gopher, maybe you should consider another method. Strychnine is the most common poison used.
  • Trapping gophers is a bit more humane than poisoning them, but it is tedious and frustrating. Make sure to wash the trap right before you set it with some dish soap to wash the human scent off; then wear latex gloves when you set the trap. Put the trap inside the tunnel or on the outside of the tunnel and disguise it with leaves. You can use live traps or lethal traps.
  • Drown them or smoke them out of the tunnels. You can use a garden hose and place it inside the tunnel and turn it on full blast. Hardware and garden stores also sell gopher flares that work really well. However, you need to fill in the tunnels after you do this so that they do not come back.
  • Releasing non-venomous snakes is a great way to get rid of gophers, if you don’t mind the snakes. One snake can clear out more than an acre of gophers over a period of several months, especially if you release them into the tunnel. If you have a really big gopher problem, then it is recommended to release at least two snakes. Once the gophers are gone, the snakes will leave your property in search of food.
  • Building a fence is the most expensive, but the most effective way of keeping gophers out of your yard and garden. The easiest way to do this is to bury a wire mesh fence at least a foot underground that sticks a few inches above ground to ensure that they cannot burrow or climb over it.
  • Hiring a professional pest removal service is the cheapest and is a hassle-free way to get rid of gophers. Pest removers know exactly what to do and have the tools and chemicals required when dealing with and removing the bodies of the gophers. This is not the cheapest way to go about it, but it works.
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More in-detail how-to gopher removal articles:
Information about gopher trapping — analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a gopher — with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep gophers away — prevention techniques.
Information about how to catch a gopher — remove one stuck in the house.
Information about gopher repellent — analysis of types and effectiveness.

Gopher Information & Facts

Gopher Appearance: The word gopher is used to describe several species of rodents. These rodents are all burrowers living in North America, but the term is most often synonymous with prairie dogs. All gophers are small mammals, yet are larger than many other rodents. They can grow to be over twelve inches in length and can weigh up to a pound. The dominant fur color is tan, though the specific hue can vary depending on the species and location. With long bodies and short, powerful limbs, the gopher is an excellent tunnel maker. Some species are identified by the color on the tip of their short, thin tail. Gophers have small ears, almond-shaped eyes, and the scissor-like teeth characteristic of most rodents.

Gopher Habitat and Behavior: Rodents that are considered gophers are very social and live in communities that can number into the thousands. These gopher towns generally occupy the mid-western prairies as well as the mountain valleys further north in the country. Within the community further grouping is done on the family level. Family groups live in private burrow sections of the established town and usually have one or two breeding males, three or more females, and a number of offspring. Any females born into a family will remain with that group for life. Male offspring will remain in the same community, but must find a new family group to take over or to be allowed into. Some breeding males have too many females and will allow a subordinate male into the group. Gophers are often affectionate with one another if a paternal bond is present.

Gopher communities can span over one hundred acres of land. These areas have well defined borders that coincide with a surface barrier like a road, fence, or line of trees.

Young in the community are cared for in communal nursing burrows. A female will often nurse offspring that are not her own. At five months of age, the gophers are considered adults.

Because of the complex infrastructure of the community, communication between members is crucial. The tone of a gopher call can relay such complex information as the type of predator, how fast it is moving, and where it is emerging from. Calls are made by sentry animals standing in the entrances to perimeter burrows.

Gopher Diet: Insects make up a small portion of a gopher’s diet. The rodent is primarily herbivorous. They feed on roots, grasses, flowering weeds, cacti, and fruit. During the winter, small caches of snow are used for water consumption.

Gopher Nuisance Concerns: The extensive network of burrows in a gopher city can be of concern for farmers and expanding construction businesses. Gopher holes can seriously injure large ruminants. Commercial farm equipment is exceptionally heavy and can break through burrows near the surface, immobilizing the machine or damaging parts. Any structures unknowingly built on a gopher community may be structurally compromised.

Gopher Diseases: The gopher population is shy around humans and other animals and for that reason, zoonotic disease transmission is rare. The potential for illness exists, and from time to time, gophers have been the primary disease vector for certain sicknesses. Monkeypox, a viral disease not native to North America, was detected in gophers in 2003. This illness was reserved to pet prairie dogs. The animals became infected through contact with rats aboard a vessel from overseas. Aside from that one minor outbreak, monkeypox is not true concern in the gopher population. LCMV, a virus transmitted from rodents to people, can be carried by gophers and is spread through contact with infected urine. Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and plague can all be carried by this rodent. Despite the potential for disease, most states with gopher populations maintain that little to no zoonotic concerns exist.

You’re here to learn how to get rid of gophers in your garden or lawn. This site is intended to provide gopher education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a gopher problem. This site provides many gopher control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of gopher removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance gopher.

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