Pocket gophers may cause considerable damage, regardless of where they live. The most important habitat types susceptible to pocket gopher damage include agricultural crop fields, rangelands and the homeowner’s lawns and gardens. Gopher activity in residential areas may cause difficulties when mowing the yard. Hungry pocket gophers can also damage landscape plants and grasses.
Pocket gopher damage usually occurs from their earth digging activities.
Damage signs include:
- In-ground holes leading into the below-ground burrow.
- Mounds of soil are removed in the burrowing process and deposited around the gopher hole. Mounds cover, and eventually kill, the vegetation located under the mound.
- Below-ground burrows are crucial to gopher survival because they provide shelter and access to feeding on the underground parts of the vegetation
Signs of Plant damage Caused by Gophers
- Areas barren of grass and other plants close to the gopher hole.
- The appearance of unhealthy plants resulting from pocket gophers eating the roots and other below-ground portions of the plant.
- Evidence of gophers exiting their burrows to surface cut and remove vegetation located away from the mound.
- “Girdling” young trees or bushes by eating the soft, woody portions of the plant.
Pocket gophers may damage underground utility cables and wires as a result of their extensive burrowing. Gophers are known to gnaw through irrigation pipes which causes damage to both agricultural and residential irrigation systems.
In summary, pocket gopher damage results from the presence of gopher holes, mounds and burrows, plus damage by feeding on plants and damaging underground wires, cables and pipes.