Gophers defeat even a big, heavy agave plant.


If you live in an area where there are gophers, expect they can do amazing damage in a remarkably short time. They create warrens underground that can twist into miles of tunnels.

When I first set up irrigation piping to build an orchard on my hillside, I turned the water on to clean the pipes before putting the heads in place. At first I saw the expected two dozen little fountains of water squirt up into the air where all the endings remained uncapped. This was what I wanted since the water would push out any dirt from the pipes before I set the irrigation heads in place at the base of where each fruit tree would be planted. But as I watched, the two dozen geysers turned into four dozen, then hundreds. For a moment I was mystified. Then I realized that the irrigation water that was spilling out from the pipes was pouring back into the ground and building up in the extensive rodent tunnels underground, spewing out from the many surface holes they had dug. My hillside looked like Swiss cheese with a fountain rising from each and every hole!

If you have these underground pests, they will not be easy to to chase away. The good news is that all that tunneling aerates the soil and softens hard clays as well as loosening embedded stones. The bad news is that these little rodents will chew and kill even some of your most prized, tough or woody plants. They are ravenous critters and have big families that can hollow out acres at a time.

Please check out my article on Got gophers? for the best control solutions I’ve been able to come up with after years of battling with these animals and their damage. Sometimes I do wonder if these little pea-brained pests aren’t smarter then us arrogant humans. This is not a war easily won!