Gopher Wire Rolls
Protecting Against Gopher Intrusion in Your Landscape
Gophers are notorious for causing significant damage to landscapes and especially lawns. In a residential landscape this can be a major nuisance, on a golf green this can be a very serious and revenue impacting problem. If you have a gopher population residing in an area where you are preparing to invest money and time into landscape elements which could be damaged or destroyed by gophers it
is wise to invest in a gopher barrier that will prevent mounds from appearing on your newly planted lawn, putting green or garden. Aside from natural elements, even artificial grass can be adversely effected from gophers which can actually chew through the material or attempt to burrow under which can leaves bumps and dips beneath the turf.
Gopher wire is a cost-effective and reliable way to protect both residential and commercial landscapes from gopher intrusion. It is designed to be placed beneath the lawn or planting area and is constructed of heavy-duty galvanized steel which is corrosion resistant. It is most effective when placed beneath the lawn or planting area and prohibits gophers from entering the landscape and causing damage.
The material can be installed either vertically or horizontally. Vertical installations are usually best for protecting planting areas from gophers. In a vertical installation the material should be a minimum of 36” deep and should be placed in a trench. If connecting multiple pieces of the wire be sure to overlap the wire to ensure that there is no gap. In a horizontal installation the wire should be staked and buried 1-1.5” below the topsoil. Multiple pieces should be overlapped a minimum of 3”. Sod can then be rolled over the area. If there are large trees close by it is a good idea to
contain the tree roots prior to installing gopher wire as aggressive roots can cause the wire to deform or move.
Many other methods of preventing gophers from hurting a landscape call for killing or hurting the gopher. The wire does not harm the gopher, only discourages them from entering the protected area. The material is available in a variety of roll widths and in a standard length of 100'.
If you have any questions regarding this material, it's application or installation please feel free to give us a call at (800) 524-4161.
Are your plants and lawn being destroyed by gophers? Gopher wire can effectively protect your entire landscape from gopher intrusion. The wire is designed to protect planting areas such as planter boxes, raised beds, garden areas and lawns.
Built from Double Galvanized Twenty Gauge Metal
Constructed out of double galvanized twenty gauge metal, the wire rolls can last from 7-12+ years and are available in different sizes, allowing the material to conform to nearly every landscape application.
Now you can finally stop all those burrowing critters and gophers that continue to damage all your plant roots!
Getting an Understanding of Gophers
If utilized in your landscape you will realize that the use of a wire barrier is essential in the protection of your plants from gophers. As mentioned above, gophers can cause significant damage not only residential landscapes but also cause havoc on a large scale in settings such as commercial lawns, orchards, athletic fields, nurseries, public areas and golf courses. One of these signs of gopher damage is loads of the fresh soil that dots the surface of the ground.
It is assumed by many that when you see a significant number of mounds that many gophers are involved, which isn't necessary the case. A single gopher can create a large number of mounds in a single day causing a great amount of landscape damage. This damage can interfere with lawn mowing which is an annoyance on a residential level and a major problem and potential significant expense when in a setting such as a golf course. Apart from the inconvenience, the mounds may have a huge impact to the overall look of the lawn.
Gophers are particularly attracted to areas such as vegetable gardens ornamental gardens, lawns and flower beds. They make a diet of small trees, shrubs, vines, vegetables and ornamental plants.
During their digging activity, you may notice that the plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems are becoming damaged and sometimes gnawed off completely. Even artificial grass is susceptible to gophers and it is recommended that the wire is installed below the grass to stop the gophers from popping up in the middle and damaging your new investment.
The Best Way of Combating the Costly and Destructive Impact of Gophers
Gopher wire is the best way of combating the costly and destructive impact associated with living in an area prone to gopher intrusion. As mentioned, they are often the reason why grass surfaces are destroyed.
It is specifically designed to combat gopher intrusion and even though they may appear similar to chicken wire, the difference is that the latter does not go through the process of hot-dip galvanization.
In fact, a lot of people are using hardware cloth incorrectly as a barrier. This is another welded product to purchase on the market that goes through the process of an inferior galvanization process and is not suitable for effective gopher protection.
The wire is a hexagonal wire mesh which a measures of ¾ across the hexagon flats The strand is twenty-gauge and goes through the process of galvanization. The material is also woven which helps it to be resistant on corrosion.
Controlling and Living with Pocket Gophers
Pocket gophers can definitely wreak havoc on crops, flower beds, and lawns. What many people do not realize, these small animals are doing what they are supposed to do. Research has shown that pocket gophers add incredible value to the environment carrying out their duties. In this article, we will give you many ways to eliminate pocket gophers as well as why we should all find another way to deal with these little animals and realize they are giving back to nature what is needed.
The southeastern pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis) resides in the southeastern United States They reside in dry, sandy soil along the coastal areas of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. There are two other species of pocket gophers that live in Oklahoma. The plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius) located throughout most of Oklahoma and the Mexican pocket gopher (Cratogeomys castanops), found in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Gophers are in the rodent family with broad heads, small eyes, and ears, and their tails range from hairy to only slightly hairy. Their paws have long strong claws for digging, and chiseled incisor teeth. They get their name from the furry external pouches on the sides of their faces for storing and carrying food. Some of their chosen foods include roots, tubers, alfalfa, grass, bulbs, seeds, and leaves, Their color ranges from light tan to brown, and black. Some are albino or spotted. Researchers have discovered pouch gophers use their tails for sensory purposes as they have very poor eyesight. They can move forward, backward, or sideways using their tails.
The average size of a pocket gopher is 6 to 12 inches long (15 – 30 centimeters) while the largest size is 14 inches. They stand 1 to 2 inches in height. Some are even larger, especially those in South America.
Gophers Vs Moles
Many believe gophers are actually moles but that's not the case. Both gophers and moles build tunnels but mole tunnels are only somewhat similar. Moles have slender snouts, little ears covered with skin, small needle-like teeth, and broad front paws with substantial claws.
Tunnels & Mounds
The location of a mound does not necessarily dictate the position of the tunnel. Pocket Gophers are very active during the course of the day. They rarely come above ground but might come out of their tunnels at night or on cloudy days. Overall, gophers have their own individual burrows within the same area forming colonies. They are solitary animals except during breeding or if they have young gophers. In general, there's one gopher for each tunnel.
Pocket Gophers can be quite valuable to the environment because they contribute to the formation and condition of soil and have been known to provide food for larger animals. Just because they do not have a particular significance, does not mean they should be killed. The only exception could be during the harvest season for grain and hay when their digging gets in the way or an area is infested with gophers.
State & Federal Laws
Currently, pocket gophers are not protected by federal or state law.
Methods For Pocket Gopher Control
There are several ways to control pocket gophers including, poisons, gasses, flooding, trapping, and natural predators. The most popular choices are poisonous bait and trapping. Over areas that are very large and have a lot of infestation, poison is probably the best way to go. Gophers that are not killed by poison will get right back to work and build more mounds but can be trapped individually.
By far the most effective and humane solution is to install gopher wire under the are of the landscape that you are trying to protect. Gopher wire is typically constructed of either stainless or galvanized steel mesh with a 3/4” opening. The wire is designed to have small enough openings to ensure that neither juvenile or mature gophers can fit through. This solution does not harm the gopher but simply blocks them from entering your lawn or planting areas.
Gophers can be killed in large numbers using Strychnine. Both alkaloids and sulfate are very effective poisons. Root vegetables including carrots or sweet potatoes can be cut into small pieces and treated with sorghum. They are eaten in some places during the fall when their food is stored. Prepared baits like these can be purchased from local garden supply stores or from pest control locations.
Two good baiting options include dropping the bait by hand in the underground runways. It's easier using a probe to find the tunnel by making a hole to drop the bait through. Probes can be bluntly pointed shovel handles, brooms, or pipes. A really good probe can be made from a 3/4-inch pipe welded to a blunt point and then cut three-fourths long. A “T” joint will slip over the main probe as a movable footrest.
In order to find the main runway, probe into the soil four to ten inches from the base of the mound, preferably on the side closest to the circular depression, or probe between 2 fresh mounds. You can increase the opening by rotating the probe so the poison will drop into the burrow. Take 2 or 3 pieces of vegetable bait or one level tablespoon of grain bait. Close the opening with grass then cover with dirt to keep out the air and sun. Only make one application for every 4 to 6 fresh mounds.
Place the baits in the main runways causing as little upset as you possibly can.
Do not leave poisonous baits on the surface because the gophers will not find them but these baits could harm other wildlife or even domestic animals. Keep in mind, that if the mounds are leveled when you work the area, the gophers will avoid treatment and start building new mounds. At some point, you might notice the new mounds. You can add new bait or traps and place them where required.
Another baiting approach involves using a tractor-drawn machine known as a burrow-builder. The machine will make artificial burrows and automatically drop poisonous bait into burrows. This machine was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is the best choice for larger areas. This machine is recommended when soil moisture allows for good compaction so the mounds will not collapse. In most areas, the soil conditions are at their best in the spring or fall.
How effective the machines are, will depend on the gophers finding the artificial burrows and the bait. The machine must be set so the artificial burrows will intercept the largest number of natural gopher tunnels. Under normal conditions, ten acres can be treated every hour using one and a half to three pounds of treated grain.
Strychnine-treated grain baits with a combination of whole oats and cracked corn, grain sorghum (maize) and cracked corn, or 100% grain sorghum have shown excellent results.
The materials used for killing off gophers are very dangerous to other animals as well as people. You must show extreme caution when using, handling, and storing these substances. You must carefully read and follow all the instructions on the poison labels.
There are different size traps for gophers. Small spring traps come in different sizes and are very popular. Another chosen trap is the box trap with a choker loop.
You need two traps and the best size placed on the main runway, setting each in either direction. Using a strong garden trowel or a lightweight shovel, find the freshest mound and then follow a lateral from the mound to the main runway. Clear an area in the main runway that's large enough for two traps. Be sure not to upset the surrounding area any more than possible.
Set the treadle or pan in order for the traps to spring. Insert the traps, jaws forward facing in opposite directions then press down firmly. Cover the opening in the burrow with grass or clod to cut off the light.
The traps should be fastened to a stake using a light wire. Once the traps are set, stomp down on the tops of the mounds so any new mounds made by the gophers will be obvious the next time you come back. You should visit the traps every morning and evening.
Keeping gophers from an area is not always a very logical or a good idea due to the expense. You can fence off valuable ornamental shrubs and landscape trees which can be cost-effective. The fencing should be buried at least 18 inches underground. The mesh should be buried deep enough to keep out gophers around 0.25 or 0.50 inches. Plastic netting placed around the entire tree including the roots can reduce damage to your newly planted seedlings.
Cultural Methods and Habitat Modifications
These methods can give us an advantage regarding the habitat requirements of gophers or their feeding behavior to reduce or even eliminate damage.
Varieties of crops include taprooted plants with roots that bury deeply into the ground. Some believe these plants can be killed or the plant's life is greatly decreased by pocket gophers feeding on their roots. There are taproot plants, like alfalfa, with several large roots that will not suffer when gophers feed on them and actually eliminate damage.
There are several good reasons for crop rotation. One is being able to reduce problems caused by pocket gophers. When you rotate alfalfa with grain crops, the habitat cannot support pocket gophers. Annual grains cannot establish large underground storage structures and therefore will not produce sufficient food for gophers to live on throughout the year.
Grain Buffer Strips
Planting grain buffer strips around your hay fields will create inadequate habitats and thereby decrease the immigration of gophers.
This can affect gophers in two ways. More than likely, the soil will be too sticky which will bother the gopher's fur and build up on their claws making the area a poor choice in habitats. Another way is when the soil is saturated with water, it will prevent the diffusion of gases moving in and out of the burrows creating an unfriendly environment. This method can be improved by removing high locations in fields that have worked as refuges for gophers during irrigation.
You can protect utility cables and irrigation lines by wrapping them in material that is at least 2.1 inches in diameter on the outside. Cables can be protected whether they are armored or not. Certain metals that are soft like aluminum or lead should not be used to protect cables because the pocket gophers can easily damage them if the diameter is less than recommended.
The Cost Of Damage And Control
It's quite easy to realize the cost of lost crops caused by pocket gophers. The Southern pocket gopher population is approximately 32 per acre decreasing the forage yield by 25% on the foothills in California where almost all the plants are annuals. Plains pocket gophers reduced forage yield on range land in Western Nebraska between 21 and 49% on different range sites and the reduction of alfalfa by 35%.
It can be difficult to calculate the cost of control and the benefits are still pretty much unclear. More research is needed to manage forage recovery. A study regarding northern pocket gopher control on ranges in Alberta revealed that forage yield increased by 16% three months after treatment.
Other issues with the economic analysis include the cost of control, the increase of pocket gopher infestation, and the overall cost due to dulled or plugged mowing machinery or machinery breakdowns caused by mounds.
There should be an economic analysis for damages to cables, irrigation pipes, trees, etc. Other complications involving this analysis include the benefits of pocket gophers such as:
The increased soil fertility by adding organic matter such as vegetation and fecal wastes. Also, increased soil aeration and the decreased compaction of soil, an increase of water infiltration, and the decrease of runoff. The increase rate of soil formation by bringing sub-soil matter to the surface and exposing it to weather.
Decisions can be weighed by whether pocket gophers should be controlled or realizing their long-term benefits which are not always recognized or obvious but can be damaging in the short term.
Final Thoughts - there should be a positive way for controlling pocket gophers and manage the population without destroying the entire species. A good management program is far better than extermination. Pocket gophers add many valuable assets to the environment. Attempting to exterminate any species can harm the virtue of ecosystems that we cannot possibly predict or understand. We do not fully understand or have the knowledge regarding the structure and function of these ecosystems. Let alone, the incredible value pocket gophers possibly have on our planet.