Have you invested in a beautiful new landscape recently or are you planning a new garden installation? Nothing can ruin your garden results faster than these fast traveling, underground critters. Here are some tips from our expert, Zach Smith of Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service.

Gopher Damage

Gophers or pocket gophers cause damage because the feed on plant shoots and roots. They can kill grass, flowers, shrubs and even trees through their feeding activities. Because they work day and night they can kill large plants in a very short time. Because they have such powerful claws, they can burrow under and collapse paver patios, driveways, walkways and retaining walls. The damages from gophers can total in the thousands of dollars per year not only to your landscape but perhaps also to your health. In lawns their burrows and mounds are the perfect size to get a foot catch in, causing falling and ankle injury hazards. Solution: If gophers can move onto a property readily from neighboring lands, then a semi-monthly monitoring and trapping program should be considered as a first defense.

Mole Damage

Moles cause damage inadvertently to plants as they burrow searching for earthworms (they are carnivorous not vegetarian like gophers). They dislodge annuals, remove soil from under shrubs and trees, and send plants into severe drought stress in the process. They also undermine patios and walkways and cause unsightly mole-hills in manicured gardens. Mole damages are not as acute as gopher damages, but can be very troublesome and expensive nevertheless. Solution: Because moles can move into a garden swiftly from neighboring properties, mole extermination via a semi-monthly monitoring and trapping program is recommended.

Vole Damage

Voles eat primarily above-ground parts of plants and chew the bark off trees and shrubs. They make pockmark holes in lawns and ground cover and undermine hardscape. Though their damage is not as common or extensive as gophers and moles, they are still a significant pest in the landscape because landscape damage can be expensive to repair. Solution: They are easily trapped when first signs arise.

Ground Squirrel Damage

Ground Squirrels differ from tree squirrels in that they burrow in the earth and feed primarily on grass, and other vegetative matter on the ground. They are communal animals and share their tunnel network readily. The damage caused by ground squirrels causes extensive erosion on hillsides and under driveways and in golf course greens. Their holes can be a serious hazard for ankle-breaks to people, horses, and other livestock.
In addition to physical injury potential, the fleas on ground squirrels carry three types of the Plague disease.
Solution: The best control for ground squirrels is trapping and sometimes poison. Because of their high reproductive rate, it is important to have a regular program in place to keep their populations under control.

The best defense in a pest situation is a good offense. If you see signs of holes or burrows in your property, don’t delay. Call a professional pest removal service immediately to assess the situation. We recommend a non-toxic approach like those found at this company: www.gopher-trapping.com
To learn more about these and other pests at the UC Davis Pest Notes website http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/menu.homegarden.html