Keep Out, Critters: How to Deter Gophers From Your Yard

trap a gopherIf you take pride in your property, you’ll understand how infuriating dealing with yard pests can be. That’s especially true when your yard is being invaded with pocket gophers, who tend to evade capture due to their extensive tunnel networks. Knowing how to successfully trap a gopher can be quite tricky; therefore, getting rid of gophers is a task best left to the experts. But are there ways to keep gophers out of your yard from the start? They might not always take heed, but there are a few preventative measures you can take that may help.

How Do I Keep Gophers Out Of My Yard?

  • Set Up Physical Barriers
    Due to the gopher’s ability to burrow, installing physical barriers may not always work. But they can be a good option when you want to protect a specific area of land or specific plants and trees. You can try using what’s called exclusion perimeter fencing to cut off particular areas (such as a vegetable garden) with metal hardware cloth. This will need to be installed two to three feet below grade and six to eight inches above grade around the area’s perimeter to be effective. You can also use mesh wire fencing, wire baskets, or wire root guards to protect individual plants. The openings in this material will prohibit gophers from getting through, provided you install them deep enough. That way, if gophers do find their way into your yard, you’ll still be able to protect the spots you care about most.
  • Use a Repellant
    Gophers really don’t like foul smells. If you use odors to your advantage, you may discourage gophers from taking refuge in your yard. Even if you don’t think you currently have a gopher problem, you can apply a liquid or granular repellant into the soil or any existing burrows or tunnels you’ve seen. In addition to commercial repellants, you may find success with used cat litter or a device that involves a tin can (with both ends removed) and a rag soaked with urine. These options certainly aren’t pleasant, but many gardeners find they do the trick.
  • Plant Some Daffodils
    If you’re a fan of narcissus plants, you may be in luck. Many gardeners have found that planting daffodils on their property have alleviated the need to trap a gopher (or many) entirely. There are certain chemicals that are found naturally in daffodils that are toxic to gophers. They’re actually toxic to other animals too, so if you have curious cats and dogs around, you might want to plant with caution. But if you’re mainly focused on keeping the gophers out, go nuts with these lovely yellow flowers.

How Do I Get Gophers In My Yard Out?

Now, if gophers have already found their way into your yard, you may need to take more drastic action. Instead of trying to trap a gopher yourself, you’ll have better luck if you contact a gopher removal service. While the U.S. pest control industry n the U.S. has around 27,000 businesses currently in operation, gopher removal services are much more specialized — and are generally much more effective at getting rid of gophers the first time.

If you’ve had no success in trying to trap a gopher or several, give us a call. We’ve made this tricky business our central mission, and we know how to get results. For more information, please get in touch with us today.

Why Is My Yard a Gopher Magnet?

remove gophers

If you are reading this, you are asking one of two questions…

Question 1: “I have gophers in my yard. Why do I have gophers?”

It’s pretty simple: your yard is delicious. If your yard has any significant greenery or gardens in it, a gopher is ready to make it into its home.

They eat around 60% of their body weight in vegetation each day, including the roots, trees, grasses, herbs, and flowers in your gardens. If you notice your vegetable garden slowly disappearing and suspect your resident gopher is to blame, you are likely correct.

Gophers also enjoy yards that have soft, diggable soil and few predators around like cats, dogs, or birds of prey. If this sounds like your yard, there’s your answer — you have accidentally created a haven for gophers.

Question 2: “I don’t have gophers, OR I have already had to remove gophers. How do I keep them away?”

If you have had to remove gophers in the past, you know how pesky they are to your garden and yard. If you’re simply being proactive about keeping your green spaces pest-free, good for you; here is how to possibly deter a gopher if you’re worried about one moving into your land and want to avoid eventual gopher removal.

First off, remember that there are many gimmicks and wives’ tales circulating about what gophers don’t like. Suggestions like hot sauce, high frequency noises, and dryer sheets won’t deter or scare away gophers.

The best method for preventing yard damage from gophers is making sure your plants are protected and inaccessible to the underground intruder’s tunnels. The best method for this is planting in alternative spots such a window boxes, planters, and raised beds lined with heavy-duty gopher wire. If food is scarce or difficult to get to, your yard will be much less attractive to the furry pests.

For added gopher insurance, you could try to grow plants around your garden and yard that are theorized to be unattractive or repellant to gophers. One common plant is Euphorbia lathyrism, also called ‘paper spurge’ or ‘gopher plant’. Some people claim other plants such as castor beans, daffodils, marigolds, or oleander are unattractive to gophers, although the evidence is mostly anecdotal.

Still have questions? Still concerned about past, present, or future gopher issues plaguing your yard? Smith’s Gopher Trapping has all the answers you need with the experience to back those answers up.

Everything New Homeowners Need to Know About Gophers

If you’ve seen the classic golfing movie Caddyshack, you’re familiar with the damage gophers can cause. The tiny rodents may not be as cute and cuddly as the one Bill Murray faced off against, but their ability to dig tunnels and wreak havoc on your lovingly cared for lawn and gardens is accurate. New homeowners are especially susceptible to the common pests as they may not be prepared for the fallout or know how to remove gophers. With the basic know-how, you can tackle the beasts head on and avoid yard damage from gophers.

To Defeat Your Enemy, You Must First Understand Them

You have to know what you’re up against before you can move forward. With an average lifespan of one and three years, the same little guy can cause damage over several seasons. Their tunnels can span between 200 and 2,000 feet, depending on how much time went by before you decided you needed to find a gopher removal service — that could cover the entirety of your yard and even cross over into a neighbor’s. It’s better to keep an eye out for any and all signs of gopher damage so you can jump on the problem before it really becomes a problem.

Warning Signs

Since gophers eat around 60% of their body weight in plant matter every single day, odds are you’re going to discover evidence of their habits without even knowing what you’re looking at. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • gopher mounds: admittedly the most identifiable, these kidney-shaped piles of soil denote tunnel entrances
  • girdled or clipped vegetation
  • root damage or root exposure
  • water collection on surface: indicative of poor irrigation due to the existence of tunnels beneath the grass/surface
  • gnawed sprinkler or electrical lines

So You’ve Got a Gopher Problem, What Now?

You don’t need to lose your mind on a one-man mission to remove gophers from your yard like in Caddyshack. There are plenty of gopher abatement and gopher trapping services in this country as gophers are found just about everywhere, including humane services which protect the rodents and release them into uninhabited areas where they can tear up the ground to their heart’s desire. Do your research and find one that fits your lifestyle and budget, and enjoy your lawn and garden in all its pristine glory.

Test Your Pest Knowledge: Gopher Fact or Fiction?

gopher exterminator

Even if you’re a lover of all creatures great and small, no one wants to deal with a pest on their property. But if you aren’t overly familiar with yard-dwelling creatures, you might not realize that the one messing up your lawn is actually a gopher. The best way to remove these animals is to call a gopher exterminator. Before you do, you might want to familiarize yourself with some facts about gophers. Test your knowledge with our little test below and be sure to contact us with any questions you might have.


    • Pocket gophers were named as such because they’re small enough to fit in your pocket.

      ANSWER: FICTION. Your gopher exterminator might inform you that while these creatures are relatively small (weighing anywhere from eight ounces to two pounds, typically), that’s not why they’re called pocket gophers. Their name actually comes from another physical feature — their cheeks! They have large, furry pouches there that they use to hold lots of food (i.e., plants and roots from your lawn) to bring back to their burrows.


    • Gophers don’t live very long, but they waste no time in becoming independent and productive.

      ANSWER: FACT. A gopher’s average lifespan in the wild is one to three years. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about hiring a gopher removal service. These animals may breed only once or twice per year, but young gophers are weaned and ready to make their own burrows by the time they’re five weeks old. That means you could experience even more yard damage from gophers in a little more than a month’s time!


    • Gophers hibernate during the winter.

      ANSWER: FICTION. Some homeowners assume they don’t need to worry about calling a gopher exterminator in the colder months. But unlike some other yard pests (like groundhogs), gophers are actually active all year round. They can eat up your yard during any season and at any time of day. Just because you don’t see them all the time doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They rarely come out of their burrows when they’re busy eating up your yard!


    • Like moles, gophers are blind.

      ANSWER: FICTION. They aren’t blind, but their eyesight is pretty poor. Their hearing isn’t great, either! But to make up for it, they have a highly attuned sense of touch. Their tails and whiskers help them to navigate their environments — and their shortcomings definitely don’t hold them back from creating extensive tunnel networks underground!


    • Gophers are ravenous eaters.

      ANSWER: FACT. They may be small, but they can eat up to 60% of their body weight in vegetation each and every day. That means bad news for your garden or yard! Although they love tubers and roots, they aren’t incredibly discerning when it comes to their diets. They’ll eat herbs, shrubs, trees, forbs, bulbs, seeds, berries, grass, and leaves.


  • Because gophers are rarely spotted, it’s tough to tell when they’re in your yard.

    ANSWER: FICTION. They are a rare sight, but they do leave evidence behind. They create gopher mounds, which are piles of soil in crescent or kidney shapes with a distinctive “plug” that marks the entrance to their tunnels. Mole hills are somewhat similar in appearance, except that those are often symmetrical and cone-shaped. Gophers may also clip trees and shrubs just above the ground’s surface, damage roots of trees and saplings, or gnaw through electrical or water lines. But if you’re ever in doubt, you should contact a gopher exterminator to determine exactly what you’re dealing with.

Getting rid of gophers is no easy feat; many homeowners find out the hard way that they’re no match for these clever creatures. That’s why it’s important to contact an informed and experienced professional to handle the job. To learn more about gophers or to determine what pest might be plaguing your yard, get in touch with us today.

Gophers Vs. Groundhogs: Yard Pests Explained

gopher services

Now that your yard is lush and green again, certain visitors might come to feast on your grass and other plants. But for those who take pride in their garden, these furry pests won’t be a welcoming sight. Before you can take action, it’s important to know who is actually responsible for eating all your greenery and digging up holes. In today’s post, we’ll be talking about the main differences between two similar-looking animals: gophers and groundhogs. After reading this post, you should be able to determine whether you’ll need to contact gopher services to get rid of gophers or whether groundhogs are the true bane of your existence.

It’s easy to confuse a gopher for a groundhog (particularly when groundhogs are young). Both are brown-ish in color, relatively furry, and like to dig holes in the ground. But the two species actually aren’t even related. Before you start making plans to remove gophers in your yard, make sure that what you’re seeing actually fits in with the following features.

All About Gophers


    • Class: The animals that gopher services are familiar with are rodents, of which there are 34 different species in the western hemisphere. In the U.S., 13 different species of gophers can be found. These animals belong to the suborder known as Castorimorpha and the family of Geomyoidae. They’re related to pocket mice, kangaroo rats, and kangaroo mice. The pocket gopher is the most well-known type of gopher in these parts.


    • Appearance: If you’re thinking of contacting the experts for gopher trapping, taking a close look at the creature in question might give you a good idea of what you’re dealing with. From far away, these two creatures might look alike. But when you take a closer look, their appearances differ quite a bit. Gophers are quite small, typically weighing only two pounds or so. They also have hairless tails, pink feet, and protruding teeth (usually of a yellow or brown shade). They also have cheek pockets — this is where pocket gophers get their name from! — in which they carry food.


  • Eating Habits: Gophers will eat just about anything they can find in your garden (hence why so many homeowners have a need for gopher trapping!), but they especially love roots and tubers. This might explain why plants you’ve recently put in aren’t thriving the way you hoped. And because gophers can often stay underground to munch, burrowing and digging along their buffet route, it’s relatively rare to spot a gopher out on the surface of your lawn.

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with these creatures, you’ll be able to determine when to place a call to your local company that specializes in gopher services. But what makes these animals different from groundhogs (also known as woodchucks)?

All About Groundhogs


    • Class: You might have assumed groundhogs and gophers were at least related in some way. But actually, groundhogs are more closely related to squirrels, prairie dogs, and chipmunks than they are to gophers. Groundhogs belong to the marmot group, the Sciuromorpha order, and the Sciuridae family. They’re actually among the largest of the marmot group, which contains 15 different species total.


    • Appearance: As previously mentioned, groundhogs are quite a bit bigger than gophers, weighing in at around 13 pounds on the higher end. They have white teeth and a short tail covered in thick fur. Their feet are dark brown or black. And you’ll often see groundhogs moving around on the ground’s surface with a characteristic waddle.


  • Eating Habits: Groundhogs hibernate in the winter, but you’ll see them foraging for food in the spring and summer. Unlike gophers, who keep lots of food in their burrows, groundhogs focus on fattening up during the warmer months. They tend to love fruits and vegetation, though they’ll eat roots as well. And while they can create holes, their eating habits often result in more damage to your trees than to the ground itself.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to discern whether you’re dealing with yard damage from gophers or some other creature entirely. For more information on our gopher services, please contact us today.

The WORST Ways To Get Rid of Gophers (And What Really Works)

how to trap a gopherIf you’re an avid gardener or pride yourself on having a beautiful lawn, you know how frustrating it is to find that some creature has poked holes (literally) in your plans. Gophers, in particular, are a plague to many California homeowners because of how ambitious they are. They eat 60% of their body weight in vegetation (read: your plants) every single day and they make tunnels that can reach up to 2,000 square feet. Essentially, that means they can wreak havoc on your lawn — and they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of.

You might be wondering how to trap a gopher so that it won’t bother anyone ever again. While you may have DIY’d certain pest control tasks in the past, the truth is that gopher trapping is a lot harder than it looks. There are a number of methods that homeowners (and even some pest control companies!) have tried, to no avail. If you want to know how to trap a gopher, you should steer clear of the methods below.

Want to Remove Gophers? DON’T…

  • Flood their tunnels: Some homeowners will try to drown gophers using their garden hoses. It may sound like a foolproof method, but it’s really anything but. A gopher’s tunnel is expansive, with burrows to store food, raise young, and provide safety. Because these burrows are located closer to the surface than the actual tunnels, the water from your hose might not do much good. Not only will gophers like the softer ground for digging, but the water could end up damaging your property or even flooding your neighbors’ yards. In some cases, flooding can help you collapse their tunnels, but it’s usually not worth the trouble.
  • Use fire: You might be tempted to smoke the gophers out or resort to flames to get rid of the problem for good. Some people use gasoline, propane, or butane to light the tunnels on fire. But even if you manage to eliminate the gophers, you’ll probably do a lot of damage to your property in the process. At best, you’ll kill your grass and plants; at worst, you could lose control of the fire and end up setting a structure aflame. And while there are propane-powered devices that are meant to get rid of gophers, they can be expensive, impractical, or even illegal. In the end, it’s best not to take that big of a risk when figuring out how to trap a gopher.
  • Give them gum: There’s an urban legend that chewing gum can solve all your gopher problems. The idea is that if you put a stick of gum in a gopher tunnel, the animal will eat it and will eventually expire when the gum gets stuck in its intestines. While one Southern California man did actually hold the unofficial record for trapping gophers using this exact method, agricultural agencies actually discourage homeowners from trying this technique. It ultimately sounds a bit too easy, which may be why a lot of experts warn that you shouldn’t expect immense success with it.

Here’s what actually works: hiring the professionals. While the pest control industry grew by 2.9% between 2012 and 2017, that doesn’t mean every pest control company knows how to trap a gopher the right way. By working with the experts, you’ll have peace of mind that your property will remain fully intact and that the gophers will be gone in no time.

Gopher elimination is a tricky business, but you don’t have to find out the hard way that these aforementioned techniques won’t work. When you need to know how to trap a gopher, you’ll need to hire the experts. To find out more about our gopher removal services and why our process is so effective, please contact us today.

The Top 6 Essential Tips For Getting Rid Of Gophers

gopher netting

Gophers may not be your go-to animal when you think of pests, but don’t let that fool you. These hairy little critters can cause a whole lot of damage in a short amount of time. In fact, the tunnels that gophers burrow can reach between 200 to 2,000 square feet.

If gophers are making a feeding frenzy out of your yard burrowing tunnels in your landscaping, remember these six essential tips for getting rid of gophers.


  1. Start with prevention. Put wire mesh down beneath your flower beds before you start planting bulbs. This will keep gophers from burrowing their way into your garden.
  2. Take action ASAP. As soon as you notice a gopher problem, take action immediately. Gophers can product up to four offspring twice a year. What’s more, they can consume up to 60% of their body weight. That’s a lot of your landscaping being eaten away.
  3. Wear gloves when setting traps. When you touch gopher traps with your bare hands, you contaminate them with your scent. Wear gloves while setting the traps to keep the gophers from being able to tell you were there.
  4. Don’t DIY gopher poisons. In most cases, DIY gopher poisons don’t work and can be a general waste of money. Instead, hire a gopher exterminator who’s experienced in gopher elimination.
  5. Get the necessary permits you need. Before you can trap gophers, live or otherwise, you need to obtain the necessary permits in your area to do so. This is why another reason why it’s a good idea to contact your local gopher trapping service because they already have the permits necessary to remove the gophers from your property.
  6. Don’t forget to fill in tunnels. Once you’ve gotten rid of the gophers in your yard, be sure to remember to fill in the tunnels. When you leave the tunnels open, you risk more gophers coming back. What’s more, other pests could make their way to your yard including snakes, mice, rats, skunks, and beetles.

To get rid of gophers in your yard, it may be in your best interest to trap gophers using gopher netting. A gopher removal service can also help to ensure your garden is gopher free. To learn more about gopher netting and gopher abatement, contact Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service today.

Pest Problem? Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late: Gopher Gold With a Professional Trapping Service

gopher trappingGophers can be a nuisance on your property as well as pose a safety hazard to you and your family. The last thing you want is for someone to be walking in your yard and step in a gopher hole and twist their ankle.

You can try to scare these critters off or flush them out as much as you’d like, but a gopher is a resilient creature and can live between one and three years, and breed exponentially in that time frame.

Gopher removal is a viable option to eliminating your rodent problem, and if you’re wondering how to trap a gopher, then this guide is for you.

There are roughly three methods of gopher trapping that you can use.

Wire Traps

This kind of trap looks more like a spring-loaded pressure plate than anything else but can be an effective means of getting rid of gophers. When a gopher gets caught in a wire trap, it’s effectively rendered immobile by wire prongs. The original and probably most well known is the Macabee wire trap, although there are other variations that you could use.

Box Traps

Quite literally a box, this type of trap functions similar to a rat trap. Once inside the box, the gopher triggers a release mechanism and a spring-loaded wire bar clamps down, holding the gopher still. Box traps started out as wood traps but have evolved into a modern version, which is plastic. The Black Box Trap is one of the most well-known gopher box traps on the market today and can be an effective way to trap gophers.

Black Hole Traps

In essence, this trap is an evolved box trap that effectively tricks the gopher into entering. It’s shaped like a long cylindrical tube that is made to look like a gopher tunnel. Once a gopher enters unwittingly, a mechanism inside the tubing traps the gopher in place.

While going out and using one of these traps yourself can be an effective method in the short term, using a professional gopher trapping service is the best way to ensure long-term effects. Many gopher trapping services can humanely and efficiently eliminate your gopher problem without using poisons.

So don’t keep getting frustrated by the pesky burrowers, call a gopher removal service today.

Ground Squirrel Damage in Palo Alto California

Ground squirrel damage
Ground squirrels have burrowed under this walkway causing the bricks to collapse in Palo Alto California.

We get calls to get rid of ground squirrels All Around The Bay Area. The picture above is a good example of what customers have to deal with when ground squirrels burrow under their concrete. We are treating this ground squirrel problem in Palo Alto California and we have seen the problem reduced considerably. The damage will last for years and years so it’s important to stop these animals as soon as they are seen.

The methods we use to get rid of ground squirrels are traps and baits depending on the size of the problem and the location.
For example, we will trap a few ground squirrels near a school where they animals are digging holes in the grass.
But in a large Vineyard we may choose to use bait because of the huge cost associated with trapping large ground squirrel populations that occur on the peninsula.

Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service specializes in the control of ground squirrels, gophers, moles, meadow voles, and rats in the garden in the following Bay Area Counties: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda County.

We are licensed by the state to perform animal pest control. #39857

Contact us today for more information on our service options!

Not every gopher in a San Jose middle school field makes piles of dirt every day.


The above video is an example that we want to share with our customers to illustrate how they can have gophers hidden right underneath their feet. Sometimes the telltale sign of “kidney bean” shaped gopher piles are absent. This is a middle school in San Jose California where we are working to remove gophers from the baseball field.  We see this kind of damage throughout school districts in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Los Altos every week.

It’s easy to get rid of gophers in these kinds of settings with a regular trapping program. There is no need for poison. Gophers are easy to trap with the right technique. Smith’ Gopher Trapping Service has been providing gopher eradication to school districts in the Bay Area year after year with great results. We are safe, fast, and effective.  We have cleaned all the gophers out of more than five San Jose school districts as well as San Mateo, Castro Valley, Oakland, Novato, Mill Valley, and Los Altos schools.


Call Smith’s today for a free estimate for your home, school, Park, or commercial landscape. We get rid of gophers from Monterey to Mill Valley and in the Eastbay we go all the way to Concord and Fremont every week.