How to Get Rid of Moles and Gophers Effectively

Written by Ivy

Jan 06 2023

How to Get Rid of Moles and Gophers Effectively

Since we are aware of your current level of interest, we won't stop the flow. Here are the most effective natural cures for moles and gophers.

  1. Get rid of gophers with integrated pest management (IPM)
  2. Deal with gophers humanely & naturally
  3. Conventional methods to get rid of gophers

Gophers are an annoying, tenacious pest that can be challenging to get rid of. They can establish populations anywhere there are food sources, and they are capable of destroying your lawn, garden, or outdoor space by digging under conventional fences.

Long mounds of extra soil that are clearly visible on your lawn or garden's surface, as well as signs of predation like bare patches in the yard or chewed roots, tubers, and plants, are indications that you have a gopher infestation.

How to Get Rid of Gophers With Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Use an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy to get rid of gophers in your yard if you've seen them.

IPM strategies integrate conventional and organic pest control techniques to effectively manage pest species like gophers.

Here are a few IPM steps to get you started:

1. Prevention

Keep weeds out of your garden's borders. If there is no food to tempt gophers, they will be less likely to invade your garden.

Additionally, think about growing plants that deter gophers, like catmint, oleander, salvia, rosemary, and lavender.

To deter gophers, you might also think about installing an ultrasonic gopher deterrent spike that is powered by solar or batteries in your garden or yard.

Humans won't notice the slight vibrations produced by these straightforward deterrents, but rodents that dig will.

2. Avoidance

Take action to prevent gophers from eating your priceless plants if you already have them in your garden or yard.

You can accomplish this by placing wire gopher baskets or gopher wire at the bottom of your planter beds.

Use a 15-gallon tree gopher basket to shield trees. This alternative doesn't girdle the roots of your tree because it disintegrates more quickly than other gopher baskets, which can take several years.

3. Suppression

You want to reduce the number of gophers along with prevention and avoidance.

Trapping is the quickest and most effective method for achieving that. When you can locate the gophers' burrow, trapping works best.

Grab a big, sturdy stick, and find the newest gopher mound in your yard to find the burrow. Using the stick, probe into the ground 8-12" from the side of the mound.

The burrow will be located about 6-12" deep in the ground, and you'll know you've hit it when you feel a sudden drop in the stick.

When you find the burrow, take out the plug from the entrance hole and place your traps. The following sections have more information on trapping techniques.

How to Deal With Gophers Humanely & Naturally in 5 Ways

Looking for a non-lethal method to get rid of gophers?

Fortunately, there are lots of options, including poison-free techniques.

Here's a breakdown of each:

1. No-Kill Traps

If you want to use poison-free techniques in your lawn and garden, live trapping is the best option.

These traps are inexpensive and useful, and they are also simple to locate and set.

Gopher traps can be placed outside at any time of the year, but because gopher activity is highest in the spring and fall, those seasons are when they perform at their best.

Traps that are baited with carrots, lettuce, apples, or peanut butter should be placed in the main tunnels for best results. A trap should be relocated if it doesn't catch a gopher in 48 hours.

Gophers should be relocated at least a half-mile away from your property after being caught in a trap. Fill the tunnel afterward, and patch up any holes in your lawn to prevent more gophers from moving in.

Pros: Effective, humane

Cons: Time-consuming, require manual placement and replacement

2. Exclusion Fencing

Exclusion fencing prevents gophers from accessing food sources rather than trapping and removing them.

Installing exclusion fencing (made of fine metal mesh) can stop pests from damaging your lawn or garden by preventing them from digging into vulnerable areas and from pushing soil to the surface, as gophers enjoy eating roots and tubers.

To prevent burrowing, you can either install exclusion fencing around vulnerable areas (like your garden), create a trench and line it, or bury the fencing under the sod on your lawn.

To successfully exclude gophers, the wire mesh should have openings of less than ½" x 1".

Pros: Effective, affordable, humane, long-term solution

Cons: Difficult to install, requires significant modification to existing landscaping

3. Repellants

There are a variety of humane, organic methods to keep gophers out of your yard, some of which use pantry staples.

With the help of repellents, gophers are compelled to find another area. Many of them are organic, but there are also mechanical, electronic, and chemical ones.

Creating a gophers' escape route will help you use repellents more successfully. Then put repellents in and around the burrows that are closest to your house or garden.

A few days later, add more repellents to the burrows farther outside your property, bringing them closer to the intended exit point. With time, the gophers will be driven from your yard by this method.

Now that you know how to use repellents, here are a few of the most common repellent options:

Castor Oil

The gophers dislike the taste of castor oil and find it to be laxative. It also has a potent scent that keeps gophers out of a particular area.

Place liquid castor oil around the opening to gopher tunnels and in the area of your property you want to protect for the best results.

Pros: Affordable, humane, non-invasive

Cons: Time-consuming, requires seasonal re-application

Ultrasonic Repellents

High-pitched sound waves are produced and transmitted underground by ultrasonic repellents.

Even though people cannot hear these sounds, gophers find them annoying and will quickly relocate elsewhere if the noise is present.

Pros: Non-invasive, affordable, effective, humane, low-profile, long-term solution

Cons: Ultrasonic repellents encourage gophers to leave their burrows, which means they may move to another area of your landscaping unless you've taken adequate precautions

4. Natural Deterrents

To keep gophers away from your property, use a variety of natural deterrents.

Sage, iris, daffodils, thyme, and other fragrant plants can be grown to deter gophers, as can peppermint, fish oil, coffee grounds, and tabasco sauce spread on the ground close to gopher tunnels.

Pros: Humane, eco-friendly, safe for kids and pets

Cons: Requires frequent re-application

5. Barn Owl Nesting Boxes

Building barn owl nesting boxes is another method of reducing gopher populations on your property.

It won't get rid of the gophers on your property, and it's not a quick fix. However, over time, it might be able to aid in pest population control, including that of gophers.

Pros: Natural, organic, beneficial for the ecosystem

Cons: Long-term solution, will not eradicate gophers

Myth Alert: Although some people will claim that pet waste scares gophers away, there is no proof for this, so don't scatter your dog's waste around.

How to Get Rid of Moles and Gophers

Conventional Methods to Get Rid of Gophers

There are more traditional techniques that can destroy gopher colonies quickly if you'd like to take a more aggressive approach to getting rid of them.

Please be aware that Smith's does not endorse these procedures. Our team strives to be as humane as possible whenever possible.

1. Kill Traps

Gophers can be captured and kept alive in some traps, but they can also be killed right away in others. Despite our disapproval, these traps effectively exterminate gophers.

These techniques lack humaneness, and better alternatives exist (such as no-kill traps), which are equally efficient.

If you're going to use kill traps, follow these steps to set them:

  1. Set a cinch trap 6-8" into the tunnel beyond the burrow's opening.
  2. In the area where you located the burrow, use a small shovel to dig down into the ground, exposing the burrow.
  3. Tie a string around your preferred traps and attach them to an above-ground stake, so you can locate, check, and remove them quickly.
  4. Set two traps facing opposite directions in the main burrow.
  5. Check the traps in the morning and evening.
  6. If gophers haven't visited the traps within 48 hours, move the traps to a different location.

Pros: Effective, rapid solution

Cons: May not be appealing to some people, inhumane, and requires disposal of dead animals

2. Bait

Gophers mistake toxic gopher bait for a tasty treat because it smells and looks like one. However, the substance quickly kills gophers who ingest it.

The majority of baits are made from chemicals like zinc phosphide, despite formulation variations.

Although effective, baits must be used carefully. Always use a dispenser probe to apply the toxins according to the directions on the back of the bait's packaging.

These concoctions are even illegal in some places and may be harmful to children and pets.

Strychnine, a rodenticide, is legal in California, but it must be applied underground, never at lawn level.

That's because the chemical lingers in the gopher's body and makes it simple for predators (like eagles and birds of prey) to position themselves to eat dead gophers.

Find out more about California's regulations on rodenticides here.

Pros: Effective, fast-acting

Cons: Highly toxic, potential danger for kids, pets, and other non-pest animals, inhumane, dangerous to the environment, can be expensive

Whatever You Do, Don't Try These Tactics

Don't waste your time on these disproven gopher control methods:

1. Flooding

Some people think that flooding gopher burrows will force the animals to leave. Unfortunately, it only causes damage to your lawn and makes it easier for rodents to dig tunnels through the ground beneath your grass.

This approach is ineffective and inefficient because gophers can simply retreat to their burrows until the water subsides.

2. Fumigating

Gophers are smuggled out of their burrows using fumigation, which uses carbon monoxide or exhaust. Some people go one step further and choose to blow up the tunnels.

These techniques won't get rid of gophers and may even endanger people, pets, and your lawn.

Gophers can easily seal themselves in a tunnel to escape the fumes when gas starts to enter underground chambers by simply shifting some dirt around.

Instead, opt for a method of pest control that is more successful in light of this.

How to Get Rid of Gophers under the House

Gophers enjoy a lovely yard, but they are also content to burrow under a house.

Additionally, given that a single gopher burrow can cover 200–2,000 square feet and have 200 yards of tunnels, even a small number of gophers under a house can compromise the structure of the building and lead to potentially hazardous sinkholes.

No-kill traps are the most effective solution if you have gophers under your home.

However, putting this strategy into practice can be dangerous and calls for the assistance of a knowledgeable pest management business like Smith's.

Holistic techniques like ultrasonic deterrents and peppermint oil are frequently ineffective due to the gopher burrows' difficult-to-reach location under the house.

How Do Professionals Get Rid of Gophers?

Depending on the severity of the gopher infestation, a professional pest management company like Smith's will offer a mixture of no-kill methods and conventional options, including the following:

  • No-kill Trapping. Gopher tunnels will be found, partially exposed, and equipped with professional-grade stainless steel traps by Smiths' trained pest control specialists. In a few days, we'll come back to remove gophers and re-set traps after covering the trap and marking it with a flag.
  • Carbon monoxide gopher removal. If trapping gophers is a concern, our skilled technicians can inject carbon monoxide into the gopher holes. This approach is a great choice for childcare facilities and educational institutions and complies with the requirements of the Healthy Schools Act.
  • Annual gopher removal. Smith's also provides a yearly gopher removal program because infestation by gophers can be a recurrent issue. If you sign up for this program, a technician will come out to your property once a month and make necessary adjustments to the gopher removal method to keep your yard looking lovely and gopher-free.

About Moles and Gophers

Moles can damage lawns and gardens, and they can also damage homes, parks, golf courses, and cemeteries. Their burrowing can result in ugly mounds and ridges that provide a fertile environment for weeds to grow in.

Earthworms, beetle grubs, ants, and other soil-dwelling insects make up the majority of their diet. They also consume vegetable matter and seeds.


In the United States, there are numerous distinct mole species. The Eastern Mole, Scalopus aguaticus, is the most prevalent type of mole. This widespread mole, which can be found in the eastern US, seriously harms gardens and lawns all over the place.

The Townsend mole, Scapanus townsend, is the species that causes the most problems in the northwest of the United States.

The broad-footed mole, Scapanus latimanus, has the greatest impact on the state of California. Since all mole species share a common biologies and mode of operation, what works for one species usually also applies to others.

Rodents by definition do not include moles. Instead, they are related to shrews and are members of the mammal family Insectivora. The nose and front teeth of the Eastern mole are pointed. It can dig underground tunnels thanks to its big claws. Moles have velvet-like fur and can grow up to eight inches long.


The name "pocket gopher" refers to the fur-lined pouches that are found on each side of the animal's face. Food is transported in the pouches. With fine, soft fur, pocket gophers can grow to be five to fourteen inches long. Black to almost-white are the only colors present.

The depth of a pocket gopher's burrow can be anywhere between a few inches and several feet, and its length can reach several hundred feet. A single litter of gophers is typical for northern regions each year. They might have up to two litters a year in the south.

Reduce your soil's irrigation if you're looking for natural ways to get rid of moles in your yard. Moles and gophers both enjoy moisture, so if you restrict how often you water, the soil won't be as appealing to them for their tunneling endeavors.

Moles and gopher problems are more likely to arise if your soil is sandy. Clay-based soil has a lower chance of causing issues for you.

There are a few DIY strategies you can try if you want to get rid of moles and gophers. Your best option might occasionally be a mix of several techniques.

Why Do I Have Gophers in My Yard?

Not just people appreciate a lovely yard, though!

Here are a few things that may be drawing gophers to your property:

1. Food Sources

Anywhere they can find food sources, gophers will establish a home base because they must eat. Gophers are herbivores, which means they only consume plants.

They love roots and tubers of plants and seeded acorns but sometimes resort to "grazing the lawn for grass, clover, and other snacks."

2. Soil Composition

Gophers favor areas with loose, sandy soil that is simple to move because they enjoy digging.

3. Shelter

Gophers require a lot of protection to stay safe because they are prey for many different animals.

They might create tunnels inside of trees, along fences, or beneath bushes.

Once you have a few gophers in your yard, the problem will snowball as the gophers reproduce.

Each litter of five to six pups is produced by a female gopher between one and three times per year.

The young spend a few weeks by their mother's side before venturing out on their own to dig tunnels and burrows.

So it makes sense to deal with gopher infestations as soon as possible, before they become difficult to control.

Also Read How to Get Rid of the Following Species:


Pests: Plants:


What is the Easiest Way to Get Rid of Gophers?

Contacting an expert in pest control, such as Smith's Pest Management, is the quickest and most efficient way to get rid of gophers.

Although they can be effective, home remedies typically take longer and aren't nearly as efficient. Additionally, they might expose you in the future to infestations.

What Do Gophers Hate the Most?

If you conduct a quick internet search for DIY gopher control solutions, you'll find a wide range of ideas, from sprinkling coffee grounds around plants to the solutions we've recommended, like castor oil and ultrasonic spikes.

Although DIY gopher control techniques can be a useful addition to a more comprehensive program, they typically are insufficient to completely eradicate the pests.

Instead, the majority of home and business owners must employ a thorough, integrated pest management strategy that eliminates current populations and stops new infestations.

What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Gophers?

The best course of action is to hire a pest management company (like Smith's Pest Management) that specializes in gopher control if you want to get rid of gophers quickly.

After visiting your property, our team will assess the extent of the infestation, identify gopher burrows and high-traffic areas, and create a detailed removal plan.

This enables you to reclaim your outdoor space more quickly than with do-it-yourself techniques, and you can relax knowing that your gopher infestation is finally under control.