I Had No Idea Gophers Lived Here

Holes in my backyard 1

It started earlier this winter, when the grass started to go dormant. I had a few mounds of dirt show up. As winter went on more and more mounds have appeared. It’s been interesting living close to the open desert and with a large plot of undeveloped land. I’ve had rabbits, scorpions, woodpeckers and now gophers. I have dozens of these mounds now and the consensus is that they are from gophers.

Now, what am I going to do about it (them)? I found a PDF from NMSU which describes various ways to kill them. This is a problem for me. I don’t use pesticides on a regular basis, only in extreme circumstances. I don’t use chemicals other than vinegar to kill weeds. I use chemical fertilizers to a minimum. I’m not against the nuclear option, but only if I absolutely have to.

The PDF from NMSU states that repellants don’t work. I could try trapping them. Trapping or poising them requires me to find their tunnels and dig holes.

On the bright side, the PDF does indicate there are benefits of gophers.

Although, in many cases, the damage caused by pocket go-phers is the overriding factor, the benefits of pocket gophers should be recognized. Some of these are:

  • increased soil fertility by adding organic matter such as buried vegetation and fecal wastes.
  • increased soil aeration and decreased soil compaction.
  • increased rate of soil formation by bringing sub-soil material to the surface of the ground, subjecting it to weatherization.
  • increased water infiltration.

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