The sandy and sandy loam soils found in many areas of the Central Coast plus irrigated fields and landscapes are near ideal habitat for gophers, squirrels, moles, and other critters that like to burrow and also like green vegetation. Gophers can be especially troublesome in the spring as this is the time when young gophers are leaving home to set up a new burrow system some place away from “mom’s house.” As a result you may be finding new gopher activity where you have not seen it before.
There are several ways to attempt gopher control. The long used “tried and true” gopher trap is still effective. Remember, however, that you always need to set two traps in a burrow runway facing in opposite directions. Also remember that you may have to change the location of the traps in the burrow more than once to catch the occupant. Gophers are very wary and will quickly block off sections of the burrow if they suspect danger. Baits are also useful for control. Several brands of bait are available at garden and hardware stores. Read the directions for use and follow them carefully. The placement of baits in the burrow system is important to successful gopher control. Gas bombs can also provide effective gopher control. Again read and follow label directions carefully for best results. Bombs tend to be expensive and can be dangerous to the handler, so double-check yourself before you ignite the fuse.
If you have a problem with killing gophers and are trying to live with them, you can develop a landscape that is gopher-resistant or gopher-tolerant. Gophers do not eat everything – it just seems that way. You can plant trees, shrubs, and flowers that gophers will not eat or that will tolerate some gopher feeding and still survive.
Finally, plants can be planted in wire baskets in the soil, which will exclude gophers for several years or until the wire decays.