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Gopher rants

Posted by landperson 9 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 27, 11 at 19:29

Okay, I'll start !!!! The gophers are B A A A C K ! ! !
Two trees bit the dust today. TWO TREES !!!! A plum and a Pink Lady Apple. Sheesh !!!! Every day more roses get dug up and put back into the ground in gopher baskets, and I really wasn't paying close attention to the trees until today when I noticed both of them leaning over.....A A R G H ! ! ! ! They just lifted right up out of the ground with poor nubs of roots at the business end. Both of them have been severely pruned and put into baskets and back into the ground, and maybe they will make it, but I gotta tell you that the gopher wars are really disheartening....

Rant over for today....


Follow-Up Postings:

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Gopher?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 27, 11 at 19:47

Delmar O'Donnell: Care for some gopher?

Ulysses Everett McGill: No thank you, Delmar. One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down.

Delmar O'Donnell: Oh, you can have the whole thing. Me and Pete already had one apiece. We ran across a whole... gopher village.

--"O Brother, Where Art Thou" by Joel and Ethan Coen


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RE: Gopher rants

Laugh?
I thought my pants would never dry.....

Susan


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RE: Gopher rants

Y'all are a comedy act. Har Har Har . . .

There are very few living creatures I could be said to hate, but I do hate gophers.
We have up on gopher baskets, and plant in 15-20- G pots, drilled with many, many, many holes.
Everytime we try to plant outside of them, we end up with a disaster.
The hills above us are riddled with gopher warrens, to the point where they're an ecological disaster.
There are no good gophers.

I need to re-watch Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

Oh dear, Jeri, don't tell me that. I thought my rolls and rolls of gopher wire were gonna do the trick.....What did you find? Did they go through the holes? Over the top? Tell me, do. I have finished my first rolls of both 2' and 3' wire and was going to go and buy another roll of each tomorrow, but....it's not too late for me to change directions (again....)

And....(the rest of this paragraph will be R rated, so close your eyes if you get too squeemish) between my first and this post I actually caught a young gopher in my loppers. I cannot figure out why he was lollygagging about above ground, but he gave me time to pick up the loppers and then pick him up by his rump, after which I dumped him into the green waste can ....bye bye baby gopher).


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RE: Gopher rants

One of my favorite movies!

Susan, there's probably nothing better than gopher baskets. However, you may have some areas that you may need to trap them. I've had luck with the "cinch traps" - they're a little stiff to set and you should always wear heavy gloves, but at least your fingers aren't near the pincers. If you do get some, make sure the pincers are free to move when you put the unit in the hole. When you get one, just put it back in the hole so it can 'go back to nature'. ;-)

I first saw them here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQbZ4Z_3uXU

Can't you just watch it over and over?

Shop around to get the best price. I read the ones made in the US are better and more rust resistant.


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RE: Gopher rants

I use the baskets, too, but a lot of my plants went into the ground before the gopher problem showed up. Pruning the porch garden this week I discovered that both Souvenir du Dr Jamain and Cl Crimson Glory were severed at the point where the base of the plants meets the root system, typical gopher trademark. It is discouraging. I buried a bit of SdDJ that looks as if it's trying to come back. We'll see what happens.

However, Tom and I have begun trapping, though we need to gain more skill. We got two this week, and that is giving us some hope. We think we have about six more currently active in the garden. Once we get rid of those six, we will still need to be vigilant. They will move back in from the field next door, forever and ever and ever.

We are using the cinch traps too. They seem to be more humane than the other kinds of traps, at least when they work as intended. I'll agree with Lagomorphmom about the gloves. I tried without them, and have a huge bruise on one thumb as a result. That'll teach me.


Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

So far my trapping skills are not on a par with the gophers' evasion tactics. Maybe I will add some cinch traps to the arsenal; I've been using two Black Hole Rodent traps, but my captures are very few and far between. Today I started using some gassers (Giant Defenders); I suspect they don't do much more than perhaps temporarily disorient the nasty buggers, but currently I'm willing to accept that low level of satisfaction.

Last summer I saw my beautiful JacTan go from a vigorous climber to a limp pile of twigs in a day. Hurrah for a tough own root rose: I plucked her sorry carcass out of the ground, cut her way back, put her in a big pot, and she recovered completely. This season she will go back in the ground.....in a big basket.


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RE: Gopher rants

We use the cages, and seem to be having luck with them. I am not sure what happens when the rose gets huge, but they seem to be doing well.

As far as a tree goes, why don't you get creative with a large circle and a small one. I am wondering if you could cut a large pot in 6 or 8 sections vertically. Set the slats around the tree so the gohper cannot get through. Then as the tree gets larger, and the roots are bigger, they could go around the pot slats and get big. At some point you could pull out the pot slats.

That could be the small circle, and the larger one could back it up -- two circles, and the second could be from wire.

I don't drink, but this could still be ridiculous. My imagination seems to think it could work. Or you could buy an older tree with bigger roots.

Sammy


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RE: Gopher rants

Over the course of our rose obsession, we have had occasion to re-locate roses from one location to another.

When we had to do this, after some years had elapsed, we dug in and found instances where the gopher baskets had deteriorated underground, and gaps had developed.

About that time, we visited a friend's garden, found that they had the same problem, and were using a different solution.
They bought 15- to 20-G Nursery pots, drilled many holes in them, and sunk the pots into the ground. Then planted the roses in the pots.

We adopted this strategy, and it has served us well.
I think it slows development of the plant down. They go through a period between growing to fill out the pot, and getting roots out through the holes, when growth lags, but eventually, it picks up again.

I need to put this article up on the Gold Coast HRG website, but for the present, it is included in the new Sustainable Rose Gardens book.

Oh, TREES.
We cut the bottom out of the pots, and planted that way.
Gophers generally go only about 18-inches underground.
At least, it worked here.

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

There is a company making stainless steel gopher cages now, one gallon, five gallon, and fifteen gallon sizes. They come pre-formed and should last longer in the ground, I think. I haven't tried them yet but I'm going to buy some and see how they work for me.

Landperson, you're in the Bay Area, aren't you? We took an excellent class on non-toxic gopher control. There is going to be another class at Love Apple Farm on March 15 and one on May 1. The instructor Thomas Wittman is a fan of the cinch trap. He is the person with the video on You Tube that Lagomorphmom mentioned.

Rosefolly


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I prefer Jeri's and Rosefolly's solutions to mine.
Our problem is that we have a stream passing through the back of our property. We will never be able to have control over critters, so I need a solution that will be more permanent than trying to maintain traps.

I am interested in what is new, and would like to know what the most current solutions are.

I hope that those of you who get new information will share it.

Sammy


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RE: Gopher rants

Can you believe I have no grophers? Don't hate me please! The one person I knew who was successful in the gopher wars became an expert trapper. Something about knowing the right spot for the trap. I bet he was on it all day. I don't know what I would do if I had to contend with this.


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RE: Gopher rants

Aw, Mendocino Rose, we don't hate you, but I bet I know what YOU'RE getting for Christmas! If we each send her just one, they should be more evenly distributed, wouldn't you think?


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RE: Gopher rants

A local rose grower told me recently that he had finally figured out that the only thing to do was to dig a perimeter and run hardware cloth down about 3' all the way around his acreage....Now that sounds absolutely horrendous, but sometimes when I think how much labor (and grief) gets spent every single day either hunting gophers or dealing with their damage, just maybe that wouldn't be so expensive in comparison...Of course I only have 1/2 acre so it's even vaguely conceivable, but.....still unlikely.


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RE: Gopher rants

Susan, I keep asking Santa for a Bobcat with a bucket & a backhoe for the garden but I guess I haven't been that good so far. I keep trying ;-)

Actually, Sammy, when I was researching the cinch traps having had no luck with the smoke bombs or other old wives tales, there was a review by a guy with a small orchard, I believe. In any case, most of the work was in the spring. After trapping quite a few and placing them back in the holes, I was evidently a deterrent and he had little trouble through the rest of the season into winter.

As for myself, I just caught the one last spring and I was done. We'll see what happens this year.


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RE: Gopher rants

Down three feet and with the base curving outwards away from the area to be protected, and above the ground as well. Gophers do come up to the surface at night, and they will travel on top of the ground. Of course this is when they are vulnerable to predators.

And predators are why you should never poison the gophers (besides any humane reason). Without predators your gopher population is uncontrollable. Each barn owl eats something like 150 gophers a year. However, they hunt over a large area, so their effect is to reduce the population level, not eliminate the gophers.

If you have barn owls, cherish them. I occasionally hear the whoo-whoo sound at night, which is unfortunately the great horned owl. Great horned owls eat barn owls. Nature is not kind or gentle. I don't know if our owls eat gophers as well; in any case, barn owls are the best ones to have.

Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

Okay, Cinch Trap folks, I have a question. At the Cinch Trap website, they tell me that the Mole Trap is actually the best thing to order for "CA residents". They seem to think our gophers are smaller. Anyone have any input on this? Have you found your Cinch Traps locally or do you order them online?

Susan


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RE: Gopher rants

Susan, yes, the mole size is best for CA gophers. Apparently in other areas, gophers are even bigger.

I bought mine when I took the class. There are a few places that sell them, mostly in the Santa Cruz area, but the maccabbee is what I see in the big box stores. You may have to order them online


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RE: Gopher rants

This is not a humane solution, and we try to block that part of it out of our minds, because this works for us. When we see gopher activity we find the hole, put a teaspoon of the poison into it and then close up the hole securely with soil and rocks. We have never seen a dead gopher on the surface and can only assume they die underground and that no other creatures are able to eat them. If there is a down side to this, other than the pain that the gophers are surely experiencing, I would be grateful to know about that.

Ingrid


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RE: Mole Traps

Okie doke.
Here I go to order them online.
No sense shilly shallying about.

Susan


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 28, 11 at 13:21

I use the black hole trap. I have a couple and use them over and over. It takes practice. The key thing for me is to put down traps the minute I see soil disturbance. If you can get the traps in before the gopher has created an underground network, it is easy to catch them.

Gopher


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Hoovb, can you explain the part about getting the trap down before the underground network is created? I have been pretty unsuccessful with the Black Hole traps, although they came highly recommended. I can't help but think that a lot of it has to do with my ineptitude with them. What do you think are the things you have gotten better at that are making them work better for you....


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RE: Gopher rants

Like Sammy -- We are in a situation where trapping is impractical. There are gophers EVERYWHERE here. We've "done" traps, and aside from affording a certain amount of satisfaction, it's useless, here.

Ingrid, I will not use poison -- and it has absolutely nothing to do with being humane. In fact, I have so much distaste for gophers, that I don't CARE if they suffer.

I DO, however, care a great deal about the various predatory birds who visit our hillside, along with the local crew of hunting cats, AND most importantly, our own dogs. I don't mind killing GOPHERS, but killing cats, hawks, dogs, and even -- yes -- coyotes I will not risk.

The dog, cat, or hawk that eats the dead or dying poisoned gopher is, in turn poisoned. That's just not happening here.

Jeri


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I'm another that doesn't seem to have gophers. Must be that they can't stand tunneling around the Kansas Flint! However the pack rats are an issue.....

For the gophers, might I suggest a nice Rat Terrier...they'll have a lot of fun and feed themselves on the gophers!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Musings blog


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Jeri, I completely understand what you're saying and those are my fears too except that in the four years we've been doing this the ONLY gopher we've seen above ground is one that our cat caught when we first moved here, before we started using the poison. Unfortunately he never did it again. We walk outside and spend time in the garden every day, and I'm very observant, but no dead gophers ever. Fortunately we have plenty of hawks, coyotes and other birds, not to mention our own pets, that all seem to be thriving. Nevertheless, I respect and understand your reasoning completely. I'm glad to say we're not overrun with gophers and actually haven't seen any activity since last summer when Yves Piaget was attacked.

Ingrid


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Wowsers. I just caught another with my Felco loppers....Whoopee. I'm guessing that the gassers didn't kill them but make them quite stupid.

Rat Terriers might be a good idea somewhere, but not here. I've got four Lhasas, and that's enough dogs. As it is there's hardly room in the bed for me.....:-))))


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You're lucky, Ingrid.
I'm sorry to say that we ARE frequently at the level I'd call "over-run."
Moreover, our dogs (not rat terriers -- Dalmatians) actually have dug out and killed gophers, on several occasions.
(Yes, this makes a Heque of a Mess of the "lawn.")
In fact, Clay found a dead gopher down the street yesterday, and has subsequently picked it up and put it in the trash. That one did appear to be a poison victim, so the trash is the place for it.
So, you see, I bet, why poison is not something we would ever consider.

Jeri
In Gopher-filled Camarillo, CA


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RE: Gopher rants

I can attest to the hunting prowess of Toy Fox Terriers, too. She hasn't been allowed to actually catch the gopher, but she definitely alerts me to their presence and where they are. If she pays more than passing attention to a spot, I know to expect activity. She's helped me get two of them know!


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RE: Gopher rants

The reason people rarely see gophers above ground it that for the most part gophers are nocturnal. They prefer to stay below ground in the daytime, and come up above ground at night. And yes, I know that they sometimes do come up during the day -- I've seem them myself -- but mostly they don't.

This also means that hawks usually can't hunt them, since hawks are daytime hunters. Their main enemy is the barn owl, but coyotes, bobcats, snakes, and of course dogs and cats will hunt them, effectiveness varying. My dog Freya gets about one every couple of years, and digs lots of useless holes in the attempt.

I caught my third gopher today. Three in one week! There are at least that many left in the garden, but I am feeling that at least I have some control here.

Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

Ahhhh, yes, gophers in the daytime. YMMV, but the only times I've seen gophers in the daytime were when I was out playing softball. Do you think they have more 'team spirit' at ball parks???


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RE: Gopher rants

The vibrations attract them. Ever read the instructions for those worthless electronic gopher things? Frequency usually increases significantly at first....


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We have a rat terrier but, since our property isn't fenced, he's always on a leash when we take him out. Even so, he's shown almost no interest in sniffing around for vermin. He favors bird poop, which he considers an extreme delicacy. He's a disgrace to the tribe of rat terriers but we're fond of him anyway.

Ingrid


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RE: Gopher rants

Mendocino Rose, with well over a thousand roses, you have enough to contend with without bothering about gophers. We forgive you your blessings. Especially since you have gifted the world with one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.

Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

Wow. I have voles. I dare not imagine the extent of my wrath if they were the size of gophers. My cats are richly rewarded every time they bring one to the back door. Hope you find a safe solution. PS: I LOVE "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou". I didn't even remember that exchange. Makes me want to see it again. Thanks. :)


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RE: Gopher rants

LOL, Ingrid. My new rescue Dobie considers horse poo to be the most delightful substance on earth. The only thing she chases are cats--MY cats.

I guess we are fortunate to only have moles. They don't harm the roses, but once they've tunnelled in your yard, it's like walking on foam rubber, and the grass soon dies. They don't eat it, but the tunneling destroys the roots.


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RE: Gopher rants

Oh, Ingrid, it's so good to have you back. My four Lhasas think that there is nothing quite so delicious as chicken poop. PeeU !!!! Now I am very careful about putting any chicken compost on the other side of the fence that separates the dogs' part of the yard from the chickens' side of the yard, but that doesn't keep the occasional chicken or group of chickens from hopping over to the dogs' side and leaving us gifts. The only thing the dogs like better (or as much) is the fresh egg that I cook up for them every morning.... Now if I could only teach the chickens to hunt gophers we'd be all set.


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RE: Gopher rants

The voles have killed three of my roses so far. I will kill them any way I can. The neighbor's dog got into my yeard and dug quite a few holes, but it eliminated the voles in that area.

Why with all the grass and weeds available do voles have to choose my rose garden for their meals?
kay


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RE: Gopher rants

Hello everyone,
After lurking here for several years, learning so much and enjoying it, I find I have to join the gopher rant. What all you folks need is a hard working badger. When we first moved here to the semi arid hills of SW Idaho, the gophers began their forays into our flower beds and did some real damage. Our back yard ends above a sharp drop to a draw full of sagebrush and native plants and populated with many a gopher and vole, coyotes, pygmy rabbits, the list goes on. After a couple of years, the gopher damage ended abruptly, and about that time I noticed a beady eyed creature standing below our backyard bird feeder. He looked sort of like a peeved raccoon, but very low to the ground. He glared at me, and I glared back, finally yelling at him to "shoo!", which he did. After he visited a few more times, I chased him with the dinner bell, which he hated, and I saw him no more. But I started noticing his digs in a long line below our house in the draw, and realized that this was one of the good guys. He had decimated every gopher within tunneling distance of our yard. I began my research on badgers, and found that they can dig faster than gophers, and rather than rundown prey, they just dig them out of their hidey holes and tunnels. The badger has never harmed anything in our yard, and I regard him as a potent ally. Go Badgers!


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RE: Gopher rants

Actually I have read that badgers are a good predator for gophers. I didn't list them because I don't think we have badgers in our neck of the woods (California). The first and only time I ever saw a badger was in Italy.

It's good to know that they are working for you, Nanadoll!

Rosefolly


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Nanadoll,
I am jealous!
kay


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I dunno. I only ever saw one badger in my life, and he was scary. I admit he was confined, which might have made him madder than usual, but my first impression wasn't so good that I would actually want one....:-))))))

Susan


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  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 31, 11 at 12:35

I investigate the first hole. There's usually a tunnel going two ways. One trap goes in facing one way, one trap goes in facing the other way (back-to-back). The first hole is usually the main tunnel, and the gopher is going back and forth in that tunnel. They are either at one end or the other. So the back-to-back traps get them. After they establish their tunnel network they can avoid the traps, so that's why it's important to get right at them as soon as soil disturbance occurs.

It is important to never touch the traps with your hands. I use a fresh pair of disposable nitrile gloves to handle and store them in a clean bag or under the eves of the house in the open air.


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RE: darned gophers

Thanks, Hoovb. I need to hone my gopher getting skills. My traps have definitely been handled (my helper has never believed me when I've told him not to handle them with his bare hands....a a r g h), so I think I'll haul them in and sterilize them and then start fresh.

I also have several of the cinch ones coming this week...

I AM going to get those bleeping gophers !!!!


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I've handled mine and it didn't seem to make a difference. Actually I recommend using leather gloves to protect your hands when setting them. I had one snap on my thumb because I wasn't careful enough. It left me with a huge bruise for days.

Remember, the cinch traps are not baited traps that lures the gopher. They are booby traps that get the gopher when he is trying to close a tunnel and block out the light. The lure is the light.


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RE: Gopher rants

" --that lure the gopher", not lures. Sorry folks, I edited that sentence to make more sense and didn't remember to take the S off. I hate it when I do that.


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RE: Gopher rants

Dontcha just hate that?
Dontcha just wish we could edit our own posts?
Egg is not my favorite shade of make-up.....:-))))

Susan


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Love Apple Farm

Rosefolly !!!! I can't believe I totally missed your message from Friday about the cinch trap guy at Love Apple Farm. and then I got really excited to see that they were on Vine Hill Road which is just spitting distance from me, but....boo hoooooooo That Vine Hill Road is in Santa Cruz which is farther south of San Francisco than the 50 miles I am north of SF.

Thanks for thinking of me, but I think that's more driving than I'm gonna do. I will, however, go back and watch the video.....:-)))))

Susan


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The gopher story takes a new turn. After removing five gophers, I haven't seen any more of their characteristic mounds of dirt. However, I am seeing lots of new holes. I studied them carefully and looked it up -- now I have voles! It seems that voles will often move in and take over abandoned gopher runs. So now I need to learn a new method of trapping.

Sigh.


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RE: Gopher rants

I'd like to say, "I feel your pain", but I have come to realize that it's always something. My dream rose garden has been restricted to my back yard because of the deer. Now that I have caged the roses out from that Mrs J planted, the dang deer are eating everything else they can find ! More plants to move.

Like Mendicino rose, I don't have gophers, moles or voles. All of which are smarter than I am. I am sweating and fighting to dig rose holes in glacier slurry. They are wise enough to know that is HARD work, so they don't tunnel in glacier slurry.

I tell myself as I am laboring to create a big rose hole, that I am creating something beautiful. I say it over and over while I dig and dig.

I have decide to take a season off from digging in rock to work on the rest of the garden and maintenance. Gardening is supposed to be fun, and it is most of the time.

I am totally convinced, Susan, that if you didn't have gophers to fight, there would be some other problem to deal with to create the garden of your dreams. I think is all a part of the process.

Smiles,
Lyn


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Cast of characters:

Beauregarde - 7 year old, 10# "Deer head" Chihuahua with bad eye sight.
Paddy - 7 year old, 6# Toy Fox Terrier
Gopher

This happened about two weeks ago...

I've battled a gopher by the front curb for five weeks. I've done everything I've always done to get rid of him, including every poison on the market. Nothing has worked. This weekend, I ordered the Cinch Trap from Oregon as the videos show it the easiest to use.
Late last night, I took the Toy Fox Terrier and the Chihuahua out to do their bedtime business. The Terrier acted very oddly, butt straight in the air and both front feet frantically drumming the ground. The Chihuahua, who has bad eyesight, tip toed around strangely. I tried to see what was wrong because the Terrier doesn't growl, but she was. I suddenly noticed something running along the base of the retaining wall toward Beau, the Chihuahua. It was the bloody gopher! He was down in the entry court and out of the ground! Beau and the gopher ran square into each other, knocking the gopher over and shooting Beau straight into the air as if he'd been shot out of a canon!
The gopher turned and began running toward me. The path is a bit over three feet wide between the smaller retaining wall and the front of the house. The only thing I could do was stomp him and it worked! Beau screamed, hit the ground, flew to the door and rammed it open to get inside. Paddy, the Terrier began barking as if she was going to eat somebody and was REALLY interested in the convulsing gopher. While I hollered at her "NO!", I ran to get the poop scooper to pick up the gopher and toss it into the large trash can I have to the side of the house before it could get away. The gopher was quickly dispatched. Paddy had refused to go into the terraces to do her business but went as soon as the gopher had been moved. Beau came back outside and was tip toeing as if he was truly grossed by the whole experience. I've never seen him as twisted as he was, trying his best NOT to come face to face with that awful thing again! Even this morning, he is tenderly tip toeing around front, making sure nothing is going to run into his face! I fear It's given him a complex. I can't stop laughing at the image of him twisted into a pretzel, tip toeing down the front walk, making sure he wasn't coming face to face with that thing again.
At 3 this afternoon, my gopher traps arrived!
Beau still steps gingerly out the front door and turns to make sure I am right behind him. He continues to cautiously walk down that walk, where he has done his business multiple times daily for about seven years. I guess to him, that danged gopher was the equivalent to a bear! Poor little guy. Paddy continues to hunt the thing. I guess she can still smell him there, though it was a clean kill, no mess to it at all. Yes, I have put his carcass back into his tunnels, as well as every cigarette butt, all the dog poop and the four cat box liners I was holding to put out on the back hill in hopes of diverting Purina (the danged rabbit)from the garden area. I'll continue washing that "stuff" into the now empty tunnels because I'm never digging out there! Kim


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RE: Gopher rants

Rosefolly, go to the post on skinks. There's a link to an excellent video on how to catch voles using mouse traps from Wal-Mart


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RE: Gopher rants

Here's another video on catching voles
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9cFspBjb-U

I tried this method and all I have to show for it are a lot of dirty rusty old traps and some very nice long nails.

Lyn, you are right. It's always something. Today it's the 27 degree weather after weeks of spring bringing out all of the beautiful new growth. A A A C K.

Gophers, moles, voles, weather.....Last year I considered paving it all over, but decided instead to just fight harder, and this year (if we survive this cold snap) it is going to be the most glorious display of roses I have ever had !!! I've converted all of my efforts to building, planting in, and replanting in gopher baskets.

Susan


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RE: Gopher rants

Susan..........

That's why I am taking a year off from digging rose holes in rock ! I ran out of determination, but it will be back .. next year.

Don't worry about the cold snap. It was 15 degrees here this morning and it's predicted to be colder tonight. The roses are fine. I don't have any die back. Of course, I haven't pruned, yet, and it's been too cold for new growth ... and too cold for me to even think of working outside, so I am just enjoying the break. I'll be working too hard soon enough.

Just keep reminding yourself that you are creating a beautiful garden to enjoy .. it's the only way I know to keep working as hard as you have been working this year.

Kim ... your story is a hoot ! I do wonder if I would have stomped the thing, tho'. I would probably have levitated and run inside before I opened the door and smashed right into it ! The dogs would have had to fend for themselves !

This morning a flock of robins feasted in the garden. Both my cat, Scamp, and I watched as they ate all of the berries and the few rose hips that had survived the winter months. It was a time of bliss for me ... then I had to go inside to do chores.

It is always something. 'o)

Smiles,
Lyn


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Oh, Lyn, when you've experienced what they've done to my roses over the past nearly thirty years, you'd be surprised what you will do! LOL! The danged thing's body was nearly the size of Paddy's and poor little Beau! He was terrified, and he's such a loving little guy. I couldn't leave them to do this battle by themselves! Kim


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Kim... I understand completely, but I really don't think I would have had a working brain in that moment and would have just freaked out as badly as they did !

I felt the same way when Scamp brough me a bably rattler to admire. YIKES ! What was I thinking ????

Yeah, I saved my cat and myself, but was totally surprised that I pulled it off.

Smiles,
Lyn


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RE: Gopher rants

i had moles like crazy but now have a gopher . I put the victor easy set wire trap in the hole and left it open . the gopher within minutes came by and tripped the trap and filled in his hole . I had also put a piece of juicy fruit gum in to entice him along . He took the gum .
I again put in the trap . this time I dug a hole further back and down to his tunnel . placed in the trap and the gum and covered it up good so the light was coming from a foot away from the original hole . He tripped the trap took my gum and buried his hole again .
this time I put 3 sticks of gum . Melted them in the microwave . Added in a spoon full of that mouse poison that comes in the green granules in the paper pack after grinding them up. We will see what happens . I will go out tomorrow and open up his hole and see if he is alive to bury it again .

On another front . the moles took a lot of this stuff and canned cat food with poison in it . I still have some so maybe they are saving it for winter time when food is scarce . The juicy fruit alone got rid of most of them one time .


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RE: Gopher rants

Aha, a resurrection of my old thread, and what an opportune time. I of course have only survived the gophers by putting everything into gopher baskets. It won't be long before there isn't even any space between the baskets covering my 1/2 acre.

On the other hand, there is still a large area of the back part of the property where the gophers still roam and chew, where roses were planted that have not yet been dug and replanted, and now.....I am going to have it all trenched for a new leach line, and the only upside of that is that I can't wait to grind up as many gophers as will do me the favor of getting in the way of the back hoe !!!! I'm spending the next few days red-tagging roses that will have to be dug up to avoid the trencher, cutting them back to nubs, figuring out how to avoid some of them, etc. It's not fun and it's not cheap, and sometimes being a landowner makes me grind my teeth....but then again at least maybe I'll get a windfall of dead gophers....

When talking to my sister yesterday she reminded me of a ditty we used to sing -- maybe on the camp bus? -- that went something like "Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, greasy grimy gopher guts, greasy grimy gopher guts...."

Bring 'em on !!!!


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RE: Gopher rants

"...greasy grimy gopher guts floated in mulligan stew." Sung to the tune of "The Old Gray Mare". Sorry folks. My older cousin taught me those resounding words that I still remember 55 years later. Our badger, or his/her descendents, is still at work, and there is no sign of a gopher out here in the desert hills. I'm knocking furiously on wood right now. Diane


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RE: Gopher rants

I used to live with my sisters in Connecticut next to a cop. We saw a gopher digging a tunnel in our garden, so we asked the cop for help. The macho man came over with his load of July firecrackers. He kept throwing them into the hole blowing up dirt with loud explosions. The cop was having a blast, but the gopher was scared to death.

We never saw a gopher after that.


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RE: Gopher rants

In case anyone else is getting snips and snippets of the song stuck in their head, relief is just a click away

Here is a link that might be useful: Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts at Wikipedia


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 24, 11 at 12:07

And I forgot my spoon!


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RE: Gopher rants

Gopher Goo!! No kidding, this stuff is great . . . it fills in the tunnels and burrows by using expanding starch material that actually feeds and repairs the plants while it fills up the left over holes and evicts the nasty gopher. If he gets bold and moves it around he gets sticky and then REALLY unhappy . . . when he does come out, and I have seen this myself, he is so freaked out he just runs off (usually with a dog or cat in hot pursuit at our house). Its natural and easy and nothing can move into the burrow because its now full. The gopher guru that you speak of from Gophers Limited likes it and sells it or you can get it at their website. Got a gopher? Go for Goo!! : )

Here is a link that might be useful: Gopher Goo


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RE: Gopher rants

Gopher Goo sounds interesting, and I'll keep it mind, just in case our resident badger, or one of his descendants, takes leave of the gully in back of our house. So far, no gopher problems in years. Diane


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RE: Gopher rants

"Great green Gobs of . . . "

I just told DH about Gopher Goo. He's excited!

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

I wonder what it would do for voles? Kim


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 14, 12 at 12:04

Sounds like it would work for most any burrowing rodent, Kim. Now if they could just find something for squirrels and rabbits I'd be all set!


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RE: Gopher rants

Hand grenades? I WANT to try them! Think of it, "self fertilizing"! Kim


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RE: Gopher rants

That was funny, Kim! Grenades work better than the firecrackers that the cop dropped on the gopher.


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 14, 12 at 17:49

I would love to use grenades on the rodents but it would blow up the roses too!


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RE: Gopher rants

Easier than shovel pruning and you're left with all those gorgeous, new planting holes, already fertilized! Kim


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RE: Gopher rants

If you want to get all "Terminator" on the little buggers, there is an outfit in Idaho that makes the "Rodenator!". I'm not kidding. Leave it to rural America ingenuity. This is the nuclear option.

http://www.rodenator.com/


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RE: Gopher rants

That's "way cool", but I'm still much more attracted to either grenades or dynamite. I'm not that attracted to the stink of KFC. hehehe Kim


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RE: Gopher rants

I've seen the video of the Rodenator.
No t'anks!

BUT DH just ordered some Gopher Goo, and we're gonna give it a try.
What I'm thinking is -- You know, you kill a gopher, and a NEW gopher will move right in to those lovely digs. :-(

But if the deserted manse is unavailabe, thanks to Gopher Goo, you're WAY ahead.

It's bad enough that the deserted orchard down the road is growing prickly cucumber, Russian Thistle, Brazilian Pepper Trees, Crown Vetch, et al ...

I really resent this. :-(
So, anything that will slow down the d*mned gophers has MY vote!

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

oh dear, because the ice-age sort of nixed much of our native flora and fauna, I used to feel a bit miffed when other people had such diverse life around them - here in Cambridge, the only animal life tends to be feral cats and insects. Yep, moles get a few gardeners going - not me though as I have zero lawns but it seems that there is something to be thankful for. As for badgers, our govt. is about to embark on yet another useless culling (bovine TB) despite all the results stating what a dismal failure this method has been in the past. It is hard, as I have been brought up to treasure living things but I have to say, the treasuring part fails very badly when another lily-beetle is unceremoniously squashed. Chopping gophers with loppers sounds a tad too grisly for me - they remind me too much of hamsters, the pets most beloved of my youth. Still, i guess i could harden my heart quicksmart if the chomping was so extreme.


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RE: Gopher rants

Once you've lost a few roses to them, Campanula, you don't find them cute.
However, the biggest problem with them is that in large numbers, they actually destabilize the ground, increasing flooding/soil-collapse problems.
Nope. Not cute.

(That said, I don't think I could lopper one.)

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

I found a humane way to deter gopher: stuff Irish Spring Soap down the hole. It's not as exciting as blowing up the critter into bits, but it's less blood and gore. Here's the info:

Posted by debbysunshine san diego (My Page) on Mon, Jun 9, 08 at 15:58

I did this when we first moved into this house with a true Ca. cutting garden and all the rabbits and raccoons gathered everyday to eat my plants all the way to the ground...Had some old small clay pots laying around, turned them over and placed a bar of Irish Spring Soap on each. The next morning I had lost bars, some had teeth marks, one was in little pieces around the garden but I've since located all the missing bars. But in over a month have had no animals in my gardens... Try the soap which is supposed to be the stongest odor so animals think people are present. The soap smell really good. I get a multi pack pretty cheap at Big Lots.. "


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 15, 12 at 17:14

I may try that soap thing for my rabbit problem, Strawberry. The dang things chew up everything around here! Roses, bulbs (escept for daffs), perennials, anything green gets mowed to the ground through winter and early spring. Once it's warm enough and there's a lot of green stuff around I have much less of a problem but it's getting anything to make it that long that's the hard part. I've used that critter spray before with some success, but come on now! It rains all spring and you have to be out there like 24/7 with the stuff for it to do any good. And it stinks to high heaven!


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RE: Gopher rants

I am convinced that there are only three effective ways to keep gophers from eating your plants. Those three are barriers, poison, and trapping. A good gopher dog would be a fourth, but my dog manages only one gopher every two or three years. She's a herder, not a hunter. I'm not willing to use poison, because if you do, you risk killing on up the food chain. My gopher problem would be far worse if a predator caught a sick gopher and ended up dying from the poison. I do have partners out there -- gopher snakes, owls, even perhaps a coyote or bobcat now and then. I'm not willing to risk my partners.

So I plant valued plants in wire cages (or occasionally nursery pots). Ephemerals take their chances and often live out their full life expectancy before they catch the attention of a gopher. And today with a sigh I got out my traps and set back to work. Winter is gophers' busy season, and also their season of reproduction, so I expect to be working on this project for the next couple of months.


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RE: Gopher rants

The entire line of hills here is over-run with gophers. Eradicating them from our property is not possible.

If I go down to the untended orchard remnant down the Lane, the land is so pockmarked with gopher holes that it's difficult to walk on. (That's not the ONLY problem with that property, but Invasive Plants are another issue.)

Like Folly, we will not use poison. Traps have only been marginally effective. Our dogs ARE mad to hunt them, and they DO catch a few a year, but their efforts leave the ground looking like the aftemath of a WWI foxhole battlefield.

So, barriers are the only reasonable choice, and we use both nursery squats and wire, depending upon the area, and the rose.

SOMEONE in the area is using poison. I've now found, down by the old orchard, two dead ringnecked doves, one rat, and one gopher. My neighbor found another gopher. We need to find and speak with the poisoner, before they kill hawks or owls, or the neighborhood cats.

Jeri


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RE: Gopher rants

One gopher down. Returned to the soil from which he (or she) came.


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RE: Gopher rants

Perhaps someone else suggested this and I didn't spot it in this long thread, but in order to control moles and voles, you can increase the predator population by adding owl boxes to trees. You can find plans on the internet for making them, and you can also adapt a jumbo-sized cat litter box for the purpose. Use the kind with a snap-on cover and drill holes in the bottom.


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RE: Gopher rants

apparently, there is some little bulb from Sweden supposedly used to deter borrowing beasties. Dunno myself. Am thoroughly in agreement with not using poisons though as even here, in our very urban environment, thrushes and other songbirds have been adversely affected by rampant use of slug pellets. A rock and a hard place, indeed.


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RE: Gopher rants

Spider Lily, we bought a barn owl box and put it up. Gophers are probably the favorite prey of barn owls, and they feed heavily on them. A nest of barn owls can quickly reduce gopher population and keep it low.

No barn owl ever came to live in it. After a few months I realized why. That haunting owl call I frequently hear at night is a great horned owl, and great horned owls eat barn owls. Now a great horned owl will eat a gopher now and then (and they probably do), but they much prefer to eat barn owls.

Natural solutions are often complicated. If they were easy, everyone would use them.

Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

We have many hawks out back, and I have witnessed a lot of dramatic hunts in my back yard--you have never seen songbirds and quail take off so fast as when a hawk is about to dive bomb them. Little birds fly straight into rose bushes at lightening speed to take cover, and hawks will dive into huge spruce trees, as I watch, only to shoot out a few feet from my face as I move closer to witness the commotion. The coyotes, the osprey, and the hawks, I'm sure, take out lots of gophers, but it was our badger that pretty much ended the gophers' fun time in Diane's garden. Bless his mean little face. Diane


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RE: Gopher rants

I just caught my second gopher of this trapping season, two in one week. Hurray! I suspect that there are about three more. Each gopher claims a large hunting ground, and they hate each other almost as much as we hate them. My garden is about an acre fenced, with another acre and a half of field beyond the fence. I let the gophers have at it out there. Too much to manage.

I've been out smoothing down old mounds so that I will be able to tell the new ones as they are created. The hard parts will be beds that are heavy mulched. I'm pretty sure there is a gopher active in my Front Garden. At first I blamed my dog, who likes to bury stolen socks in the garden, but then I found the entrance tunnel under the fence. Sigh.

Rosefolly


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RE: Gopher rants

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 20, 12 at 20:27

Hmmm...maybe if they made gopher birth control instead of poison it would work better?

We do have some hawks in the area. I've had them in my back yard and they're amazing to watch. But I don't think they take rabbits, drat!

We just had another coyote sighting (yes, in the burbs of Detroit we have coyotes!) last week. It got someone's pet and there was a big uproar. Personally, while I don't want to see anyone's pet get hurt, I'm rooting for the coyotes. Maybe they'll take care of the wrascally wabbits!


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RE: Gopher rants

We just filled up a burrow with Gopher Goo and flushed out a great big Granddaddy gopher in about 15 minutes time. It was so easy! We just got out our bucket of Gopher Goo, mixed it up with water until it was about like applesauce and poured it into the hole. We let it sit to plug the exits and then used the hose for a few minutes to get it down deep and make him come out or drown in the hole. In just a few minutes he came out all sticky and pissed off. Finally we get to be the ones laughing! We also gave some to our neighbor so they could use it too since our gophers are coming from them and they use it with the traps to push them toward them . . . Gotta love the Gopher Goo!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gopher Goo


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RE: Gopher rants

I use a very effective gas called "Giant Destroyer" and it is a god-send. They look like sticks of dynamite, come in 4 packs and can be found in any box store garden section. You light the fuse, stick it in the hole, and quickly cover it up - ensuring no gas is coming out of the ground anywhere and vwalah - the end. I've been using them for years to keep the horse pastures free of deadly holes. I just started using them in the garden this year as it became overrun with gophers. Had 5 different areas with gopher tunnels underneath rose/flower beds. One Giant Destroyer in a fresh hole leading to each tunnel and ... right now, all is quiet.

I love animals and it doesn't make me feel good to kill these guys. But - I also love my flowers and horses...


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RE: Gopher rants

Hawks don't kill many gophers, because hawks hunt in the day and gophers rarely come to the surface during daylight (though I have seen them up briefly once or twice). That is why owls are the main predator for gophers. They hunt when gophers are most likely to be above ground. Of course gopher snakes will happily go after them underground, but a gopher snake doesn't eat very frequently.

I have often thought what a pity it is that gophers don't eat exclusively poison oak and poison ivy, just as pandas eat exclusively certain kinds of bamboo. It that were the case, we would welcome them with happy hearts.

Rosefolly


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