Do Gophers Eat Tree Roots? {How To Keep Them Away}

Have you seen holes in your garden with a high crescent-shaped or semicircle ridge?

Do you think gophers are in your garden eating your tree roots?

Do gophers eat tree roots? Let’s find out!

Do Gophers Eat Tree Roots?

Yes, Gophers will eat tree roots as well as garden plants and bulbs. Farmers and gardeners have always been at war with gophers, inventing new ways to keep the pests away from tree roots.

How To Prevent Gophers From Eating Tree Roots?

To keep gophers from eating any tree roots, you have to understand what you are dealing with: Pocket gophers are

  • 6 to 10 inches long,
  • create burrows that can cover up to about 2,000 square feet,
  • solitary creatures, generally living alone in their massive tunnel networks, and are
  • nocturnal and don’t hibernate (meaning they’re always active).

Do Gophers Eat Tree Roots

To keep gophers from eating tree roots in your garden or yard, you must try several means of keeping them away.

Do Gophers Damage Tree Roots?

Yes. However, because pocket gophers feed underground, you may find it hard to notice any damage to the tree roots. Gophers chew the taproots of trees and small garden plants, and that kills the plants. Because plants get most of their nourishment from the roots, they die after a gopher attack.

What Roots Do Gophers Eat?

Pocket gophers love eating herbaceous cover crops. They will eat any tree bark when these cover crops are not available. Gophers also eat

  • Roots of vegetable and berry plants
  • Plants with extensive taproots
  • Irrigation pipes made of plastic

Because pocket gophers are always active day and night, they are serious pests. If left unchecked where there are plenty of plants and trees, gophers can populate an area up to 30 to 40 gophers per acre.

What Attracts Gophers To Tree Roots?

Gophers like fresh vegetation and herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. They can smell juicy roots and shrubs from afar. Gophers like fruits and grub hidden underground. Gophers are attracted to extensive weed growth in an area, including nutsedge growth or the presence of many perennial clovers and legumes.

How To Keep Gophers Away From Tree Roots?

Here are methods you can keep gophers away from your garden:

1. Barriers

  • Gopher mesh barrier
  • Under-lawn barrier
  • Gopher baskets

2. Plants

  • Plants gophers won’t eat like daffodils, onion or garlic plants.
  • Gopher repellent plants such as gopher spurge (Euphorbia lathyris), crown imperials, lavender, rosemary, salvia, catmint, oleander and marigolds.

3. Repellent Products

  • Pine disinfectants
  • Chilli powder
  • Peppermint oil
  • Garlic stakes
  • Castor oil granules
  • Sound
  • Ultrasonic repellents

4. Live Traps

There are many gopher traps you can use to catch or repel gophers. These are excellent ways to keep gophers away from your tree roots.

5. Call a professional

If you want an immediate solution, have a big area to treat, or if your garden is badly infested, you may hire a professional gopher removal service. They will help you wipe out pests and allow you to regain control of your land.

Garden Plants That Repel Gophers

Although Gophers enjoy chewing on many types of plants and vegetables, there are some that they would like to stay away from.

You would benefit from planting some of these in your garden to keep Gophers away. Plants in the list below work well near the plants that gophers enjoy eating to keep them safe:

  • Euphorbia lathyris
  • crown imperials
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Salvia
  • Catmint
  • Oleander
  • Marigolds

Another great technique is planting a border around your favorite vegetables with the plants in the list above.

Can Gophers Kill Trees?

Unfortunately, yes. Gophers can kill trees by chewing and damaging the roots, trunk and branches. Golfers are known to eat parts of a tree’s roots, shrubs and vines of many trees or tall plants as well.

They attack trees from under the ground before you can even notice what is happening. Sooner or later you will notice that your tree’s leaves are wilting or the trunk is leaning towards one side more than the other.

A gopher may pull down a tree slowly one root at a time until the magnificent plant in your garden is unbalanced, unhealthy, dying or dead.

Trees Gophers Won’t Eat

Instead of trying to plant trees that gophers won’t eat, it’s best to create a border around all the trees with plants, herbs and other types of vegetation that gopher won’t go near.

We’ve created a large list of plants or trees that gophers do not wish to eat. Surround all your favorite plants and trees with these plans to create a force field against gopher attacks.

  • Columbine (aquilegia)
  • Artemesia
  • Ceanothus
  • Rock rose (cistus)
  • Breath of heaven (coleonema)
  • Foxglove (digitalis)
  • Lantana
  • Lavender
  • Mimulus
  • Heavenly bamboo (nandina)
  • Indian hawthorn (rhaphiolepis)
  • Rosemary
  • Euphorbia lathyris
  • Crown imperials
  • Salvia
  • Catmint
  • Oleander

Do Gophers Eat Plant Roots?

Yes. Gophers do eat the roots of plants. They like to pull down boots, bulbs and stems of plants and bring them deep into their burrows if they can.

This way they will end up killing shrubs, plants, and even trees by attacking the roots. There are many plants that are not safe from gopher attacks. The best method of keeping gophers away from those plants that you wish to remain safe is to plant others that they hate chewing or eating.

Lavender, Rosemary and Marigold are examples of plants that gophers will not chew on. Plant these around the roots of the other plants that they do enjoy eating. This is how you will keep Gophers away.

Final Words

While there is no best way to keep gophers away from tree roots, you can try to do the following:

  • Remove weeds. Weed can attract pocket gophers, especially when they are clover and legumes. If you must plant these two crops, you should hand dig them.
  • Use herbicides. Spray weeds that are growing farther from the tree you want to protect with a herbicide containing 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine.
  • Use chemicals to flood holes. Once you find gopher burrows, you can drown them and drive the gophers out. Flooding forces gophers from their burrows mechanically and makes the soil irritating for the gophers to return to any time soon.
  • Install a predator. Gopher predators like snakes, owls, and hawks can help protect your tree root from gopher damage.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable