How to Identify Gopher Damage in Your Yard

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When gophers move in, they’re hard to miss. Your yard starts looking like a minefield. But you might not know exactly what is causing that minefield-looking damage because a gopher isn’t the only pest that can do this.

Hopefully, this article will help you zero in on what pest is causing damage to your lawn and what you can do to stop them.

gopher creating a mound in an oakland tx yard

Anatomy of a Mound

Are you seeing mounds of dirt in your yard? If so, there are only a few pests that create mounds. Two of the most common mound builders are moles and gophers. These mounds can range in size, so we’re not going to be able to tell you to look for a mound of a specific size. What we are able to do, however, is give you some details to look for.

  • When a gopher creates a mound, it will usually push the dirt out in a fan pattern. If you’re seeing conical mounds in your yard, it is more likely that you’re dealing with a mole problem. But, gophers can sometimes push dirt out in all directions, so you’re going to need more information than this.
  • Gophers often plug their tunnel entry holes. These plugs can usually be seen sitting on top of a mound. Look closely and see if the mounds in your yard have plugs.
  • The dirt of a gopher mound is going to be fine. Gophers break the soil up as they dig it up and push it out. Moles tend to leave clumps. If you can detect clumps in the mounds your finding, you probably have a mole issue.
  • Gophers tend to create several holes that are near each other. If you’re finding groups of holes, you probably have a gopher. If you have 6 or more feet between the holes, a mole is probably to blame.

No Mounds

If you have someone who mows your lawn, you may not find mounds. It is easy enough to spread most gopher mounds around with a lawnmower. So you might go to check on your property and see dried patches of flat dirt instead of mounds. Sometimes, you might see fresh dirt mounds in dried dirt patches. This is evidence of current activity in old tunnels.

Gardens, Crops, Vineyards & Berry Bushes

If you use a portion of your property to grow food, you could attract gophers. While a gopher will eat earthworms like a mole, which subsists on protein, it also enjoys many plants, fruits and vegetables. Plant damage may be the sign that you’re dealing with a gopher problem, not a mole problem. But it isn’t always the case. There are many ways a plant can become unhealthy or die that don’t have to do with either of these pests.

As you’re looking to determine what is causing your plants to be damaged, bear in mind that finding gopher holes doesn’t mean that a gopher was responsible for your dying plants or that you have current gopher activity. It is best to contact a gopher specialist, like the professionals here at Smith’s Pest Management, to properly diagnose your issue so that new plants won’t become victim to what is causing your damage.

Seems Like A Gopher

Moles don’t fancy plants and vegetables. They eat truckloads of earthworms, grubs and insects. If you’re aware of this, you might be tempted to think that displaced flowers in your yard are evidence of gophers. That is not likely. 

When a gopher attacks the bulb of a perennial, what you’re likely to see is the absence of a flower or plant in that spot. What moles do is push flowers up as they tunnel underneath. So don’t be too quick to blame that plant damage on gophers.

Professional Trapping Service

For professional gopher trapping and mole removal in the San Francisco Bay area, choose Smith’s Pest Management. We are an industry leader in getting rid of gophers in yards, vineyards, parks, golf courses and more. What’s more, we get results with non-toxic techniques. 

If you’ve discovered mounds on your property or are concerned about other pests damaging your lawn, please contact Smith’s Pest Management today!