Gophers can be a serious problem for a great many kinds of plants, and as a result gopher control is important for any farmer or gardener. Because of the threat of damaged plants from gophers, there are a wide variety of techniques and products that have been developed to control gopher populations, as well as keeping them away from plants. However, not all methods of gopher control are equally useful—and this is doubly true when considering the individual needs of the person whose plants are threatened by gophers. What follows is an overview of the different methods of gopher control, along with the various advantages and disadvantages that go along with them.
Gophers can also be poisoned using products available for this specific purpose. These can come in many forms, but the two main categories that gopher poisons are available in are bait and gas. Poison bait is usually left inside gopher holes, as gophers forage almost entirely inside their holes for plants and roots that extend into them. This can be done by inserting poison bait into existing holes, but using a gopher probe to locate main tunnels and digging down into them to place the poison bait is usually a much more effective strategy.
There are also a variety of devices that can be used to pump poison gas into gopher holes.
Gophers can be controlled effectively with ordinary mechanical traps. Trapping a gopher in an ordinary snap trap can be tricky, as gophers almost never venture out of their holes outside of certain very specific and rare conditions. As a result, anyone planning to trap gophers must use good planning and techniques. The most common strategies for trapping gophers involve either dropping a trap down an existing gopher hole, but anchoring it to the surface so it can be retrieved, or anchoring a trap to the surface, then finding a gopher tunnel and digging down into it to drop the trap inside. However, both methods result in the same thing—a lethal trap in a place that a gopher is likely to go.
When you use traps to control gophers, there are many strategies you can use to maximize their effectiveness. If a trap goes several days without catching a gopher, move the trap to a different location. Additionally, it is a good idea to put traps inside the main passageway of a gopher's tunnel system, which can be located using a commercial gopher probe.
While bait may increase the chances of catching a gopher, it is not required—it is quite possible to catch gophers using traps that have not been baited, assuming the traps are placed in an effective manner.
Carbon monoxide, or ordinary exhaust, is a very powerful and dangerous poison and can be used effectively against gophers. Carbon monoxide can be pumped inside a gopher hole using specialized equipment. These systems are essentially ordinary gas engines, focused around producing and directing exhaust.
Controlling gophers in this manner involves either renting equipment or, more likely, hiring a professional with dedicated equipment.