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How to Tackle Gopher Control and Protect Your Garden in Portland

Maintaining a beautiful and thriving garden in Portland, Oregon can be a rewarding experience. However, if you’re constantly dealing with gophers wreaking havoc on your plants and landscape, it can quickly turn into a frustrating battle. Gophers are known for their burrowing habits, which can cause damage to your plants, irrigation systems, and even lead to potential safety hazards in your yard. In this article, we will explore effective methods and strategies to help you successfully tackle gopher control in Portland.

Understanding Gophers and their Behavior

To effectively control gophers, it’s crucial to understand their behavior. Gophers are small burrowing rodents that create extensive tunnel systems underground. They are primarily herbivores and feed on the roots of plants, making your garden an all-you-can-eat buffet for them. Gophers can cause significant damage to your plants, resulting in stunted growth or even death.

Identifying Gopher Activity

The first step in gopher control is to identify their presence in your garden. Look for mounds of fresh soil scattered across your yard, with an open hole plugged with soil in the center. These mounds are the result of gophers pushing the soil to the surface as they dig their tunnels. Additionally, you may notice plants wilting or dying, or signs of gnawing on tree trunks or roots. These are all indicators of gopher activity.

Implementing Proactive Measures

Prevention is key when it comes to gopher control. By implementing proactive measures, you can minimize the chances of gophers invading your garden. Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Install Barriers: Surround vulnerable areas of your garden with gopher-proof barriers. Use hardware cloth with small mesh sizes or bury an underground fence around specific areas to deter gophers from burrowing into your garden.

2. Plant Gopher-Resistant Plants: Some plants are less appealing to gophers and can act as deterrents. Research and choose plants that gophers are less likely to target. This can help reduce their interest in your garden.

Utilizing Trapping Techniques

If gophers have already invaded your garden, trapping is an effective method to control their population. Here are a few trapping techniques to consider:

1. Box Traps: These traps are designed to capture gophers alive for relocation. Place the trap near an active gopher tunnel, ensuring it’s well covered to prevent light from entering. When a gopher enters, it triggers a mechanism that closes the trap, trapping the gopher inside.

2. Tunnel Traps: Tunnel traps are designed to capture and kill gophers. Locate an active tunnel and set the trap inside, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. These traps are highly effective when used correctly.

Working with Professionals

In some cases, gopher control can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with a large infestation. Hiring professional pest control services can be a wise decision. Professionals have the expertise, tools, and knowledge to handle gopher infestations effectively. They can assess the extent of the problem and implement the most suitable control methods for your specific situation.

Preventing Future Infestations

Once you have successfully controlled gophers in your garden, it’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid future infestations. Here are a few tips to keep gophers at bay:

1. Regularly Monitor Your Garden: Keep an eye out for any signs of gopher activity. By catching them early, you can prevent significant damage.

2. Maintain a Tidy Garden: Gophers are attracted to unkempt gardens with plenty of hiding spots. Regularly mow your lawn, remove debris, and trim vegetation to reduce their hiding places.

3. Control Watering: Gophers are attracted to areas with high moisture content. Avoid over-watering your garden, as it can create an ideal environment for gophers to thrive.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of gophers invading your garden in the future.


Dealing with gophers in your Portland garden can be a frustrating experience, but with the right strategies, you can regain control. Remember to be proactive by implementing preventive measures, promptly identify gopher activity, utilize trapping techniques when necessary, and seek professional help if needed. By staying vigilant and taking action, you can protect your garden and enjoy its beauty without the constant battle against these furry pests.

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