Gophers are little rodent pests that eat plants and vegetables that grow underground. But will they eat your tomato plants?
Gophers usually will not eat tomatoes, leafs or stems of your plants, but they will eat the root of your tomato plant.
If you are wondering what gophers will eat and how to protect your garden we have some top tips for you. Even though they don’t typically eat tomatoes they are known to eat random vegetables whilst they go about their business, whether it’s looking for a mate or on the hunt for their favorite plant.
Gophers are hungry little critters and need to eat approximately 60% of their body weight in food every day! For that reason, many people find that keeping their entire garden gopher-free is the only way to save tomato plants.
Will gophers eat tomato roots?
Yes, gophers will eat tomato roots as well as other plant and vegetable roots. They love moisture-rich roots and when there is a scarcity of food are happy to dive into tomato roots.
Since gophers spend most of their time underground it makes sense that they eat root systems. They are safer under the surface from predators and they are relatively free under the earth to eat what they please.
Fortunately, there are some ways that you can protect your tomato plants and garden from gophers.
How do I protect my tomato plants from gophers?
You can protect your tomato plants by repelling gophers from your garden or physically keeping them out. Here are the best methods:
- Install barriers
- Plant gopher repelling plants
- Use scents they hate
- Use sound to repel them
- Set live traps
Let’s look at the benefits and disadvantages of each method and what you need to do.
How do I install barriers?
One of the quickest and easiest ways to protect your tomato plants (and others) is to install a barrier around them. This will protect the vegetables or flowers from hungry gophers.
You can install a mesh barrier around the perimeter of your garden or wrap a barrier around the individual plants you want to protect. However, this won’t protect the root system if the gophers have holes under the garden already.
You can lay a barrier under the lawn but this is only practical when laying a new lawn. This is a great way to keep your garden safe.
How do I plant gopher repelling plants?
Gophers are sensitive to certain smells and keeping these plants around the border of your garden can help keep them out or deter them from entering. The best plants to use are:
- Crown imperials
Of course, you may not have any more space for additional plants in your garden, or want to plant these species if they’re not your favorite.
How do I deter gophers with scents?
This method involves putting scents they don’t like down their holes to make them move on. The best scents to use are:
- Pine disinfectants
- Peppermint oil
- Castor oil granules
This deterrent is a cheap and quick way to try and solve the problem. However, it can be tricky to get far enough down the holes to get rid of gophers permanently.
How do I repel them with sound?
Gophers are sensitive to loud sounds and you can use this to your advantage. You can play loud audible sounds above ground or use an ultrasonic product that you buy in a store.
Sound is an easy method because you can even use windchimes or a radio, which are easy to buy if you need to and install. However, you (and your neighbors) may not want a loud radio playing all day!
Using a specific ultrasonic device can be a great way to repel them because you stick it into the ground and the vibrations will only be annoying to gophers but not to pets or people.
How do I set live traps?
You will find a number of gopher traps that you can order online. Then you follow the instructions and wait until you catch the gophers so that you can relocate them.
Like other rodents, gophers breed extremely quickly so this method can be an ongoing battle and you may find you miss some. If you have a large gopher infestation and you cannot get rid of them, you can always call a professional to help relocate them and gopher-proof your garden once they’ve gone.
What vegetables will gophers not eat?
Even though gophers are hungry little rodents and need to eat plenty each day, there are some vegetables that they won’t eat. These include:
Hopefully, you now have a plan of action on how you’re going to protect your garden.
It’s often best to use a combination of the methods we mentioned to keep your tomato plants safe from gophers. That means you could use smells and sounds they hate to deter them, set traps and remove them, and install barriers to keep them out of your garden and your tomato plants thriving.