How to Protect Your Summer Garden from Gophers


Ah, summer. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and your meticulously planned vegetable garden is finally bursting with life. But wait, what’s that? Freshly turned soil mounds and wilted leaves hint at an unwelcome visitor: the gopher. These burrowing rodents can quickly turn your garden paradise into a battlefield, feasting on roots and leaving a trail of destruction.

Fear not, fellow gardeners! This blog post is your arsenal against the gopher menace. We’ll explore various strategies to protect your precious summer harvest, ensuring your backyard bounty thrives all season long.

Understanding the Enemy:

Before we jump into battle, let’s get to know our furry foe. Gophers are solitary creatures, spending most of their lives underground in intricate tunnel systems. They’re herbivores with a voracious appetite for root vegetables, tubers, and bulbs – basically, everything delicious in your garden! Their telltale signs include mounds of fresh soil, wilted and chewed plants, and even collapsed plant stems due to burrowed-out soil.

Defense Strategies:

Now that we know the enemy, it’s time to deploy our defenses! Here are some effective methods to protect your summer garden from gophers:

Physical Barriers:

  • Hardware Cloth: This heavy-duty wire mesh is your best friend. Line the bottom and sides of your raised beds (at least 18 inches deep) or bury it around the perimeter of your garden, creating an underground fence that gophers can’t chew through.
  • Fencing: Install a galvanized steel fence at least 2 feet tall and bury the bottom 6 inches underground, preventing gophers from burrowing in or climbing over.

Natural Repellents:

  • Plants: Certain plants, like castor beans, crown imperials, and daffodils, emit a scent that gophers dislike. Interplant these with your vegetables to create a natural deterrent barrier.
  • Castor Oil: Mix one part castor oil with four parts water and spray directly on plants and around the garden perimeter. Reapply after rain or heavy watering.


  • Live Traps: If all else fails, live traps can be used to capture and relocate gophers. Place them in active tunnels with bait like sweet potatoes or carrots. Remember to check traps regularly and release gophers far from your garden.

Proactive Measures:

  • Minimize Attractants: Avoid planting root vegetables and bulbs near the border of your garden, as they’re prime targets for gophers.
  • Keep it Tidy: Clear away debris and brush piles, as these provide cover for gophers.
  • Monitor and Maintain: Regularly inspect your garden for signs of gopher activity. Address any new tunnels or mounds promptly to prevent further damage.


Always check local regulations before using any trapping or repellents.

Combining multiple strategies is often the most effective approach.

Patience is key! Gopher control is an ongoing process, and vigilance is your best weapon.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a gopher-resistant haven for your summer garden. With a little planning and persistence, you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor, free from the pesky burrowing bandits.

Don’t let gophers steal your summer harvest! Take back control of your garden and savor the bounty of your hard work. Happy gardening!

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