How To Get Rid Of Gophers Humanely

Gophers are cute yet destructive little creatures, according to Install It Direct. Not only are they a danger to natural grass lawns, but they are also capable of destroying some of the things we're most proud of growing: vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and even fruit trees. Where you live is also a determinant of whether or not gophers will call your lawn home (via 

Most of the United States has the perfect climate for gophers to thrive in, however, certain states in the West and Southeast areas, such as Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, are dealing with one or more than 10 different species of gophers. These areas typically have a high amount of clay and water in their soil for gophers to build a burrow and live their cataclysmic lifestyle.

Although they are pesky critters, especially to homeowners who take pride in their lawn and garden — there are plenty of ways to kick out gophers who have overstayed their welcome without causing harm.

1. Start planting repellents

Although gophers are known to eat every plant and vegetable available in your garden, there are some that gophers tend to avoid. Gophers are nearly blind and rely on their noses, so they have a strong sense of smell, as told by Pest Pointers. Plants such as lavender, crown imperials, rosemary, salvia, catmint, oleander, and marigolds repel gophers as they are typically not part of their daily diet due to the strong smells they emit, says Garden Design

As a bonus, these plants also are a repellent for mosquitoes. Homeowners should try using these plants as a shield around their flower or vegetable gardens to repel gophers from the plants that are most precious to them while also enjoying the smell of these flowers as they are pleasant to humans. Marigolds are specifically highly effective as gophers won't go near or even touch them (via Insect Cop). For homeowners who don't want to flood their gardens and yards with a large variety of flowers: Trees, shrubs, and bulbs can also be used to deter gophers, according to SFGate.

2. Ultrasonic repellents

A more advanced gopher repellent would be the use of ultrasonic devices that can be found anywhere that gardening or pest removal supplies. Solar-powered or powered by batteries, these devices can be placed almost anywhere in your yard, according to Install It Direct. Smiths Pest Management says these ultrasonic devices emit high-pitched frequencies that make living underground uncomfortable for gophers. 

The benefits of these devices are that they are a long-term solution and humane. These devices are also affordable, with prices ranging from $14 to $80 (via My Move). Some devices can even cover about 7,500 square feet of yard space. Also, humans cannot hear the sounds emitted from the device but can be very irritating for gophers, which will then leave to find a new yard. After the gophers have left their initial burrow, be sure to leave ultrasonic devices in other areas of your lawn to avoid the creation of a new one.

3. Essential oils

A common home remedy is peppermint oil, according to Install It Direct. To execute this method correctly, homeowners should put a couple of drops of peppermint oil on some cotton balls and then place them inside the tunnel entrances created by gophers. This is a safe technique that can help rid your lawn of gophers who particularly do not like the smell of peppermint for the same reason as to why they don't like certain plants. 

Not only is peppermint oil useful, but castor oil has also shown to be highly effective, according to Home Depot. Castor oil is not deadly but will cause discomfort to a gopher's digestive system. This is a quick solution that can be made right at home. Start by mixing three parts castor oil and one part dish soap. The recipe also calls to add four tablespoons of the formula to a gallon of water. Once complete, homeowners can drench the openings of their tunnels, and the gophers will then emerge. Compared to other home remedies, this formula has produced the best results.

4. Artificial grass

For homeowners who particularly don't care for gardening or maintaining their lawn, replacing your natural grass lawn with artificial grass can also work as a nice way of kicking out those who have overstayed their welcome. Once this is done, gophers will no longer have access to nutrients that are part of their daily diet. This is because there are now no more roots for gophers to eat, and they will most likely look for a more sustainable lawn, according to Install It Direct

Additionally, artificial grass is installed with a few layers, which can then make digging more difficult. However, this is something that should be conducted by a professional, says Heavenly Greens. Those who install artificial grass are typically well-versed in conducting a proper installation. The application can be difficult, so those who are installing artificial grass should also somewhat understand how to prepare the ground before laying down multiple different layers.

5. Install owl boxes

Owl boxes are also an effective way of repelling gophers. We all know that gophers are part of an owl's diet, however, owls can be a strong and natural repellent, according to Install It Direct. Their daily diet consists of rodents such as mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels, as well as a few bird species such as crows and hawks. So not only will they rid your property of gophers, but also any other animal that has taken a liking to your home. 

Once owls start moving in, gophers will get scared and hopefully start moving out. Owl boxes can be built easily by homeowners and have been proven to get the job done (via Tablas Creek). Although some gophers may fall victim to an owl, this is also a daily occurrence of the food chain — owls need to eat too. For homeowners who believe that this may be too risky, they can always try plastic owls first. However, plastic owls must be moved around quite often to ensure that gophers continue to believe that they are in danger.

6. Bring out the garlic

Not only are some humans repelled by garlic, but so are gophers. Although a smelly solution, using garlic is safe, says Permaculture. The smell of garlic is very strong to a gopher's sensitive nose, so dropping whole or crushed garlic will cause them to scatter and leave your lawn. 

If you would like some fresh garlic to make a sauce for your favorite pasta, then growing your own garlic plants can work too. This can repel gophers as well as prevent them from digging holes in your yard. Garlic water can also be used as a deterrent for gophers as they will not dig up dirt that has been drenched with the substance. Also, this is beneficial and safe for your plants, as garlic water can fill your plants with nutrition and facilitate growth (via Flourishing Plants). A typical garlic water recipe contains six cloves of garlic peeled and sliced fine, 2 quarts of tap or purified water, and 1 tablespoon of natural soap. This water should be stored in either a spritzer bottle or one mason jar with a lid.