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Gopher Resistant Plants: Truth & Fiction

The gopher problem:

  • Gophers can (and will) do a tremendous amount of damage to your garden and yard.
  • Those ravenous bottom dwellers will not only destroy your valuable plants but their holes are also a walking hazard.
  • In general, the roots of most plants need to be protected from these subterranean raiders.  My favorite defensive maneuver is to install a protective gopher cage at planting (there are also many other ways of dealing with these destructive critters; perhaps that is a topic for a different day).
  • However, there are a select few plants that don’t seem to need any special protection from the little furry terrorists and that is the topic of this discussion.

Pocket gopher photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocket_gopher

 

 

Gopher resistant plants (overview):

  • There are a select few plants that have a natural resistance to gophers.
    • The following list has been compiled from direct experience and legend.
      • The direct experience part comes from the fact that I have a major gopher problem in one part of my yard.  This war zone has proven to be a testing ground for gopher-plant resistance.
      • The legend part is just that; hearsay, rumors and talk.  Some of it is true, some of it has been proven to be false and some of it is a work in progress.
      • Please let me know if you have any specific experience or suggestions.  I will add your insight (with you as a reference) to this post.

      Note: The photographs are of plants in my garden unless credited otherwise.

The following article is organized into 3 basic categories and presented in this order:

  1. Gopher resistant plants (from direct experience):
  2. Reportedly gopher resistant plants (that I have no direct gopher experience with-yet):
  3. Plants that have been said to be gopher resistant and actually are not:

 

 

Gopher resistant plants (from direct experience):

Euphorbia genus

  • The euphorbia genus is a very diverse group and the appearance of the plants ranges from (cactus-like) succulents to leafy shrubs such as poinsettias.
  • The milky white sap of euphorbia is toxic and can cause severe problems; this is their main defense.  I discovered this the hard way after I got some of the sap of Euphorbia tirucallii on my arm.
  • However, the potency of the euphorbia sap is variable depending on the particular species of plant.  This variability is likely why some types of euphorbia are safe from gophers and other species of euphorbia plants are just another potential gopher victim.  On that note, I have heard that some gophers have actually eaten the plant called gopher spurge (Euphorbia lathyris).  I honestly find that hard to believe, but then again gophers are little furry monsters, so I guess its possible.
  • Below is a list of some of the euphorbia that are happily growing in my yard without any special gopher protection.

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Gopher resistant plants

Crown of Thorns, aka Euphorbia milii

 

Fire Sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli)

Gopher resistant plants

Fire Sticks, aka Euphorbia tirucalli

 

Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa)

Gopher resistant

Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa)

 

Indian Corn Cob (Euphorbia mammillaris)

Gopher resistant

Indian Corn Cob (Euphorbia mammillaris)

 

Cow’s Horn (Euphorbia grandicornis)

Gopher resistant

Cow’s Horn (Euphorbia grandicornis)

 

African Milk Barrel (Euphorbia horrid)

Gopher resistant

African Milk Barrel (Euphorbia horrid)

 

Tanzanian Zipper Plant (Euphorbia anoplia)

Gopher resistant

Tanzanian Zipper Plant (Euphorbia anoplia)

 

Candelabra Tree (Euphorbia ingens)

Gopher resistant plants

Candelabra Tree, aka Euphorbia ingens

 

Lavender (Lavandula)

Gophers have avoided every variety of lavender that I have planted: (Spanish, English, hybrid, etc).

Just an FYI:  Here’s a link to my earlier lavender care article.

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his Lavandula “Grosso’.

1/22/2014 Update:

Linda Melsher, a contributing reader shared that gophers have recently eaten her English Lavendar.  This is the first time I have heard of this.  However, it just goes to show that gophers will eat just about anything if they are hungry enough. 

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his lavender.

March 12, 2014 Update:

Marti Howell, a contributing reader living in the mountains of California shared some additional insight.  Martin states that gophers recently ate an entire planting of 6 lavender plants!  This is amazing and terrible news.  

As of today: April 4, 2014 ,

I still have multiple varieties of lavender growing in the middle of my gopher war zone and they haven’t been touched… and are growing quite well.  I am not sure what to make of some the other reports (see above).

May 4, 2014 Update:

Kimberly N, a contributing reader states that she has a major gopher problem and that they have eaten a lot of her plants but, “They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum…”

Gopher resistant

French Lavender (Lavandula dentata)

 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

I have large and small bushes of rosemary sitting on the edge of Gopher Country and the subterranean varmints steer clear of the fragrant plants.

Rosemary are very easy to propagate if you follow 2 key steps. See my how to article by clicking here.

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his rosemary.

Jan 14, 2014 Update:

Georgie Lee, a contributing reader from Southern California has shared some of her own gopher insight.  Although gophers have eaten her agave and citrus, they don’t touch her rosemary or society garlic. 

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with rosemary. 

Gopher resistant

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

 

Lantana (Lantana camara)

Lantana comes in a wide range of bright flowering colors.  However, the strong odor of the leaves/stems is rather challenging.  I personally can’t stand the smell of the leaves/stems.   However, I have a friend that actually likes the smell (to each his own).   To me ones with blue flowers smell the worst.  Therefore, I can understand why gophers would have little interest in lantana.  Different types of lantana have a different odor.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his lantana.

Gopher resistant

Lantana (Lantana camara)

 

Geranium (Pelargonium)

Geraniums have a distinctive aroma that is repels most animals.  I suspect that it is this strong odor which is the main deterrent for the voracious underground herbivores.

Specifically, I have heard that the zonal and scented-leaf geraniums are more resistant to gopher attack than the ivy-leaf type of geranium.

Geranium are a great plant to propagate. For information on my scientific experiment to determine the best propagation method, check out the 11/29/14 article I wrote The best way to propagate geraniums.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his geranium’s.

Gopher resistant

Geranium

Gopher resistant

Ivy Geranium

Gopher resistant

Scented-leaf geranium

 

 

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate gopher resistance is a bit of a quandary for me. The plants don’t give off a repulsive odor and the sap doesn’t seem particularly toxic; at least in my experience.

None the less, I took a chance on a roomer that pomegranates are resistant to gopher attack and planted a few pomegranates without cages.  It’s been about 2 years since I planted them deep in Gopher Country and there has been no noticeable gopher damage to the pomegranates.

Sept 19, 2013 Update:

Kevin, who is a contributing reader,  has shared some of his own personal gopher-pomegranate insight (This is an outline; his full text can be read in the comments section at the bottom of the page for Sept 19, 2013).  Thanks Kevin.

      • In his experience, the gopher resistance of  pomegranates depends on the cultivar.
      • Wonderful pomegranates are resistant.
      • A Pink Satin pomegranate was killed by gophers
      • Eversweet pomegranate has borderline resistance with gopher activity in the root zone.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his wonderful Pomegranate’s.

Gopher resistant

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

 

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus)

Apparently gophers can’t stand the strong smelling/tasting oils found throughout eucalyptus plants.

Gopher resistant

Silver Dollar Tree (Eucalyptus cinerea)

 

Rock Rose (Cistus)

I have no idea why gophers don’t touch the Rock Rose plant… They just don’t seem to like it.  Mine has been growing quite well on the edge of gopher lands.

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his, Cistus ‘Doris Hibberson’

Gopher resistant

Rock Rose (Cistus)

 

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)

(It is not actually a bamboo despite the common name)

The plant contains hydrocyanic acid, which can be potentially fatal to people if ingested.   The plant is attractive, grows very well in Southern California, and is well behaved.  It seems to grow better when it is not in direct sunlight all day long. I have not had any problems with pests;  specifically,  it has been untouched by gophers in my yard.

March 12, 2014 Update:

Marti Howell, a contributing reader living in the mountains of California shared some additional insight.  Martin states that gophers recently ate 3 Heavenly Bamboo in their yard after the gopher cage rotted away.  What a bummer! 

 

Gopher resistant plants

Nandina photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandina

 

Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)

Probably all of the salvas offer some gopher resistance. However, the degree of resistance for this genus seems to be less than other plants in this category.

For example, I have noticed a lot of gopher activity in the middle of several S. leucantha bushes.  The rodents don’t seem to do enough damage to completely kill the plant, but the critters do seem to munch on at least some of the plants roots.  The affected plants are spindly and thinned looking compared to other S. leucantha that I have planted in non-gopher ridden areas of the yard.

gopher resistance

Mexican sage (Salvia mexicana) with gopher hole in the center of the picture

 

Garlic (Allium sativum) & Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

Many say that gophers hate the strong smell of garlic.

However, I have also heard reports from the town of Gilroy (the garlic capital of California) that gophers are a significant problem for garlic growers there.  So who knows; perhaps the Gilroy gophers have adapted to what is growing around them in abundance.

Personally, I have lots of society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) on the edge of Gopher Country and it has remained untouched.  Note, society garlic is a different species than the culinary garlic that has been eaten by gophers in Gilroy, CA

Oct 29, 2013 Update:

Dallas, a contributing reader from Idaho says that potatoes, garlic, and onions are gopher food. 

Jan 14, 2014 Update:

Georgie Lee, a contributing reader from Southern California has shared some of her own gopher insight.  Although gophers have eaten her agave and citrus, they don’t touch her rosemary or society garlic. 

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with society garlic. 

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

Gophers don’t touch the Fountain Grass that has spread from my neighbors and is taking over a part of my yard. This African and Middle Eastern native plant has been very invasive in my area.  The good and the bad news of this plant are the same: the good news is that gophers don’t seem to touch it.  The bad news is that gophers don’t seem to touch it… and the sure-footed root system makes the plant a pain to pull up.  

May 4, 2014 Update:

Kimberly N, a contributing reader states that, “… The gophers also ate at least four achillea and recently two large pennisetum.  They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum…”

Pine trees:

Anything that produces pine sap and/or pine cones has been safe from gophers in my yard.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with Junipers. 

March 12, 2014 Update:

Marti Howell, a contributing reader living in the mountains of California shared some additional insight.  Martin states that as far as they can tell, Gophers don’t eat their costal or interior redwoods. 

Arabian Lilac (Vitex trifolia f. purpurea)

I have two Arabian Lilac that are living on the edge of my own personal gopher country and are growing very well.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with Arabian Lilac. 

Grevillea:

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species.  These evergreen-pine looking Australian natives do very well in Southern California and the ones growing in my yard havent been touched by gophers… Although the ones I have are in an area that is not frequented by the raiders.

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his, Greviillea l. ‘Mt. Tamboritha’ 

 

 

Reportedly gopher resistant plants (that I have no direct gopher experience with-yet):

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

This is one of the most toxic plants in the world and has been known to down a horse that has made a meal of its leaves. Apparently gophers somehow know this and don’t bother with the killer plant.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his Oleander’s.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, “I planted Oleanders and within a week a gopher pulled two of them down into his hole, he destroyed the plants. There was nothing left but a few leaves and the pest is still alive.”

April 21, 2014 Update:

Terri, a contributing reader from the San Antonio, TX area has shared some additional gopher insight.  Terri has a particularly bad gopher problem and they are doing a number on their Oleanders.  

Reading these last two comments is hard to believe, but those freeking gophers are born from below.

 

Gopher resistant oleander

Nerium oleander: Photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerium

 

Foxglove (digitalis)

The cardiac drug digitalis is derived from the foxglove plant.  From a treatment standpoint, this medication is notoriously difficult to titrate and a slightly change in dose can stop your heart.  Apparently, the plant tastes bitter and this flavor may be a warning for gophers to stay away.

Gopher resistant

Foxglove (Digitalis)

 

Naked ladies (Amaryllis belladonna)

The toxic alkaloid, lycorine, is the principal toxin in Amaryllis that gophers apparently know not to eat.

Gopher resistant plants

Amaryllis photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaryllis

 

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Daffodils are also filled with the toxic alkaloid, lycorine (see poison references above and below).

http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/narcissus.htm

Gopher resistant plant

Narcissus photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(plant)

 

Columbine (Aquilegia)

The columbine roots contain cardiogenic toxins that are highly poisonous.

April 4, 2016 Update:

Cat Young, a contributing author adds that: “Gophers DO eat columbine. I lost all of mine two summers ago, and didn’t know what had happened until I personally witnessed a gopher pulling one of them underground from the roots, just like in the cartoons. I had always thought that was for comedic effect, but apparently its real. Maybe gophers in other areas won’t eat columbine, but here in Fresno I guess they are haute cuisine. 

Gopher resistant plants

Aquilegia photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquilegia

 

Mugwort, Wormwood and Sagebrush (Artemisia)

Mugwort, Wormwood and Sagebrush are all very closely related plants.

I suspect that it is the aromatic smell and/or the extremely bitter taste that deters gophers (and deer).

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his artemisia ‘powis castle’.

Gopher resistant plants

Artemisia absinthium photo credit via via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_absinthium

 

Monkey-flowers (Mimulus)

The Mimulus species tends to concentrate lots of salts from the soil into their tissues.  As a result, the plant is very salty tasting.  The plant also happens to taste bitter.  This strong flavor may be why gophers don’t like these plants.

Gopher resistant plants

Mimulus photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimulus

 

Mint (Salvia)

The salva resistance does not seem to be as strong as other plants discussed above;  see Mexican sage (Salvia mexicana) reference in the above category of this article.

Mint comes in a surprising variety of flavors, including lemon mint and chocolate mint.

1/22/2014 Update:

Linda Melsher, a contributing reader shared that gophers have recently eaten her mint stand.

Gopher resistant plants

Peppermint photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppermint

 

White sage (Salvia apiana)

White sage seems to deter gophers for the same reasons as other plants in the Salvia genus.

However, religious movements have used “smudge sticks”  made of white sage to ward off bad spirits, which seems appropriate in this situation considering that the little underground gopher fur-balls are basically evil.

Gopher resistance

White Sage (Salvia apiana)

 

Sweet clover (Melilotus indicus)

Some have reported that the weedy looking Sweet Clover is the only plant that will actually repel gophers.

Gopher resistant plants

Melilotus indicus photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melilotus_indicus

 

Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis)

April 21, 2014 Update:

Terri, a contributing reader from the San Antonio, TX area has shared some additional gopher insight.  Terri has a particularly bad gopher problem and has shared the news that gophers in their area will kill Indian Hawthorn (see Terri’s comment at the bottom of this page).

gopher resistant plant

Rhaphiolepis photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhaphiolepis

 

California Lilac (Ceanothus)

Gopher resistant

Ceanothus photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceanothus

 

Breath of heaven (Coleonema)

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his, coleonema p. ‘Compacta’

Gopher resistant plant

Coleonema photo via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleonema

 

Strawberry tree (Arbutus)

Gopher resistant

Arbutus photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutus

 

Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

April 21, 2014 Update:

Terri, a contributing reader from the San Antonio, TX area has shared some additional gopher insight.  Terri has a particularly bad gopher problem and has shared the news that gophers in their area will kill Bottlebrush (see Terri’s comment at the bottom of this page).

That’s too bad for me, I just planted some unprotected Bottlebrush a few months ago in gopher country.  I have not seen any gopher activity yet, but based on Terri’s report, I fear that it will juts be a matter of time.  Ill keep you posted.

Gopher resistant

Callistemon photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callistemon

 

Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)

March 12, 2014 Update:

Marti Howell, a contributing reader living in the mountains of California shared some additional insight.  Martin states that as far as they can tell, Gophers don’t eat Deer Grass

Redwoods (Sequoia and Sequoiadendron)

March 12, 2014 Update:

Marti Howell, a contributing reader living in the mountains of California shared some additional insight.  Martin states that as far as they can tell, Gophers don’t eat their costal or interior redwoods. 

Thanks Martin, this is not too surprising to me because, gophers dot seem to eat anything in my yard that produces a pine cone.

 

 Palm Trees:

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem they haven’t touched his queen palms.

Coffeeberry aka California buckthorn (rhamnus californica)

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his rhamnus californica.

Arctostaphylos:

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his arctostaphylos m. ‘Dr. Hurd’

 

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird”

I have a lot of euphorbia growing around the yard…and as mentioned at the top of this post, gophers avoid them all.  Contributing reader Jose Hernandez adds another species to the list I haven’t heard of (blackbird).  Its a cool looking leafy euphorbia. Thanks Jose.

December 11, 2013 Update:

Jose L Hernandez, a contributing reader from Gilroy, CA has been battling gophers for over 5 years.  However, he states that the vermin have not eaten his, Euphorbia ‘Blackbird”

Epilobium:

May 4, 2014 Update:

Kimberly N, a contributing reader states that she has a major gopher problem and that they have eaten a lot of her plants but, “They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum…”

Left: pale willowherb (E. roseum)
Right: dwarf willowherb (E. obscurum)
Image credit/reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilobium

Myoporum:

May 4, 2014 Update:

Kimberly N, a contributing reader states that she has a major gopher problem and that they have eaten a lot of her plants but, “They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum…”

Naio (Myoporum sandwicense). Photo credit wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myoporum

 

 

 

Plants that have been said to be Gopher resistant and actually are not:

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Man this lesson was a bummer for me.  I bought a beautiful Bay laurel tree from a guy who grows them from seed.  The seller really seemed to know his stuff so when he said that the pungent smell of the plant was too much for gophers I believed him.

Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way that he (and I) were wrong to follow that logic.  Those darn gophers hit the base of the young bay laurel tree like it was gopher chocolate.  The remaining stump looked like a beaver got to it.

Gophers eat bay laurel

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis); notice the gopher cage on this one.

 

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Again, I took some bad advice (this time advice that I found online). I know, how dare I find info on line?  Well, now I am much more careful about the source of the information I get.

Anyhow, I planted a really nice loquat without a gopher cage.  Sadly, a gopher easily took it to the ground.

Mean Gopher ate Loquat to the stump

A Gopher killed this young Loquat tree. The stump looks like a beaver got to it.

 

Citrus (Citrus)

Citrus resistance to gopher damage is a bit controversial.

I have personally planted several citrus trees deep in Gopher Country and they have been doing just fine without any gopher cage protection.  However, I am starting to regret this move because one of them was recently attacked by a gopher.  After the gopher was.. uhh… “removed” the tree started to recover.  So yea, gophers will eat citrus, but it doesn’t seem to be their top choice.

However, I have heard other people tell horror stories about how gophers killed their beloved citrus.  That being said, it is interesting to note that several “organic” gopher repellent solutions (made to pour down their holes), contain some sort of citrus ingredient in them.

Jan 14, 2014 Update:

Georgie Lee, a contributing reader from Southern California has shared some of her own gopher insight. She informs that gophers have eaten her small orange trees stating,  “They chew through the orange tree sapling trunk like an underground beaver”

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Sateesh Lele, a contributing reader from the Bay Area, shared that although he has a bad gopher problem said that he has lost at least a dozen orange trees to gophers.

Gopher resistent

Nagami Kumquat; a type of citrus

 

Cactus (Cactaceae)

Some sources say that gophers don’t eat cactus.  I think this is false.

Perhaps cactus are not a gopher’s favorite food, but there is definitely gopher activity around some of my frightened cactus.

 

Roman/English Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) & German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

In my backyard Gopher County, Chamomile is just another snack.

I still plant German Chamomile, just in a protected spot.

 

Agave (Agave)

I recently trimmed up a huge blue agave (Agave tequilana) in my yard.  As I got into the task I started to notice the sensation of multiple stinging needles on my side.  I thought for sure I was going to see a swarm of ants when I looked to see what was causing the pain.  However, as it turns out it was just the irritating sap of the agave.

You would think that this type of dermatitis inducing liquid would keep a gopher at bay.  Not so; a  hungry gopher will definitely take down an agave (even before the plant is fermented into tequila).

Jan 14, 2014 Update:

Georgie Lee, a contributing reader from Southern California has shared some of her own gopher insight.  She informs that gophers have eaten her agave stating, “The agave was eaten like an apple”

Blue Agave

Blue Agave

Aloe (Aloe)

Unfortunately, I was again misled to believe that gophers don’t like the gooey sap of aloe.  I guess my gophers didn’t read the book, because they took several of my poor aloe down to the stump.

Gopher resistant plants

Aloe variegata with tiny Euphorbia obesa growing by accident in the right hand corner

 

Onions, Scallions, etc  (Allium species)

Many say that it is the strong odor of onions that deters gophers.  However, too many other people have told me that gophers have devoured their onions.  Therefore, I am putting it in the gopher snack section.

Oct 29, 2013 Update:

Dallas, a contributing reader from Idaho says that potatoes, garlic, and onions are gopher food. 

Gopher resistant plant

Scallions photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scallion

 

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

Several (online) authors have stated that the Butterfly bush is gopher resistant.  However, I have also read quite a few reports from other people who lost their Butterfly bushes to gophers.  Therefore,  I feel compelled to add it to this part of the article list.

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with Butterfly Bushes. 

Gopher resistant plants

Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

 

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)

I have seen a lot of reports proclaiming that gophers won’t eat potatoes.

However, I find this totally amazing and hard to believe.  I mean seriously, a big fat juicy potato should be a root lover’s dream.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the potato is in the Nightshade family.  None the less, I am now adding potatoes to the gopher food section.

October 29, 2013 Update:

Dallas,  who is a contributing reader from Idaho,  has shared some of his own personal gopher- potato insight.  Basically, his potato crop was destroyed by pocket gophers.  (his full text can be read in the comments section at the bottom of the page for Oct 29, 2013).  Thanks Dallas.

potato photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato

Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

Several (online) authors have stated that Hydrangea is gopher resistant.  However, I have also read a lot of compelling reports from other people who lost their Hydrangea to gophers.  Therefore, I feel compelled to add Hydrangea to this part of the list.

Not gopher resistant

Hydrangea (Hydrangea)

 

Beardtongues (Penstemon)

I had read that penstemon was a gopher resistant plant. However, a recent comment from a contributing reader has convinced me to move this option to the non-resistant section of this post.

May 4, 2014 Update:

Kimberly N, a contributing reader states that, “I wish penstemon was gopher-proof, but mine certainly were not.  All four gallon size plants vanished within a couple of weeks of planting in the fall.  The gophers also ate at least four achillea and recently two large pennisetum.  They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum…”

Penstemon photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penstemon

Penstemon photo credit via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penstemon

 

Hibiscus:

Jan 30, 2014 Update:

Tracie Mazlo, a contributing reader states, that although they have a very bad gopher problem, they have had good luck with Hibiscus. 

However….

June 29, 2016 update:

Jill Adams, a contributing reader states that “I have two hibiscus plants and hose little terrorists ate those too!!! Grrr”

I have recently heard a few other recent stories about gophers eating hibiscus and therefore, I am putting it down here into the not gopher resistant section.

 

Disclaimer:

Gophers may eat just about any plant if they are hungry enough.  When in doubt, cage the roots of your plants.

 

 

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.

158 comments

  1. As for pomegranates- my experience seems to say “depends on the cultivar”. Wonderful does not seem bothered at all, yet Pink Satin was clearly killed by gophers within a month of planting…. Eversweet seems to be borderline- they require watering to look well but have also noticed gopher activity around these, perhaps they are getting nibbled on enough to need help to recover but not so bad like for Pink Satin. Another unknown cultivar is also unaffected. All of these were planted in a straight row, roughly 4-6 feet from each other.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Kevin for this important and useful insight.
      Interesting preference those gophers have.
      Ill update the post soon with your comments.
      Thanks,
      Tom

  2. Hi Tom,
    Not sure if your “pocket gophers” are the same kind that we have in Idaho or not, but you can put the “potatoes” in the “gopher candy” department. In fact, if you want “pocket gophers” to make your garden their home – plant lots of potatoes, garlic, and onions. They have taken out my whole garlic patch before, but they especially like potatoes. The first year I harvested over 400 pounds of potatoes some of which were 8-9 inches long – then the gophers moved in and I haven’t gotten a decent crop of potatoes since (in spite of trapping the gophers as fast as I can).
    Some of your other suggestions sound interesting – I’m going to have to try them. Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the info Dallas
      Sorry to hear about your potato raiders. However, your comments make total sense.
      I was surprised when I heard that others didn’t have a gopher problem with their potatoes because it seems like the perfect meal for those vermin.
      Ill add your insight to the post soon.
      Thanks!

  3. Hi Tom,

    I enjoyed reading the information regarding plants tolerant to gophers. I live in Gilroy, CA and for the past five years have had to deal with gophers and moles. With the help of my cat Tomas, we have caught over 100 of these critters and still I see activity. It will be a never ending story… I can say that have not had one dead plant from gophers and/or moles from the following: artemisia powis castle, rosemary, rhamnus californica, arctostaphylos m. ‘Dr. Hurd’, coleonema p. ‘Compacta’, Cistus ‘Doris Hibberson’, Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’, Greviillea l. ‘Mt. Tamboritha’ and Lavandula “Grosso’. I will continue to experiment for more gopher and drought tolerant plants.

    Best regards,
    Jose

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Jose!
      Thank you for the note and for your awesome insight on your gopher resistant plants.
      I also agree, it is amazing-this never ending story of gophers.
      Great job to Thomas the cat… A good cat may be a critical part of the gopher treatment solution.
      Thanks,
      Tom

  4. Thanks for the great article. Sadly, I’ve had gophers eat agave and very small orange trees 🙁 They chew through the orange tree sapling trunk like an underground beaver. The agave was eaten like an apple. However, the critters in my yard won’t touch the rosemary or the society garlic. I’m in Socal.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for sharing your gopher experience; ill update the post with your info.
      And thanks for the positive feedback Georgie
      Sorry to hear about your gophers.
      It’s amazing the damage a little rodent can do.

  5. Bad news: Pocket gopher took out my large, old mint stand in just under a week. They also ate half of one of my English Lavendar bushes but seem to be ignoring a lot of regular and pinpoint ivy. Killed an established 9′ tea tree, too.

    My house is surrounded by properties that bred gophers; I had a dream of gathering propane from everyone’s BBQ’s, pumping in the holes and blowing up the neighbors’ yards! That’s how devastated my formerly lovely yard is, but fortunate for the neighbors my conscious mind is strong enough to constrain my unconscious wish.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Linda
      What a bummer; I know how you feel about the propane dream. Those underground killers will break your heart.
      That’s amazing that they went to town on your mint and lavender. I suppose if they are hungry enough, they will eat just about anything.
      How are you dealing with the gophers now?
      Sorry about the news, but thanks for the info.
      Tom

  6. I planted Oleanders and within a week a gopher pulled two of them down into his hole, he destroyed the plants. There was nothing left but a few leaves and the pest is still alive. I’ve tried many different types of plants that are gopher and rabbit resistant, both eat plants they are not suppose to like. I have had good luck with rosemary, society garlic, arabian lilac, butterfly bushes, hibiscus and junipers, anything else needs to be protected with chicken wire.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Tracie
      Thanks for the great info.
      I am totally surprised about your Oleanders. However, those evil underground critters never cease to amaze me. It just might be a testament to how veracious and durable those little buggers are.

  7. I so enjoyed reading your article and the associated comments in reply. For years I have waged a lonely war against these voracious critters. Now at least I know that I’m not alone. They have destroyed so many plants and trees and have cost me thousands of dollars. I will never forget the sight of huge tall Sun Flowers being pulled down into the root holes before my very eyes. They must have chomped on the roots and kept going till they had eaten the entire 8 foot high sunflowers ;-(
    I can however attest to the fact that they don’t seem to have touched my Wonderful Pomegranates, my Nandinas, my Lavenders, Oleanders, Geraniums, Lantanas, Queen Palms, etc but I have lost at least a dozen orange trees, peach trees, cherry trees, — the latter were prolific Bings with a tree trunk a foot thick! I have found the most effective way to keep them at bay is to use poison bait and wire mesh cages. But you have to be very very careful NOT to use poison bait around fruit trees or the cure could be much worse than the plague of gophers ;-(

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Sateesh
      I have stood helpless from a far watching a gopher pull down one of my young trees… reminds me of your amazing sunflower story.
      Those rodents can drive you to the edge.
      Yea, cages are so far my best solution too.
      T

    • please do not use poison bait as it can kill owls and other raptors who eat rodents.

  8. I am really pleased to see your list of gopher-proof plants. I would like to make these additions:
    We live in the mountains, so many of your plants won’t grow here. A friend had gophers eat an entire planting of 6 lavenders. They recently ate 3 of my Heavenly Bamboo after the gopher cages rusted away ( they last 5 years here). However, I have not had them eat my Oriental Poppy plants yet, which are mostly seedlings. They also haven’t eaten my Deer Grass. They HAVE killed several trees after the 5 years. So far, they haven’t eaten my Redwoods – either Coastal or Interior. They haven’t eaten my gray Santolina, although they have partially killed some plants by digging under them. None of the Santolina have been killed completely. Of corse, they do get huge (6-8 ft across).

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Marti
      Thanks for the great additions to the list.
      I am amazed to hear that those subterranean rodents ate rows of lavender. Wow!
      Ill add your insights to the list as soon.
      Thanks!
      T

  9. I live in Los Angeles. I am surprised you did not mention roses. I just bought a home a year back in gopher country and planted Blackberries, Citrus, Kumquot, Pomegranates, Avocado, Guava. and Roses.
    I have about 10 rose bushes that are 4 year older and they are doing quite well. Encouraged i have planted a lot of mini roses and geraniums and keeping fingers crossed.

    I forgot to mention that I am also growing fig and grapes.. so far so fine… (has been about a year)

    Rajiv

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rajiv
      Thanks for the note.
      It sounds like you are lucky, I have read lots of stories about how gophers love to eat roses.
      The geraniums should be fine on their own, but the figs are a gopher delight. The figs will be your “canary in a coal mine”. I would keep close tabs on that one.
      Best,
      Tom

      • thanks for the headsup Tom…and reading the stories is therapeutic ..
        I never realized I had a dark side until I met them critters

        -Rajiv

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          No prob Rajiv… Thanks for your note.
          I totally agree. These underground plant killers causing me to struggle with my feelings on varmint control.

  10. Gophers and Taxes ..
    in that order, keep me awake at night!

  11. I live south of San Antonio, in sand. We have tons of gophers. I have invested thousands and thousands of dollars in landscaping. Out of the original 18 oleanders I only have six left, and they are just hanging on. I would take Indian Hawthorn and bottle brush off the list too. I have been somewhat successful with wire baskets, but if they find something they like, the pesky little varmints will dig up come across ground then dig down to the plant. I go through phases where I declare war, but if you aren’t diligent they just move in from the boardering neighbors.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Is there nothing sacred to those freeking rodents?
      Thanks for the info Teri. I am surprised to hear about the oleanders but will add it to the post.
      Thanks!
      T

  12. I wish penstemon was gopher-proof, but mine certainly were not. All four gallon size plants vanished within a couple of weeks of planting in the fall. The gophers also ate at least four achillea and recently two large pennisetum. They don’t seem interested in the lavender, epilobium, or myoporum. I live across from a 3 acre field so it’s pretty much hopeless to control them.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the great insight Kimberly!
      Ill add your comments to the site.
      Apparently, very little is sacred to those marauding rodents.

  13. Hi – Here in Santa Cruz CA on the edge of 10,000 acres of wilderness, I planted ‘Anouk’ Green Lavender (Spanish Lavender) around two berms (apple & fig) with hopes of discouraging the subterranean monsters. I live in a serious war zone… after a brief reprieve they started devouring the Lavender. Thankfully the apples and figs are in cages, which I monitor daily. I have tried so many things. Naked ladies get ‘shouldered’, and pushed out of the ground… along with daffodils. Love thyme… including all variations of them. They allowed my orange trees to live 5 years without a hint of malice, then when they reached producing size… took out three whole trees! I have tried traps… which work only initially… till they catch on to them. Poison is NOT EATEN… just pushed out of holes. Car exhaust only drives them to other areas… along with flares. But they do return. AAAGGGHHH!

    • Can you clarify whether it is the gophers who love thyme or you love thyme because it is gopher proof?

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Hi Ginger.
        Good question.

        If you are referring to the comment from May 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm, that was from contributing reader PJ.
        Since that was not my note, I can’t say for sure. But the way I read that comment, it looks like gophers eat thyme.

        I have thyme growing here at my place, but it is all in protected areas.
        Therefore, I cant tell you with certainty from personal experience.

        Wen in doubt, assume that gophers will likely eat a plant.

        Good luck,

        Tom

  14. My experience with intense gopher attacks here in the San Bernardino Mountains is that the critters do not touch my vinca major or vinca minor. I plant the pretty all summer flowering ones around other plants and the gophers will pull everything else down, including marigolds which I thought would stink too much, but they leave the vinca alone. But they do eat my St. John’ s Wort, which is very frustrating. They seem to be able to dig through horrendous soil my husband can only dig in with a pick axe. Arggh!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rose
      Thanks for your note. Those gophers are really frustrating creatures.
      But thats awesome news to hear that they leave your vinca major and minor alone.
      Ill add that great insight to the site as soon as I get some time.
      Thanks a bunch!
      Tom

  15. Pumpkin and sunflowers

  16. Thanks for all the possibilities of what future plants I might try next, I live in Pinole Calif. Have a large variety of shrubs, flowering plants trees and vegetables. The little buggers eat everything I have tried . My pathway lawn has been replanted 3 times. The last planting , I put 2 layers of chicken wire, under the sod. The gophers dig through, and just pop their heads up through the hole and literally look at me. I just tore out the grass for the last time , leveled the ground again and put down decorative rock, hate the look , but had no choice. This year I have lost an 8 foot long section of geraniums that have been in the ground for over four years and were never touched before by the furry beasts. I have rosemary in my yard and lavender, never have been eaten on , so will fill the empty spots I now have with more lavender. Then cross my fingers and hope these four legged rototillers go find somewhere else to eat.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Aloha!
      You are very welcome.

      Its a bummer to hear about gophers eating everything in your yard… It is unfortunately a common story.
      They have pushed many to the edge.
      The way I see it, we are all in this battle together.
      I hope this site can be a place where our collective knowledge will help us to fight the underground scourge.

      Regarding the geraniums that those ruthless critters ate… do you happen to know the type of geranium?

      Good luck and keep us posted on your progress/insight.

      Thanks,
      Tom

  17. I am writing on behalf of Pearson Education India.

    This is regarding a request for permission to include image of Baseball Plant in our upcoming GK Book specially meant for children.

    I would be grateful if you could give us permission to reproduce the above mentioned as a part of our forthcoming publication.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you shortly.
    Regards,

    Sonia Bali
    Permission Coordinator
    Rights, Contracts & Permissions
    Pearson Education

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thank you for asking Sonia Bali

      It sounds interesting; Please send me additional information/details about the project.
      Overall: it would be an honor to contribute to a book that helps children.
      I only ask that you reference/cite the picture appropriately.

      Also: I have a higher resolution versions of all of my photos that would likely be better suited to print.

      Please provide additional information/detail about the book and let me know if you would like the higher resolution images.

      Best,
      Tom

      • Hi,

        Thanks a lot for your reply.

        It would be great if you could provide us with the higher resolution image.

        Photo Courtesy will be properly mentioned. Please provide Credit line as well.

        GK book is a general knowledge book which will help in increasing knowledge of school kids which will get them acquainted with famous personalities, famous places, culture etc.

        Baseball plant will come under rare species of plants.

        Please let me know if you would like to know more.

        Thanks and Regards,
        Sonia Bali

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hi Sonia.
          Thanks for the info, sounds great.
          Depending on your needs, I may have other photos that you may want to use.

          And thank you; more information would be greatly appreciated.
          In addition, if possible I would be interested in seeing examples of previous editions of the book.
          Also: do you also have a standard format for credit lines that I could use to provide you the information you need?

          Thanks!
          Tom

  18. how are your Bougainvilleas doing in gopher country?

    did some impulse shopping with a 6 pack beautiful plants..and waiting to hear happy/sad stories before planting..

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Great question Rajiv

      I have some Bougainvilleas on the edge of gopher country that are doing well.
      I am not sure if they are resistant to underground attack or if the subterranean rodents have just not discovered them yet.

      If it was me, I would err on the side of caution and put your new plants in gopher cages.
      Perhaps another reader has some specific Bougainvillea-gopher insight they could add.

      Best,
      Tom

      • To date your info is the best I found in 10 yrs. Started using cages 6 yrs ago. Put in beautiful veg gardens, rose & herb gardens and watched them wag back & forth then disappear or fall over, tree roses and all. So far have built 75 cages (they work) planted resistant plants, growing gopher purge & where planted deters the bandits. Tried poison but hate torturing them and have cats & dogs that will eat them and be poisoned. My only problem is in knowing just how big the cage should be to not damage the tree? P.S. I use 2″ x6″ & 8″ lumber (salvaged when possible) with hardware cloth wire you use, for bottom of all raised veg beds if that helps anyone else

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thank you very much Carla
          Those gophers are a real challenge.
          The story you told about actually watching plants disappear underground is painful, but I have been there too. Almost like a cartoon, but no fun.

          As far as the size of the cage; The bigger the better.
          I dont think it damages the roots. I have seen the roots grow into the actual cage with not noticeable ill effects.
          However, the real reason to have a bigger cage is you will be protecting more of the root zone from the marauders.

          Thanks and happy gardening!
          Tom

  19. Enjoyed your article and comments. We purchased an RV lot with mostly gravel in sunny AZ, to winter in from the Pac NW. We decided to put in some desert landscaping last year, unaware that the gophers would consider it their personal buffet. 9 months ago, besides crushed rocks, we put in a lot of latana, dwarf bottle brush, a couple of mediterranean palms, an ocotillo and some barrel cactus. About a month ago, we noticed the gophers had moved in. In the month, they have devoured every one of the latana plants, in fact, they used the latanas to camoflage the entrances to their tunnels. So am hoping to replace the ruined plants with more gopher resistent ones. The info about gopher cages is appreciated, and I love the pics of the plants. Being a novice, it’s always nice to know what plants go with those daunting names. I will pass along a hint I read on a different site…. some lady said she heard that gophers don’t like the scent from fabric softener dryer sheets, and she stuffs them down the holes. She said that seems to have slowed them down a little.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thank you for your kind words Ellen.
      And thank you for the great- if not depressing info about your gophers.
      Sigh… I am totally bummed to hear that the gophers make lunch out of your lantana.
      Good to know though.
      The fabric softener angle also sounds interesting.
      Thanks!

      • Sorry Dr. Osborne…..I looked again at the picture of the Lantana, and realize that was not the plant that was devoured… I’ve taken a picture of the remaining plant like the ones which were, but can’t find a way to attach it. I’ll try emailing it separately. However, I will say there were 2 of my lantana’s which were nibbled on; one subsequently died, the other is surviving, but one of the ‘branches’ was eaten off like a beaver would a sapling. I tried the fabric softener, I only placed one sheet per hole, and it didn’t seem to phase them much… found new dirt this morning right over the top of the dryer sheets! Glad they work for the lady. Again I apologize for my mis-identification of the lantana.
        Ellen

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks for the kind update Ellen
          Overall, it seems that gophers will eat nearly any plant. However, some plants seem to be lower on their preference list.
          Thanks again; the more we can share on these subterranean vermin the better.
          Best,
          Tom

        • Thank goodness for the clarification! I just replaced my whole front lawn with trailing lantana and was very concerned when I read the earlier report. I have gophers in my back yard but not my front yard yet. However, I decided that all my new landscaping from now on will be on the gopher resistant list. I planted rosemary in the back and so far, no plants have been harmed. We are finally getting a little rain today in the San Jose area, but it is just a trace so far; the drought continues. I was pleased to find this site last summer and discover that many of the gopher resistant plants are also drought tolerant, so that is the way to go now!

  20. This is the best thing I have seen to help us plant around the gophers. It has rekindled the love of all things garden. Thanks for putting the information out there. Armed with my Sunset Western Garden Book, I am off to make a list of the plants I am going to try. Once again, I will be surrounded by my favorite plants.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Your very welcome! I am excited to hear that I could have inspired you to get back to the love of the garden.
      Best,
      Tom

  21. Thank you . I moved to angels Camp Ca last year and tried to transplant my mostly native garden from the Bay Area.
    What was not eaten? Manzanita! Out of about 15 mimulus I have 6 left. I am wondering, I planted a black oak sapling, do you think the gophers would eat those roots? I am also wondering about redbud trees and dogwoods ?
    My sunflowers did fine last year. I threw in some cosmos around the base of the sunflowers which also survived. California poppies thrive, but I’ve tried Matilda poppy three times and failed. Which brings me to the question of tubors, plants that spread underground, since it doesn’t seem baskets would work. Any suggestions?
    Here In the Sierra foothills when I mention I lost a huge garden to gophers people just smile and laugh, say things like “my garden is cemented in.”
    Thanks again,,,somehow it is nice knowing I am not the only one suffering this fate
    Donna

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Donna
      It is painful having to battle these underground raiders.
      They seem to undermine the best of gardens. It is a battle for most of us here in the west.

      Basket cages is my last line of defense… but as you said, plants that spread by tubers underground will often wander outside the protection of the cage. So what can you do? A bigger cage, more gopher traps… there is no silver bullet. However, there are many other ways to combat the scourge. The only problem is that you have to be diligent because they just keep coming.

      That is great news about the Manzanita.
      I dont have experience with black oak, but perhaps someone else could chime in.

      Good luck and let us know if you have any other success stories or insights.

      Thanks!
      Tom

    • Hi Donna,
      I live closer to the coast in California and have a moderate gopher problem in my front yard. I also have a squirrel and blue jay problem. The squirrels and jays plant trees for me, mostly black oaks. I have about a dozen black oak saplings in my yard and the gophers don’t seem interested at this point. Some of the saplings are over 5 years old now.

      I experimented with planting daffodils around my gladiolas this last year. It is the first year my glads survived the summer. They won’t touch my bearded iris either, but the furry little freaks have no problem digging under them to get to other plants.

      I just bought a redbud and I am going to try and go cage free. My experience has been that California native plants don’t really get harassed by gophers too much. Otherwise, they would have been extinct long ago.

      Hope this helps!
      ~Brook

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Thanks Brook!
        Great insight about the “furry little freaks” lol
        Agree with you about the CA natives too.
        Tom

    • I am in the mountains (4500 ft elevation) and gophers love the soft soil. They do not touch my baby dogwoods, cedars, sequoia, black oaks or grapes. My little pear seedling got eaten and so did a bunch of native wildflowers.

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Great input
        Thanks!
        I am hearing from a lot of people that gophers dont eat and avoid areas where there are pines and similar plants.

  22. Gophers have gotten into my raised beds again. I have already torn up the beds and replaced the protective wire once. And now the ground is as hard as rock and digging out the beds is would be very difficult. Should I dig them up anyway? Or should I surround my raised beds with rosemary?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Cynthia
      Those little buggers!
      Sorry to hear about that, they are such a pain.

      For what it is worth, a while back I wrote an article about how to create a very cost effective garden box that is gopher proof and really doesnt require any digging. The ones I created with this method a few years back are still going strong without any problems. Check it out and perhaps something like this design could work for you.

      The rosemary is an interesting idea.
      Although gophers dont seem to eat rosemary, they will go around it.
      Therefore, I dont think rosemary will solve the problem.

      There is something I heard about as a gopher deterrent that might interest you.
      I havent tried it myself so I havent written about it… but some people say that gophers hate dryer sheets.
      Yea, the stuff for your laundry.
      Apparently, if you push a dryer sheet down each gopher hole, it offends the gophers so much that they abandon the area.
      So, it is an interesting thought, but like I said I havent tried it… and not sure if the dryer sheets would leach anything funny into the soil.

      Good luck,
      Tom

      • I figured out how the gophers got in. After some digging, I found they chewed a 2 inch hole in the submerged part of the box.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Freeking gophers!

          Having your garden box sit on top of the soil with a wire mesh bottom might keep them out.
          This is what I do and it works for me even though I have a major gopher issue here.

          Also:
          I know gophers dont like pine.
          Therefore, cedar or redwood might be helpful materials to use for the walls of your garden box.
          Cedar and redwood are also naturally resistant to rotting.

          Good luck!
          Tom

          • Hi Tom,
            I live in Northern Arizona and happened upon your site. I’ve used the gopher cages for years, but have found they do stunt the growth of things…but it’s the only way my roses have lived!
            The best thing I did was plant native seed for my flower beds and raised beds for the vegetables – with hardwire in the bottoms of the beds.
            I know that iris (especially native) is poisonous to the little devils. Seedling pine trees won’t cut it in gopher land. They need to be 2-3′ tall in growth at least.
            Good luck with the war. Jo

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Thanks for your insight Jo!

  23. Gophers ate our hibiscus down to nubs. I have found they dislike lavender, marigolds, nasturtiums, 4 o’clocks and geraniums. I’m in Southern California.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thank Jill
      That is great information and timely for me specifically.
      I just got a bunch of hibiscus plants on sale… and the seller told me that hibiscus was gopher resistant… Which of course I was skeptical about.
      I will definitely cage my hibiscus before I put them in the ground.
      Thanks for that and the other info!
      Tom

      • We are hibiscus growers and we can tell you that gophers LOVE hibiscus, as do deer, rabbits, grasshoppers, snails, slugs, and just about another living creature. Hibiscus are our favorite flowers, but definitely use gopher cages when you plant them. We have seen gophers eat completely through the crown of a 6 foot tall hibiscus plant and kill it in one night. The crown is their favorite part of the root system, as far as we can tell.

  24. Gophers are bleeders. Once they get cut they just crawl into their holes and bleed to death. Careful placement of broken glass with make this happen – in the tunnel or around the opening. I prefer in the tunnel or deep inside the opening to keep my dog safe from the glass. Persistance pays off because the little monsters are intelligent. I used to own a hardware store in a farming area. Gophers would kill a cherry orchard in no time at all. Instead of poison and traps I told my customers about broken glass and they said “cheap and effective”.

  25. I live in Tampa Bay, Florida and have bad gopher problem. petunia beds, Fox tail beds, vinca bed are worst damaged. No problem of any digging by gopher in CALADIUM beds!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Bala
      Sorry to hear about those darn rodents.
      But thanks for the additional insights.
      Tom

    • Thank you for the tip about caladiums. I just looked it up in the Sunset Western Garden Book and see it is toxic, which explains why gophers would avoid it! However it needs moist soil, not something we can plant here in California this year (or ever, if this Ridiculously Resilient high-pressure Ridge becomes a permanent part of our climate.)

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Hi Ginger
        Thanks for looking up the info/growing requirements of caladiums.
        As you say, unfortunately, we are in big trouble with our water situation here so they may not be the best option.
        Best,
        Tom

  26. It seems to me that it would be a good idea to bring in a few garden snakes. If there are no garden snakes eventually the rattlesnakes will find the gopher cities and kill our dogs.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Cynthia.
      Interesting idea.
      I have no experience introducing snakes into a yard.
      However, I have heard that introducing snakes to a new environment can be stressful for them, make it hard for them to hunt, and can result in their death.
      It sounds like you are asking about native snakes… However, just to be sure, I would definitely recommend against introducing non-native snakes of any sort. The introduction of nonnative species has cause countless (sometimes catastrophic) problems around the world.

  27. I am planning to plant some Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) along the fence line and also as a ground cover.

    how do they stack up against Gophers?
    Appreciate any advice…

    Thanks
    Rajiv

    Loc: Gopher HQ @ South Pasadena

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rajiv
      Good question.
      I do have a bunch of star jasmine growing in the yard.
      However it is on a very protected cliff edge that has not seen gopher activity.
      Therefore, I cant really say that I have direct experience to answer that question.
      However, it is my strong suspicion that gophers would eat them if given the chance.
      I would play it safe and cage the roots.

  28. El Cajon California 92021 (San Diego)

    Because were as smart as Gophers, look what is surviving in your neighborhood. That is the start.

    In my neighborhood the following are all survivors.

    Fortnight Lilly
    African Lilly
    Rosemary
    Fountain Grass – hate it
    Lantana – alternate Fountain grass, rosemary, and fill with Lantana. Add Society Garlic. Its WAR
    Jerry Choice
    Sticks on Fire
    Manzanita – again look to native plants
    Large Queen Palms
    Salvia Hot Lips
    Santa Barbara Sage
    Yucca – tall version
    Society Garlic
    Plumbago
    Geraniums
    Red Sensation
    Sea Lavender

    What is old in my yard, in the ground, and untouched

    Giant Birds – 8-10 feet high

    Now to win the war: Unfortunately I have many plants in cages in the ground

    Dwarf Fruit trees (lemon and Mexican lime)
    Drago
    Durante vines and trees
    Cactus – probably 5-7 kinds
    Mexican Bird of Paradise
    Papyrus
    Cardboard Palms
    Plumeria
    Belgium Lilly
    Lilly of Nile
    Succulents. I must have 10 different kinds. Flap Jacks etc
    Canas – probably would not eat these………all over the neighborhood untouched

    In Pots……….some of these are just invasive and some I am to lazy……..to plant in the ground yet.

    Bears Breech – invasive
    Philodendron – invasive
    Large Sedums
    Banana (ornamental and fruit bearing)
    Baby Queen Palms……..probably could go in the ground uncaged?
    Elephant ears
    Ficus – three types (invasive roots)
    Gardenia – if you can grow it do not tell me.
    Triangle Palms – I think they will eat these in the ground
    Canas………… probably would be OK in the ground ex cage…….all over the neighborhood
    Gazanias……….. bullet proof and drought tolerant. I cut them in spring with my lawnmower. I have wire down under them.
    Blue Yuccas………..unknown……….that is why in cages
    Little Sister…………Hawaiian
    O lu lu – from Kauai
    Fox-tail Palm. Unknown in ground. NOT light frost tolerant……. I cover it
    Grass – yes my little lawn is LINED with heavy duty wire…………its a war.
    Ponytail Palms. Unknown in ground. They do not mind being root bound.
    Madagascar Palms. I have one in a pot 8 ft tall……….they like being root bound.
    Margarita Bop. Bloom already.
    Kangaroo Paw. Ink Disease. Get the right type
    Red Bird of Paradise. Might be ok in the ground?
    False Yucca. Two types. These might be ok in the ground.
    Desert Rose. Poor baby’s do not like frost.
    Passion Flower. The plant that butterflies will NOT lay eggs on. Purple backset.
    Umbrella Tree – YIKES………..it does get flowers in the right situation
    Gold Dust

    I also have two LARGE planter boxes. 12 x 5 pressure treated with WIRE ON THE BOTTOM. I have lots of cool stuff PLANTED in them because the gophers cannot get it.

    I also have a standing vegetable planter box. Hum, 12 x 3. They cannot get that.

    Bottom line:
    Use the plants that are proven winners as your base.
    Fill in what you want in the ground with vinyl coated cages. Its a bear to do this but they cannot get to the main part of the plant. My garden is AWESOME
    Pots work excellent – but are more work managing them every few years. For exotics and invasive this is the only way to go. You can grow LARGE potted plants. Fruit trees, semi dwarf, are good with wine barrels.

    The darn GRUBS killed more of my plants than the Gophers last year.
    Add in the aphids, the scale, the spider mites.
    Add in the bud rot, the fungus, if you read this far your a COMPULSIVE GARDNER. Stop it now.

    Lastly, trapping them is poison free and EASY.

    Now the drought in California. Less Grass and weeds means less Gophers. But they may begin eating my fire sticks……YA RIGHT

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Greg!
      What an awesome list.
      Thank you for the well thought-out outline and insight.
      Thanks!
      Tom

    • I use exlax they die of dehydration.. if they die in their tunnel near your garden you may have to put up with the smell..
      In my world I love the smell.
      The smell of success!
      I hate voles,gophers,etc.
      Anything that messes with all the work I put into my garden must be terminated!

      These animals & the abundance of insects this year in the High Desert California have turned me into a SeriaL KiLLeR! :*(

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Lol
        Thats an inventive strategy.
        Do you have a formula, method of delivery or concentration of exlax that has been most effective?
        Thanks for the insight.. that’s a new one for me.

        And I totally know what you mean about these critters ruining your hard work.
        The damage can really push you to the limit.

        Thanks!
        T

  29. I have two things that are helping me wage battle with the gophers in our yard. One of them is our cat Jamus. He has caught 6 gophers in the past 2 months and endlessly tracks them looking for more. The other surprising weapon is a huge, volunteer tomato plant. It showed up in large planter box near our garage. Since we were in the midst of installing a french drain and had to rip out the lovely climbing rose that I had planted. I just ignored it, thinking I would transplant it later if it survived. It seems to be one of those varieties that spreads and spreads and spreads. We also have a young fig tree in the middle of this planter (it is huge) that is a replacement for the fig we planted last year that the gopher killed. Since the tomato took over, the gopher hasn’t gone near the planting bed or the tree! So we have tons of tomatoes, and maybe the tree will survive.

  30. I just thought I’d add that in my yard gophers have eaten down to nothing several plants you have on your gogher resistant list. Spanish lavendar, fox glove, mexican bush sage, 5 foot fire stick tree. They also killed a mature 20 ft orange tree. What seems to help is putting chili powder, the hottest you can find in the holes when you plant and periodical around the base of the plant I also pour it down their open holes but you have to keep it up. I’ve saved a second orange tree so far with the chili powder and I recently decided to plant rosemary around the base of all my fruit trees. My gophers are voracious but they have never eaten Rosemary. I’m hoping that if there are a lot of rosemary roots (They grow deep roots) around my citrus roots that the citrus will be protected.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Tameron
      Wow, thanks for the additional insight.
      That is very surprising that your gophers have gotten into lavender, fix glove, sage and euphorbia! Wow, first I have heard of them getting into those noxious roots. Thanks you for the important information.
      Tom

  31. Hi Tom,
    Have you heard about used Coffee grounds as an effective Gopher repellent?
    Their activity just spiked up in the last couple of weeks (due to hot weather I think) and just driving me crazy..

    Thanks
    Rajiv

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rajiv
      They are driving me crazy too.

      I have not heard about using coffee grounds as a gopher repellent.
      But I have heard from many sources that gophers are sensitive to smell, so the idea makes sense.
      Have you given the coffee a try or are you just looking for some additional solutions?

      Perhaps ill give it a try… I dont think it can hurt anyhow.

      Thanks,
      Tom

      • Acquired some good quantities last week.. so I tilled in some coffee grounds into the soil at a few places, (around old tunnel exits, base of uncaged roses etc ) , and did pour a mix of coffee grounds + water and sprinkled them on the soil as well..
        I will know in a few week and will keep us all updated..

        Thanks

  32. My sister has 40 yard cats on her property, and her gophers are gone.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      40 yard cats!
      That is impressive Cynthia.
      I bet she doesnt have any rodents of any sort.

      What does she do to protect the cats from the coyotes?

      Thanks,
      Tom

      • Two big dogs, plus the cat have a fenced in shenter. Cats can get in but nothing bigger.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thanks Cynthia
          Interested to see what that cat specific shelter might look like if you happen to have any reference links that would be awesome!
          Thanks!
          Tom

          • The cats were give to her because she has a ranch, and she insisted that the cats be fixed. If you want cats, I would advertise that you take in stray cats on craigslist.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Awesome points.
            Thanks Cynthia!

    • Has she traded one problem for another? I doubt she has 40 litter boxes setup and cleaned each day, so they are probably digging up her yard. Perhaps the same control can be done with just a couple of good hunting cats (not your typical indoor pet cats, but maybe adopted feral cats or from a farm.) Raccoons can also kill cats, so that is a risk of keeping them outdoors all night, but that is probably necessary if they are to control gophers.

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        lol… yea, there would be a lot of cat poo.
        The threat from Raccoon’s are a good point; they are also rather crafty at getting into protected areas.
        Any suggestions how to keep a good feral cat safe in your yard?
        Thanks!
        Tom

        • Our adopted stray cat Jamus, is an excellent gopher hunter. I think most hunters are pretty crafty and street wise about protecting themselves. We have a couple of people in our neighborhood whose dogs get out occasionally and roam the streets. I was worried the first time I saw them and Jamus was outside, but he knows who to hunt and who not to and he can climb. A true hunter has the intelligence to know who to tangle with, and while I don’t think he would go after a raccoon. I did watch my cat Simon (who is now deceased, old age) stalk and escort off our property two skunks. I was terrified they would turn on him, but they didn’t. If you are concerned you might create a safe zone for the cat, or a cat door into an area that the cat can escape to.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Ellen
            Its fun to read about your crafty cat.
            Corralling skunks is a special skill.

            Yea, I would like to create a “safe zone” or special enclosure or something before I collaborate with an outdoor cat.
            But at the same time, I would like to keep the outdoor cat outside.
            Just want it to be safe because the coyotes do roam around here.

            Thanks,
            Tom

      • Her pool area is a fenced in cat safe zone.

  33. Any comments/experience with Cape Honeysuckle? Thanks!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Kevin

      I havent tried growing it, but perhaps another reader has experience with gophers and Cape Honeysuckle.

      Thanks,
      Tom

  34. There is another approach that I use: dogs! Depends on the dog, though. My Jack Russell terrier is useless — he only want to chase trains and horses. But my old fox terrier once cleared a half-acre gopher infestation in two days. He was relentless, however the drawback with the fox terrier was that he would dig them out, so you get big holes all over. The best dog ever, strangely (?) is my half border collie – half greyhound. She just waits for the gopher to appear and then nails them — no gophers, no enlarged holes.

  35. Tom I to have lost alot of so called gopher proof plants. I know gopgers are Gods plows in grass lands. And on that part of the property. They di a great job. All new plant now get atleast 4 cloves of garlic. (Lots ofgarlic( alot of Pink Lady seeds too. BUT THE ONLY THING THAT DOES THEM IN IS BUBBLE GUM!!! No other predators are effected by secondary poison. I hate using poisons. Because of secondary poisoning. Also I’ve. Powdered potatoes. Not as good as bubble gum. Beachnut also works but it’s. harder to find. And you can chee it for your own enjoyment

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Tom
      Thanks for the insight.
      I am amazed but also somewhat excited to hear about the effectiveness of bubblegum.
      Ive now heard about its gopher-power from a few different people and I would have never guessed it worked.
      Do you just drop the gum down their hole or do you prepare it some way?
      Thanks,
      Tom

      • Tom,
        I have heard about the gum rumor too, but have yet to try it. Apparently it is supposed to be fruity gum, like Juicy Fruit, and you have to leave the FOIL wrapper on. It won’t work with a paper wrapper because gopher death is achieved by the foil wrapper binding the intestines.

        ~Brook

  36. I have rhubarb in my garden and the gophers don’t eat it. I know the leaves are poisonous so when I cut the stalks for cooking, I put the leaves over gopher holes. Don’t know if I’ve killed a few with the leaves, but do know that the gophers do not like or eat my rhubarb and it is also a pretty plant, although large. Gophers have destroyed a whole garden of dahlias.

  37. Writing from San Diego CA to say that here with our larger gopher war zone hibiscus is dinner for them. It has taken them some time to finish off each plant one by one, but none the less they have consumed them. As well as bougainvillea.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the additional info…
      Bummer to hear.
      Unfortunately, those subterranean monsters will eat just about anything.

  38. It has been a great New Year start for my gophers.
    Checking in today after the rains, and saw that the gophers have gnawed the stems of 2 of my 4 year old rose plants.
    I thought they had immunity given some of my other 6 year old bushes are doing good. Looks like they did not get the memo

    R.I.P Rosa Grandiflora
    You brought vibrant colors to my garden

    sigh! back to building cages ..

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Sigh… So sad.

      Quick thought:
      Before you discard the remains of your poor Rosa Grandiflora…
      Consider making some small cuttings and putting them in soil.
      Roses grow rather well from cuttings.

      The cooler temps also make this a good time of year to grow cuttings.
      Sooner you get the cuttings and put in soil the better.

      Procedure:
      Make 6 to 8 in long cuttings with a 45 degree angle cut at the end.
      Remove the leaves at the bottom part.
      Powdered rooting hormone may increase success rates but not necessary
      Put well draining soil in a container and push a hole a few inches deep in the soil with a dibble or finger.
      Place the cutting in the soil, push the dirt around
      Keep in shade while rooting and keep moist but not waterlogged… Dont let dry out.

      More details that might be helpful via this other site.
      http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/roseprop.html

      Best,
      Tom

      • Thanks Tom for the tip and the timely reply. I was planning to throw away the plant.

        Regards
        Rajiv

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Rajiv
          No problem.
          Hopefully we can make some good (new little plants) out of the destruction from the underground terror.
          Please keep us posted on your progress.
          Best,
          Tom

    • Hi Rajiv,
      Before a gopher was introduced into my isolated yard, I had nearly a dozen rose bushes. Most of them were miniatures, but I also had some hybrid teas, grandifloras and one floribunda. The floribunda is the sole survivor. I have also had success with Cecil Brunner and Lady Banks, although those get quite large. Hope this helps. Gardening is a life-long experiment.

      ~Brook

  39. I have had serious gopher issues for the past 2 years in eastern San Diego county in southern California. They were decimating my onion crop. Then I switched to alternating rows of onion and garlic. They would not come anywhere near the garlic, even with a once-coveted onion nearby. Now the gophers have moved to wrecking other areas of my yard but have at least left the garden bed alone. I have, however, heard of gophers eating garlic, both here and from other sources. Garlic may not be a gopher deterrent for everyone, but it worked for me.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the info Matt
      I have also heard some stories that gophers will eat garlic.
      However, I wonder… perhaps your alternating onion-garlic combo is keeping them away.
      None the less, it seems that gophers will eat just about anything.. but they do seem to have preferences.
      Thanks,
      Tom

  40. I found your web site when I googled gopher resistant plants. A gopher ate all our gladiola bulbs–none came up, but a gopher hole appeared one day. Our daffodils are doing well. Either the gopher didn’t like the daffodils, or our cat Ray-Ray killed it before it had a chance to get the daffodils. Yes, our cat Ray Ray killed it and laid it right at our front door beside his food dish, yay Ray Ray! I see that daffodils are on your list of resistant plants, which is encouraging. And Ray Ray is encouraging too.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Lisa
      Thanks for the note.
      Sorry about your gladiola bulbs.
      But go Ray-Ray!

      I need to get me a hunting cat.
      Is Ray Ray an outdoor cat or does he come in at night?
      My major worry for having a cat in my area is the coyotes and wondering if you have any insight about how to protect your cat.

      Thanks,
      Tom

  41. Tom,
    Are the popular Euryops gopher resistant? (Euryops pectinatus (Green Golden Shrub Daisy) )

    thanks
    Rajiv

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rajiv
      Great question, I have wondered the same myself.

      As a result, I as a semi-experiment, I have planted a bunch of Euryops throughout the yard (some caged and others not).
      Its been about a year and no gopher activity so far.
      So the preliminary results suggest that we are on the right track…
      None the less, those freeking gophers will eat just about anything if they are hungry enough.

      Looking forward to hearing any other insights/experiences from others about h ow gopher resistant Euryops are.

      Thanks,
      T

  42. Are osteospermums (African Daisies) gopher resistant?
    Hope they are .. or I have to replant them in cages 🙁

    Thanks
    Rajiv

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Great question Rajiv
      I have wondered that myself.
      Osteospermums produce awesome flowers.

      I have a bunch growing in one section of the yard and they haven’t been touched… but I don’t know if that is chance or an indication that gophers are just not into them.

  43. the gopher in my yard has eaten both my established lantana and a new lavender with in the last 5 days. I hate gophers. next step is the cage

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Wow… Lavender and lantana!
      Those underground terrors!!!
      Sorry to hear about your garden but thanks for sharing your experience.
      T

      • It is kind of disturbing to read Melinda’s comments about the Lavenders and Lantanas..

        I though atleast the Lantanas were untouchable.

        I had planned to plant a lot of lantanas next weekend and was very happy about not building the cages.. damn!

        Gopher infestation should be a mandatory disclosure in real estate transactions

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          I absolutely agree Raj
          Its totally disturbing news.
          I have a lot of lantana in the ground that is not caged. Currently it is ok… but it goes to shoe you that those gophers will eat just about anything if they are hungry enough.

          And yea, the mandatory disclosure in real estate transactions is a great idea.

  44. Gophers DO eat columbine. I lost all of mine two summers ago, and didn’t know what had happened until I personally witnessed a gopher pulling one of them underground from the roots, just like in the cartoons. I had always thought that was for comedic effect, but apparently its real. Maybe gophers in other areas won’t eat columbine, but here in Fresno I guess they are haute cuisine. (By the way, the word is spelled “rumor”, not “roomer”–you can edit this out of my comment if you want.)

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Cat!
      That is really a bummer to hear about columbine. Ill add your insight to the article.
      Thanks for the spelling correction, much appreciated.

      T

  45. They have not touched Japanese Privet,Podocarpus, Howea palms,Trachycarpus palms,King palms. Tree Ferns seem to be safe- all kinds. Cycads,Magnolia’s.Brugmansia’s. Cane Begonia’s of various types. Bird of Paradise- and GBOP. I have HEARD them gnawing on tree Yucca’s…the Yucca simply grew a tiny bit slower for awhile..then back to normal.
    For some reason Impatiens solderii is never touched by them..and its as succulent and juicy a plant as they come. One reason they are all over San Francisco is because gophers ignore them.
    Hibiscus.
    That’s the short list. If you have valuable palms not on this list and gophers…prepared to see them eaten in a week…or later if hidden. They WILL get to them.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Feeking underground monsters.
      Thanks for the great info Stan!
      Great insight about the surviving plants in SF.
      Ill add ur insights to the post when I catch up with my paying job-work.
      Thanks!

  46. nasturtiums = gopher food

    grew them first time (without cage) enjoyed the beautiful flowers for couple of months and then poof! last week found my plant gnawed through at ground level.

    MORAL: cage cage cage

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Rajiv
      Well, that is disappointing info about nasturtiums but great to know.
      Thanks and I agree, when in doubt (and even when not) cage, cage, cage.

  47. Paula Contreras

    What a plethora of information, thank you so much for compiling this and for your steadfast study (sometimes it seams at your own risk) of all plants in general. This article has been most helpful as we are on an acre of land where gophers have consumed most everything I have planted.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the great feedback Paula
      A lot of the information also comes from fellow readers. There are a lot of insights from the community of gardeners in the comment section.
      Thanks!

  48. I have two hibiscus plants and hose little terrorists ate those too!!! Grrr

  49. Do you know of any plants that will deter rabbits?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Great question
      I dont know any plants that deter rabbits.
      However, I do know of some plants that rabbits dont seem to eat.
      Perhaps not too surprisingly, they seem to be the same plants that gophers dont like (rosemary, lavender, euphorbia, etc).

      As a side:
      I have tried organic deterrents such as chill pepper flakes on the leaves and an ammonia soaked rag close to the plants… However, they havent worked for me. Irish spring seems to have some repelling effect on squirrels and may also work with rabbits, but I havent tried it with them yet.

  50. Two plants with no gopher predation:. rose campion, aka lychnis coronaria, and curry plant, aka helichrysum italicum. Not even a munch. Even the deer haven’t harmed them.

    Possible mitigating item, in the same bed there are daffodils all around, which gophers in my area never bother. However, the devils do tunnel under this bed so they have had the opportunity to sample the two plants I mentioned.

  51. Hi Tom,
    Back again 🙁
    fyi.. planted 2 sea lavender statice plants without cages. I planted them without cages after reading on the web that Gophers do not eat them.
    one of the plants was chewed through. Have pictures if interested.

    Cheers
    Rajiv

  52. I live near Los Angeles and have had success in stopping gophers from making holes in my yard by doing the following:
    1. Putting used coffee grounds in the hole AND
    2. Placing one or two dryer sheets inside, then
    3. Covering up the hole with dirt.

    They have stopped making holes in the yard for the last 2 months after I spent 2 weeks putting coffee grounds and dryer sheets in the holes.

    Having said that, I believe they have moved on to my crocosmias. Several disappeared and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then, one hardy crocosmia completely disappeared overnight – and I saw the tell-tale gopher lumps around the flowers (but no holes). So, you may want to add crocosmias to the gopher-eating list.

    I hate gophers much! Now, I have to figure out how to protect the rest of my crocosmias. I’m thinking of putting coffee grounds all around them, but I’m worried that the nitrogen may kill them. I’m off to do some research

  53. Great website. Our yard is a hotbed of pocket gopher activity so I’ll be trying some of the options listed.
    I’ve lost a young lemon tree (8-10′ tall) to gophers within a couple of years of planting it. The Meyer lemon replacement is in a large stainless steel basket and is still alive three years after planting.
    I also lost a 50+ year old fig tree (Mission, I think?). They just gobbled and gobbled the roots until it fell over, like the lemon tree.
    Our volunteer coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) and planted valley oak (Quercus lobata) all have survived ok.
    Our giant avocado tree (unknown hybrid which we grew from a seed) has never had a problem throughout its life.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thank you Al!

      Its amazing that the pocket gophers like citrus trees. I have definitely seen the same in my yard. However, there are some “resources that say gophers dont like citrus. Clearly wrong. Interestingly, I have even seen some “natural gopher deterrents” you can pour into their holes that have citrus oil as a main ingredient. As you and I know, these types of products are a waste of money.

      So sad about your fig tree… they do love figs for some reason.

      Great info about the live oaks. I am not too surprised because California Live Oaks and California Pocket Gophers evolved together.

      Also cool to hear about your avocado tree. The only thing that seems to bother my one remaining avocado is my neglect (Avocados are so cheap in the stores so I dont give it much attention), Phytophthora infection (my property is on an old avocado orchard so the bad fungus is all over), and salt burn on the leaves.

      Thanks!
      Tom

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