Gophers are common nuisance in California and other states, particularly in the west. They can be very destructive, especially of smaller plants, such as fig trees.

They can be very destructive, especially of smaller plants, such as fig trees. While this tree was probably being enjoyed for a period of time, the damage was visible only 3 days after a previous watering and inspection.

The tree was easily pulled from the ground, as all roots had been consumed.

Some close-ups of the destructive chewing on the partiular plant.

There are many methods of dealing with gophers, but many years of experience has taught me that trapping is very effective, and relatively easy. There are many types of traps, and some are more suited to rocky soils, but I have used Macabee "Ol' Reliable" successfully for many, many years. Check your traps daily, and reset if necessary. See Garden Counselor or PDF

It is important to place the traps in the main tunnels, not side tunnels. Unless it is the end of a main run, most mounds of soil are at the end of a side tunnel, which is usually a foot or so from the main tunnel. Placing a trap in both directions of a main tunnel solvces the problem of figuring out in which direction the gohpher is currently located. While it is sometimes not convenient, after a successful kill, it is important to destroy as much of the tunnel complex as possible. This prevents another gopher from taking up residence in a ready-made home. This could mean several hundred feet of tunnel.

A common prevention strategy is to plant new or small trees in a "basket" made of hardware cloth or poultry netting to allow the tree to get established and large enough to endure the onslaught of gophers attacks.