Friday, April 13, 2007

Mountains Popping up in Your Yard?—Pocket Gophers are a Sure Sign of Spring

It’s a beautiful day to be out in the garden enjoying the warm Minnesota spring breeze. Suddenly there is a mountain of dirt in your yard. You are certain it wasn’t there a bit ago. What is that huge pile of dirt? And where did it come from?

You have a pocket gopher!

Pocket gophers, along with their little mole friends, are the bane of the countryside. These small little rodents cause serious damage to lawns and landscaping across Anoka County. Although they leave huge dirt mounds above ground, pocket gopher burrows crisscross deep beneath the earth. (This differs from their mole counterparts, whose tunnels run closer to the surface.) Spring is a busy reproductive time for these little pesky creatures. And gophers can have several litters in a season. If you do not want your yard overrun with dirt mounds all summer, it is best to address the pocket gopher problem in early spring.

As a Realtor working in the Twin Cities north metro, I know how buyers get concerned when they see several huge dirt piles in a sellers’ yard. It seems that these creatures have a knack for knowing when a home is listed. I have had several frantic sellers call the day after they have listed with their first ever gopher mound in their yard. Whether you are a buyer, seller or home owner maintaining your landscape, here are ideas to eliminate the mounds from your yard.

How to get rid of pocket gophers:

  • Get rid of their food supply. Pocket gophers eat grub worms that live in the dirt. If you chemically treat your lawn to kill the grub worms, the pocket gophers move on. Usually to your neighbors’ yard.

  • Mole repellents can also be used to change the taste of the grub worms. This can be purchased at a store or you can mix your own. One cup of dish soap, one ounce of Castor oil and ¼ cup of cayenne pepper mixed together and spread with a garden sprayer should do the trick. Of course this method again just moves the pests to your neighbors’ yard.

  • Ultrasonic Devices. I had a client who had some success with this method last year. The high pitched sound emitted by the unit is designed to sound like another gopher. Since these are territorial animals, they move on. Again, probably to your neighbors’ yard.

  • Use a poison for gophers and moles. This is effective but if you have pets or children, there are risks. Your pet could dig up the poison or the poisoned gopher and become ill or die.

  • Set underground traps. This is an effective method with results that you can see. The wire traps are set underground in near the gopher mound. When a gopher moves through the burrow, he is killed in the trap.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007