How to Prevent Gophers from Eating Tree Roots

If you have a tree in your yard, then you’re at risk of gophers destroying the roots. Gophers are burrowing rodents that love to eat tree roots and create underground tunnel systems. If you’ve never had a gopher problem before or if this is your first time dealing with these pests, it’s important to know how to protect your trees from damage.

In this article, you will learn how to prevent gophers from eating tree roots in your yard.

How to Prevent Gophers from Eating Tree Roots

Gophers, furry cute, and adorable, right? Wrong. Gophers can be a real nuisance. Not only will they make a mess of your lawn, but they can also permanently damage trees. How? By eating their roots. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to stop them from doing this. Today you will learn how as we run through a quick guide on how to prevent gophers from eating tree roots.

So, you think you’ve got a gopher problem and want to know how to stop it?

1. Barriers

If gophers can’t get to your tree’s roots, then they can’t eat them. It’s that simple.

While a little tricky, it is possible to create an impenetrable barrier to prevent gophers from accessing a root network system. 

This isn’t an easy fix if you have a tree bedded in, but it is ideal if you are planting saplings or seedlings.

It works like this.

You can construct a wire mesh basket to surround the base of your tree. The mesh or ‘gopher cage,’ if you will, allows moisture and nutrients to flow into the soil. The tree roots will grow between the gaps in the mesh, meaning your tree can take root firmly without being bothered by gophers. 

2. Water Treatment

Gophers much prefer to create their burrows in relatively dry ground, and they aren’t the biggest fans of water.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage.

It’s quite simple to ‘irrigate’ gopher burrows (and as an added plus, you will be giving your tree’s root system a well-needed drink). Simply place a hose in an open ‘gopher hole’ and turn it on.

Keep a sharp lookout too. Gophers will often flee the scene when faced with a flood, which gives you a good opportunity to create a more permanent solution by dispatching them. 

3. Remove Food Sources

Gophers love nothing more than a quick trip to the surface for a handy meal on their doorstep. They are particularly fond of eating weeds and plants in the bean family, like peas and legumes.

If you remove potential food sources, then your gopher problem might migrate away from the tree roots.

If you have an isolated tree or a small number of gophers, this solution can be completed quickly and easily; however, it might be too time-consuming and laborious for larger burrow networks. 

4. Strong Smells

Gophers have quite a well-developed sense of smell (far stronger than humans).

As a result, they tend to shy away from strong smells and scents. If the idea of flooding them out and dispatching them isn’t you, then this can be a more humane solution.

What smells do gophers hate?

They are particularly averse to strong menthol and mint-type smells. You could try things such as eucalyptus oil, camphor, peppermint oil, and menthol. Simply apply a large portion of this scent to a few cotton balls and stuff them into the burrows closest to the tree’s roots.

The gophers will try and avoid these areas.

5. Pets and Wildlife

Gophers aren’t the highest animal on the food chain, and as a result, they are very wary of predators. It doesn’t have to mean natural predators either. 

Certain types of dog breeds, such as terriers, have it in their nature to hunt rodents. Even if they never catch one, their very presence can have a gopher packing its bags and moving elsewhere. Cats, in particular, are highly effective in catching rodents.

6. Vibration

Gophers are well aware that bigger animals equal danger. If you don’t fancy getting a cat or dog, then this is a good option.

It is possible to buy solar-powered devices that perfectly replicate the vibration of animals overhead. These are stabbed into the ground around your tree. The resulting vibration will result in the gophers moving to other areas.

7. Complete Gopher Removal

Suppose the above isn’t quite decisive enough for you. In that case, you can use another solution to save your tree roots from being ravaged by gophers.

Remove them completely.


By employing the services of a professional pest control company. 

Facility pest control, serving the California area, are experts in the quick and effective removal of gophers. We have a few specialized techniques that will ensure that your gopher problem is removed once and for all. Why not take a look and see if Facility Pest Control is available in your area.

Understanding Gopher Behavior 

While gophers might look a little different, they are, in fact, similar to rats, mice, and squirrels. 

How so?

Gophers are actually rodents. While many other types of rodents are happy to exist above ground, gophers spend a large proportion of their time beneath the ground in large, and sometimes complex, burrow systems.

The defining feature of rodents?

Rodents’ teeth never stop growing. As a result, they have to be worn away by constant gnawing or chewing.

Do you know what gophers love to gnaw on to keep their choppers in check?

Tree roots.

Do Gophers Kill Tree Roots?


Trees and plants use their roots to draw up nutrients and moisture from the soil underneath. Many plants, shrubs, and tree species can have a network of roots that penetrate deep into the ground. This network can often exist at the same height as gophers’ burrows.

Aside from the occasional small hole, gophers burrow networks aren’t always obvious above the surface. So, if you have noticed that one half of a tree or bush is looking a little withered, this is a good sign that under the surface, gophers have been having a little root salad for lunch.

Trees and bushes can’t get the nutrients they need with a severed root system, meaning they will eventually wither and die. 

Woodland Hills Pest Control