Gopher lawn damage

How to get rid of pocket gophers.

Gophers. Pocket gophers. Ground squirrel. Gophers like prairie dogs and marmots are a small animal that digs tunnels and because they live in communities, they create huge tunnel towns of pocket gophers.

Pocket gophers are known because of the pouches in their mouths that they fill with food or nest materials. Pocket gophers are also known because they leave a pile of dirt at every entrance…but unlike moles, their tunnels are deep that the tunnel top is not visible like a mole tunnel top is.

pocket gopher emerges from tunnel


  • Mowing: The dirt piles at every entrance is a significant mowing problem.
  • Chewing: Gophers chew holes in underground plastic irrigation lines causing erosion, water waste, etc.
  • Eating: Gophers find roots and plants by smell underground and can decimate a garden in a day. Gophers often pull entire plants down into their tunnel to eat…just like you see on television in the cartoons.


  • Trapping: Use a small box, snare, or spear trap to catch or kill pocket gophers. Bait is not needed usually but trap relocation often is warranted if you don’t catch anything in a day or two. Lettuce or carrots are good baits if you feel it necessary.
  • Fencing: Underground fences of hardware cloth can be effective. But at least 2 feet underground and 1 foot above ground is necessary.
  • Chemical and Toxic Baits: Baits must be placed in the main tunnels or the gophers may just seal off that side tunnel to avoid your bait.
  • Flooding Tunnels: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Fumigation (smoke or gas in tunnels) Again, sometimes it works, but not always because when the gopher senses a problem they seal off that part of the tunnel.
  • Scare Devices: Noise, lights, sounds, vibrating stakes…all work sometimes but are not the best choice usually.
  • Predators: Get a cat or dog. They will stop the gopher advance in a fenced in area.
  • Natures Predators: Fox, owls, snakes, and coyotes love to dine on pocket gophers and keep most of the gopher populations under control in the wild.
  • Organic: Castor Bean, Gopher Purge, and Garlic plants are reported as somewhat effective.
  • Exotic Options: Placing laxatives and chewing gum in the tunnels has also been reported as successful.