How to Get Rid of Gophers

You may have heard of gophers before — they’re one of the most destructive creatures you’ll come across in your backyard. These furry little mammals literally tear up your entire garden, destroying plants and crops that take a lot of effort to grow. If you’ve ever dealt with gophers, you know how annoying they can be.

Gophers are pesky little creatures that can cause a lot of damage to your property. Some might even argue that gophers are worse than snakes. But not all hope is lost. This article will tell you everything about gophers. We will discuss how to get rid of gophers using natural and artificial methods and prevent them from coming back.

What are Gophers?

Gophers are small, burrowing rodents that can be found throughout North America. Gophers have fur-lined tunnels that they use to store food, reproduce, and escape danger. These tunnels can reach up to 15 feet in length and two feet deep.

There are several types of gophers, but the most common one is the pocket gopher. Pocket gophers get their name from the external pockets on each side of their cheeks where they store food.

Gophers are herbivores and eat a variety of plants, including flowers, vegetables, trees, and grass. They also consume roots, tubers, bulbs, and seeds. They can consume all of your plants, causing considerable damage to your garden.

Getting rid of gophers

Gopher removal is a little more challenging than other pests, as it can live up to 20 feet below ground. If you find your garden being chewed up by these pesky rodents, here’s how you can stop their destruction:

Non-Lethal Methods

There are several ways to get rid of gophers using non-lethal methods. Some include:


The most popular method is trapping. Trapping can be done with either live or kill traps.

  • Live traps are cages that capture the gopher unharmed and allow you to release it elsewhere. These traps usually have a catch door on the top that opens when the gopher steps on it, releasing it into a holding container.

A trap placed in the actual tunnel will confirm whether you have obtained a gopher or not. The tunnels are huge and can be dug very far down before reaching a chamber where the gopher may live. You must dig around the perimeter of each tunnel to find where they begin and end. While digging, you must make sure that the ground you are digging into is firm and not an area close to an underground spring or surface source of water because if it is, the gopher will be able to escape easily.


Another way to get rid of gophers naturally is by using repellents. Repellents are substances that deter gophers from entering an area. There are a variety of repellents on the market, but most of them are ineffective.

  • Ultrasonic repellent: One of the more popular types of repellents is ultrasonic. Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are said to deter gophers. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
  • Castor oil: Another natural repellent is castor oil. Castor oil is a vegetable oil that can be sprayed on plants to deter gophers. It is not harmful to the environment and is biodegradable.
  • Coffee grinds: Another home remedy for repelling gophers is coffee grinds. Gophers don’t like the smell of coffee grinds. You can either spread them around your garden or place them in trenches around your plants.
  • Garlic: Some people have reported success using garlic as a gopher repellent. Garlic is said to give off a smell that gophers don’t like. You can either plant it around your garden or make a spray using garlic oil and water.


Fencing is the best way to keep gophers out of your garden. Fencing should be buried at least 12 inches below ground and extended at least 18 inches above the ground. Using a tight-mesh fence is also important, as gophers can easily climb over traditional fences.]

Water Jet

The last artificial method of getting rid of gophers is with a high-pressure water jet. A high-pressure water jet is attached to a garden hose and used to blast the gopher out of its hole. 

Lethal Methods

If you don’t want to deal with trapping or fencing, you can use several artificial methods to get rid of gophers.

Gopher Poison

The most popular method is gopher poison. Gopher poison is a pellet placed in the gopher’s tunnel system. When the gopher eats the poison, it dies instantly.

Gas Cartridge

Another way to kill gophers is by using a gas cartridge. A gas cartridge is inserted into the opening of the gopher’s tunnel and detonated, killing the rodent instantly.


Fumigation is a method that uses gas to kill gophers. The gas is pumped into the tunnel system, suffocating the gophers. Fumigation should only be used as a last resort, as it can be harmful to pets and other animals.


  • Kill traps use poison or electricity to kill the gopher instantly. Kill traps should only be used if you plan to relocate the gopher away from your property, as they are not humanely euthanizing methods.

How to Prevent Gophers from Returning

Once you have gotten rid of the gophers, it’s important to take steps to prevent them from returning. Here are a few tips to help keep them away:

  • Plug up any holes in your yard that the gophers may use to enter.
  • Use wire mesh or fencing around gardens and other areas where you don’t want the gophers to go.
  • Place deterrents such as ammonia, peppermint oil, or castor oil near the areas you are trying to protect.
  • You can always trap the gophers and relocate them if all else fails.

If you live in an area where gophers are common, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures to keep them out of your garden. You can protect your plants and keep the gophers away by following these tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are gophers in my yard?

Gophers are attracted to yards because of the abundance of food. They eat plants, bulbs, and seeds from gardens and landscapes.

What do gophers look like?

Gophers are small rodents that have a brown fur coat with a black stripe down their back. They weigh about one pound and measure six to eight inches in length.

What smells do gophers hate?

Gophers hate the smell of ammonia, peppermint oil, and castor oil.

Do coffee grounds keep gophers away?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that coffee grounds keep gophers away.

Are gophers active at night?

Gophers are most active during the day, but they may also be active at night.

What do Gopher tunnels look like?

Gopher tunnels can be up to six inches in diameter and often have ridges on the sides of the gopher’s back claws.

How deep do gopher tunnels go?

Gopher tunnels can be up to six feet deep, but most are only a few inches below the surface.

How do you get rid gophers without killing them?

The most humane way to get rid of live gophers is to use a trap.

How do you get rid of gopher tunnels?

Gopher tunnels can be filled in with dirt, but this needs to be done before the gophers have a chance to rebuild the tunnel.

What kind of bait should you use in a gopher?

The most effective bait for a gopher trap is a piece of apple.

What is the best gopher killer?

The best gopher killer is a product called Talpirid. It is a bait that is placed in the tunnel system and kills the gopher when it eats it.

Can gophers transmit diseases?

There is no evidence that gophers can transmit diseases.

Where should you look for gophers?

Gophers can be found in many places, including your garden, yard, or even inside your home.

How long does it take for a gopher trap to work?

It takes about 24 hours for a gopher trap to work.


Gopher removal can be a daunting task, but you can get rid of these pesky rodents quickly and easily with the right methods. Remember to use fencing to prevent them from returning and use repellent if necessary. With a little effort, you can get rid of those pesky gophers for good.

So, there you have it. Simple solutions to a problem that is likely far from simple. Gophers are a real problem for any gardener or homeowner and can wreak havoc on your lawn if you don’t keep them at bay. The tips above should help you keep these pesky little creatures away from your plants, so you can focus on doing what’s really important: enjoying your garden.