Distinguishing characteristics of pocket gopher damage include:

  • Crescent or irregular shaped dirt mounds as seen in photo at right, and schematic diagram above right, often with dirt plug visible in center of mound.
  •  Plugged “feeder holes” with grass or other plants chewed or eaten around perimeter of hole.
  • Gophers will make open holes to the surface to feed on surface vegetation.  These holes will be plugged with soil after the gopher is done feeding at a location.
  • Gophers cause extensive damage to turf, landscape plants, and agricultural crops by eating roots and pulling plants down into their tunnels.
  • Gophers can live in moist to dry soil but avoid saturated areas, and most often invade from sunny wild lands or turf areas such as parks.


A typical gopher hole with a gopher peeking out.

An infestation of pocket gophers can be first recognized by fan shaped mounds of soil on the surface, pushed out as the gophers excavate their tunnels. These mounds are generally 30 cm high by 30 to 50 cm in diameter. It has been estimated that a single pocket gopher can excavate approximately a ton of earth producing 30 to 50 mounds in one year. These mounds smother vegetation and result in rough terrain causing equipment damage. Feeding by pocket gophers can cause substantial losses to turf, gardens and field crops, especially alfalfa.


Attempting to control pocket gophers by gassing or drowning is generally ineffective. The most effective means of control is usually obtained by trapping or poisoning or a combination of both. For best results, trapping and poisoning should be conducted in the spring or fall when pocket gophers are most active, give Safetech Pest Control a call for quicker and fast results.