Do Gophers Eat Tree Roots

Gophers, those small, burrowing rodents, are often fascinating for nature enthusiasts and gardeners alike. Their complex tunnel systems and underground lifestyle raise questions about their dietary preferences. Among the many queries, one frequently asked question is whether gophers consume tree roots. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of gophers to discover their eating habits and effective ways how to prevent gophers from eating tree roots.

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Gophers: Nature’s Subterranean Engineers

Gophers belong to the family Geomyidae and are native to North and Central America. Known for their impressive digging abilities, gophers play a significant role in their ecosystems. They create vast underground tunnel networks extending hundreds of feet and feature multiple chambers for nesting, food storage, and waste disposal. These caves provide gophers protection from predators and environmental elements.

Dietary Habits of Gophers

Gophers are herbivores, meaning they primarily consume plant material. Their diet mainly consists of underground parts of various plants, such as roots, tubers, bulbs, and rhizomes. They are particularly attracted to succulent, fleshy vegetation, which provides them with the necessary nutrients to sustain their active lifestyle.

Do Gophers Eat Tree Roots?

The answer to this question is that gophers eat tree roots. While gophers mainly target underground plants, they are not limited to herbaceous plants. They can and will feed on the roots of various trees and shrubs, particularly young ones. As gophers are skilled diggers, they can easily access the root systems of plants, causing potential harm to nearby vegetation.

The Impact of Gopher Feeding on Trees

Gopher feeding can significantly affect trees, especially young and newly planted saplings. When gophers eat tree roots, it weakens the plants’ stability and impairs their capacity to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. This can result in stunted growth or, in extreme circumstances, death. Furthermore, root loss can render plants more vulnerable to environmental stressors like drought and disease.

Gopher Control and Mitigation

Several control and mitigation strategies can be employed for gardeners and landowners concerned about gophers damaging their trees. Some common methods include:

Physical Barriers

Installing mesh baskets around tree roots can deter gophers from accessing and feeding on them.


Live or lethal traps can be set up to catch gophers and relocate them or prevent further damage.

Plant Selection

Opt for gopher-resistant plants that are less appealing to these rodents.


In extreme cases, fumigation of gopher tunnels may be considered, but this method should be used with caution due to its potential environmental impact.


At Facility Pest Control, we acknowledge the significant impact gophers can have on trees and surrounding vegetation by consuming their roots. Our expertise lies in implementing effective gopher control strategies to safeguard young trees and maintain ecosystem balance.

We deter gophers from accessing tree roots using physical barriers like mesh baskets and strategically placed traps. We also guide clients in selecting gopher-resistant plants for a resilient landscape. While fumigation is an option, we prioritize environmentally responsible methods. Let’s work together to create a thriving environment where nature and human activities harmonize.