Oh those pesky gophers! Who can forget the classic movie “Caddyshack” and Bill Murray’s ongoing battle with the varmints! It was hilarious in the movie but when it’s your yard being attacked, they don’t seem nearly as cute and cuddly. What can you do? Well, you could always try to hire Bill Murray to blow up your yard or bring in a Gopher snake or Barn Owl to eat the rascals. OR, you can take a more sensible and less dramatic approach…install gopher deterrent fence.
Sure it’s a lot of work, but if protecting your lawn, trees, shrubs and garden is important to you, then it’s worth it! Even one Gopher can cause tremendous and costly damage. And in fact, in most cases it is only one gopher terrorizing your property since they are extremely territorial and solitary animals. It just looks like there must be a whole “herd” of them from all the holes and damage.
The first step is choosing the right type of fence to use since it will have to withstand the rigors of being buried. Choosing the wrong type of fence can be a costly and very frustrating mistake. Chicken/poultry wire or aviary fence is not intended to be buried and will fail in a short period of time. Galvanized After Weld, Vinyl Coated, or Stainless Steel wire provides protection from rust and corrosion and will last for many years. Obviously, these are not the favorite choices of gophers! In terms of mesh size 1/2”x1/2” is ideal because the openings are small and stiff enough to prevent gophers from gaining access to the surface.
For protecting lawns and garden areas, the fence should be buried 2”-6”deep, covered with soil, and the sod or plants installed on top of the soil. The wire should be secured using sod staples or “U” pins placed two to three feet apart. Be careful to have tight overlaps of 4-6 inches without buckling or openings. After the gopher bumps his head a few times, he will move on to greener pastures! For above ground use, these meshes can easily be made into baskets to protect individual plantings.
Perimeter fencing can also be installed to help keep the gophers out. The fence should have small openings and the bottom of the fence should be buried 2’-3’ deep with at least 6-12” above ground to prevent gophers from burrowing underneath or invading from the surface. The buried portion of the wire should have a ninety degree bend to the outside.
For additional weapons in the war against gophers, try putting a pine scented cleaner or chili powder in the burrows. Gophers hate this!
Don’t let gophers defeat you. Take back control of your lawn and garden so you can spend time playing golf or whatever it is that you enjoy.
And, be sure to say hello to Bill for me!
They are the scourge of nurseries, gardens, lawns, athletic fields, orchards, golf courses and other open public areas. Anyone who lives in an area infested with gophers knows the signs - the mounds of fresh soil dotting the ground's surface.
One gopher can create several mounds in a day. Mounds can interfere with lawn mowers and severely impact the appearance of lawns.
Conditions for digging are ideal in irrigated areas: flower beds, lawns and gardens. Gophers love to eat vines, shrubs, trees, ornamental plants and vegetables.
Their tunnels can cause soil erosion by diverting irrigation water. During a gopher's digging activity, lawn sprinkler systems and plastic water lines can be gnawed on and damaged.
A burrow system can cover an area of 200 to 2,000 square feet. Food storage and nesting areas can be as deep as six feet. Feeding burrows with a 3" diameter are most often 6" to 12" below ground.
Perhaps the most effective way to combat the destructive and very costly impact of gophers on gardens, lawns, athletic fields, nurseries and plantings is to bury wire mesh below the ground's surface. Though costly and labor intensive, such a barrier will prevent gophers from burrowing to the surface.
Welded wire - A good mesh to use as gopher wire is 1/2"x1/2" welded wire. This is available in both 19 gauge, hardware cloth, and heavier 16 gauge wire. It comes in both a galvanized after weld and PVC vinyl coated finish. The galvanized finish protects the wire from rust and corrosion. The vinyl coating gives the mesh even longer protection. Widths up to 72" makes it easier to cover large areas with fewer joints.
Woven wire - Hex netting also makes an excellent gopher wire barrier. Vinyl coated 19 gauge, 3/4" and 20 gauge, 1" meshes are available. As with the welded wire, the PVC coating assures years of use. Lighter weight than the welded mesh products, the hex products are easier to work with. Rolls of 1" hex are available in widths up to 90".
Are gophers a problem for you? How have you tried to solve this?
Do you have a solution that's different from using gopher wire you'd like to share?
Information source: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Gophers giving you problems? Watch this video, Natural Gopher Control, and learn how to keep gophers out of your garden and lawn. Thomas Wittman of Gophers Limited talks about the use of wire fence and mesh as gopher deterrent at 3:15 in the video.
Read the report "An Evaluation of Fencing to Exclude Pocket Gophers from Experimental Plots".
Do you have problems with gophers invading your garden or lawn?
Have you tried any of these solutions?
Do these ideas make sense to you?
- Does the damage caused by gophers cost you money?
- Are you tired of gophers destroying your lawn, garden and flower beds?
- Have you been looking for a gopher deterrent to solve the problem?
Gopher deterrent fence and mesh
An effective way to eliminate damage to and destruction of your lawn, garden and planted areas is to lay down wire mesh under the soil. This will form an impenetrable barrier, preventing gophers from digging their way to the surface, forcing them to stay underground in the protected areas.
Galvanized hardware cloth
One type of mesh ideal for this purpose is 19 gauge hardware cloth with a 1/2" x 1/2" square mesh. This galvanized after weld mesh will last for several years underground. The zinc coating resists rust and corrosion. It is available in 24", 36", 48", 60" and 72" widths. Roll lengths are 50' and 100' except for the 60" and 72" sizes which are only available in 100' rolls. The wider widths work well when you need to cover a large area like a lawn.
Vinyl coated hardware cloth
If you want a product that will last even longer, use wire that is black vinyl coated. The same mesh is available in all widths in 100' rolls. Vinyl coating over the galvanized mesh gives significant additional protection against rust and corrosion.
Have you tried other methods of gopher exclusion? Do they work?
What other types of gopher deterrents are effective?