» Eliminating Gophers

Eliminating Gophers

Q. I’m distraught over what is happening to my garden and watching it occur in my neighbor’s, as well. For some reason, individual plants are dieing. One day they look fine, the next day (or even later in the same day) the leaves look wilted, like they’re not getting water, and by day 2, the plant is completely dead. They are getting plenty of water and nutrients(watering twice a day and fertilizing each week). It seems indiscriminate. First it was a single squash (out of 4), then my only zucchini. Next it worked it’s way over to my neighbor’s garden, where ALL of their pumpkin plants are affected. Then back to mine where one pepper plant just died (leaves literally fell off). This morning I went out to water and everything seemed fine, but this afternoon one of my honeydew plants is exhibiting the exact same signs. With the pepper plant, I pulled it up and it appears that the roots were ok, but they might have been a touch too short for how long they have been planted (I didn’t think to check the squash or the zucchini, unfortunately). I have noticed small holes in the ground every so often, about 1/2″ to 1″ in diameter, with what looks like a small mound next to it. I had a gopher/mole which I took care of already this year, but this one seems different – smaller holes tell me something else, but I have no idea what. HELP! I don’t want to lose my whole garden in the next couple of weeks to whatever it is that is doing this!

A. You have the classic symptoms of moles or gophers eating your plants’ roots. Go buy gopher pellets from Lowes or Home Depot, etc. Take a rake or hoe, walk your garden, pounding the HANDLE on the ground near to where plants have been killed. When you hit a gopher run, immediately pour about 1 tablespoon of pellets into the hole, then cover the hole, so the gopher won’t know it has been opened. Do this everywhere you can find their runs. And good luck.