The Northern pocket gopher is a rodent that grows up to ten inches long and lives underground in tunnels that are about three inches in diameter. Pocket gophers damage trees and shrubs through root feeding and girdling. Also, their tunnelling activity, which can produce new mounds on a daily basis, is unwanted by most suburban gardeners who experience an infestation. The pocket gopher is a solitary animal except when breeding. Offspring are raised underground in a nesting chamber.
The Northern pocket gopher does not hibernate, so they are active all winter.
Preventing pocket gopher damage
A pocket gopher infestation can be dealt with in the following ways:
- Run water from a hose pipe into tunnels as a first line of attack for new infestations
- Use pocket gopher-specific traps, registered fumigants or poison baits that are available through select retail outlets and pest control companies
- Protect valuable shrubs or newly planted trees by circling with wire mesh that is embedded at least eighteen inches underground.
Signs of pocket gophers
Pocket gophers are not often sighted, but their habitation is evident from the mounds of loose earth that they push to the surface. Tunnel entrances are generally covered by an earth mound or a soil plug.