Do you have gophers in your garden and you are wondering how high can gophers climb?
Are gophers good climbers? Can they climb trees and fences?
How High Can Gophers Climb
Gophers cannot climb higher than one foot over a fence. If you’ve seen a small four-legged creature climbing trees or your garden fences it is recommended that you check your neighbourhood for other critters.
Raccoons are great climbers and are a common site near trash cans. It is possible that your carrot was stolen by a raccoon not a gopher. Raccoons are worse pests than gophers because they are so persistent and agile. They can swim, climb, jump, run you name it.
Gophers get their food by climbing shrubs and trees and hauling the produce back inside their burrows where they eat.
Unlike gophers, beavers leave their tunnel entry points open so it may be worth re-examining those pits you found in your yard.
Can Gophers Climb Trees
Yes gophers can climb trees, but they spend most of their lives underground so it is very unlikely to see a gopher climb a tree.
On the other hand, groundhogs can climb a tree. It may be possible that the rodent wreaking havoc on your yard is not a gopher.
It can be easy to mistake any of these burrowing rodents with each other (like moles, voles, groundhogs and gophers)
Can Gophers Climb Fences
Gophers can climb fences. Therefore, it is important to bend the fence at a 90-degree angle so that even if they climb, they cannot cross the barrier.
Here are some tips to ensure the barrier/fence you make is definitely gopher proof:
Material and Mesh Size
It is very important to decide what material you will use as this fence will essentially be buried under the ground.
Make sure to use materials like galvanized metal and stainless steel so it doesn’t corrode with a ½ inch x ½ inch mesh size so you get openings small enough that gophers don’t make it through.
Use Gopher Wire
Gopher wire is a quarter inches hexagonal welded metal mesh about 20 gauges thick. The technique involves burying a horizontal mesh under your plants. This prevents gophers from burrowing up to your plants and eating them.
How does gopher wire save your yard from these pesky rodents? It basically diverts the gopher’s attention away from your plant bed.
Gophers need to burrow and appear close to the surface in order to eat plant roots. The mesh doesn’t allow them to reach these roots and so gophers leave in search of other unprotected yards.
It’s also a humane, non-toxic way of preserving your flower beds.
Install these fences at least 2-6 inches below ground. Cover them will soil and plant crops on top of this soil. This ensures the gopher does not dig all the way up and steal your plants.
How High Can Gophers Jump
Gophers don’t normally jump around a lot. Even when they do it’s not very high. Nobody knows exactly how high they can jump. Some have reported that rather than jumping they simply stretch their arms and try and reach food on tiptoe perhaps.
They may jump when trying to run away from predators like barn owls or cats. They may jump into their tunnels, but they have never been reported to jump onto raised vegetable and flower beds.
Although gophers share some of their DNA with the pacific jumping mouse, they’re really not known for their jumping abilities. It could be possible that if you saw jumping gopher like creatures around your vegetable patch, they may be rabbits.
How Do I Protect My Garden From Climbing Gophers?
Prevention is always better than cure! It’s good to start thinking about taking precautionary measures before you’re faced with a gopher infestation. Here are a few ways to gopher proof your adorable veggie garden.
Create a perimeter using chicken wire mesh around your yard. This should extend into the ground as well as above the ground for about 1-2 inches.
Or you can use galvanized wire mesh. Insert it about 4-5 inches into the ground.
If both these options are labor intensive for a larger area, you can install gopher baskets around the roots of your vegetables which will protect the main root system.
Make a raised soil bed to grow your crops. Make sure the bottom is closed as well. This limits the gopher’s food supply and makes it a less likely place for a gopher to call home.
If you plan on planting onions and garlics or daffodils and alliums, you don’t have to worry as gophers don’t feed on this.
Euphorbia lathyris or gopher spurge is known to repel gophers. Other examples of natural plant repellants include rosemary, thyme, catmint and marigold. Some of these may even keep away unwanted insects!
Barn Owls: You can invite a barn owl family by installing nesting boxes in or near your yard. Owls are less likely to hunt gophers that live where they nest so space out the nesting boxes. If you don’t have a steady supply of gophers the barn owls may change nests.
Hunting cat: Presence of pets is uncomfortable for gophers as they are prey animals. A good hunting cat can be very effective in scaring gophers away or even hunting them if they are starting an infestation.
Be mindful that your pet/pets don’t hunt a gopher that has ingested rodenticides as this could be very toxic for your pet.
How Do You Keep Gophers Out of Raised Beds?
Raised beds are a great way to design your garden and not only gopher proof it but vermin proof your yard. However, the key lies in ensuring the raised bed has an enclosed bottom.
If the bottom is left open gophers and other burrowing rodents can very easily burrow right up under it and destroy the roots and plants.
Materials to avoid are meshes with large holes that gophers could easily squeeze through or really thin wires (high gauges like 22 gauge) that gophers could potentially chew through.
This eliminates most meshes like aviary nets, chicken wire or large fences.
One of the most popular materials being used for raised beds is hardware cloth. A ½ inch hardware cloth. The thickness of the wire is fairly thick, and the square holes are big enough to let earthworms and helpful insects pass through but small enough to stop gophers.
Nail the hardware cloth into the wooden sides of the raised bed so gophers can’t make their way around it. Although hardware cloth is cheaper than other materials out there, it does tend to corrode in about 2 years. So does chicken wire.
A new material called gopher wire has entered the market. It is layered with galvanized metal or stainless steel, so it doesn’t corrode underground for up to 10 years.
Because it is specially designed for gophers, the spaces in it are also small enough so gophers cannot squeeze through.