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The Urban Gopher

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, now back to work! Our first post of the New Year focuses on some very late/early spring cleaning we have had on our list since our very first post where we lost our beloved artichoke.

Finding it unfathomable that a gopher could exist in a concrete jungle we searched for possible reasons as to why our plants roots were disappearing overnight. We settled on some sort of soil borne disease that fed on our plants because we had never seen any signs of a gopher. I grew up in a yard of gophers and could see their mounds and tunnels from a mile away. Well it turns out that our gopher is very sensible of this fact and has managed to keep a very low profile, until recently.

Two dead Borage plants later I finally spied a tunnel and then a mound of dirt. Now, I’m the last person who would kill anything, I save daddy long legs for gosh sakes but this guy has taken it too far. I called in our resident gopher expert for some sage advice on ending this little guys reign of terror.

Her first advice was get the right trap. Essentially the metal style is the best, the one featured on the video has been passed down through generations of gardeners but a similar style can be found at Home Depot. Secondly we looked for the most active hole and we opened it wide up to fresh air and plenty of sunlight. Now it’s time to set the trap.

After the trap was placed in the hole we placed a board across the hole and fenced it off so our dogs could not be harmed by it. Now we wait…tomorrow morning I will go down and see if we were successful. If not we will explore our next options together. Stay tuned


1/7/11 The only thing the trap caught was a bunch of well packed dirt, to be continued….

1/10/11 Well R.I.P Mr. Gopher, you will not be missed. After the third try and much WD-40 we were successful in our efforts. The scene this morning reminded me of instances where I have come upon a car collision and cannot quite fathom how it was possible for the cars to get themselves in there respective locations. The gophers main hole where the trap was placed was filled with dirt and nasturtium remnants and he was outside the hole. Go figure.


  1. Rachel says:

    The Rodenator. If you haven't seen it you have to! At least watch the video. It's hilarious and there's some sort of sick satisfaction tied to it.

  2. JT says:

    I'm speechless….the rodent bounty hunter is too much. I can't believe I've never seen it!

  3. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    This style of trap, known as the Macabee trap, was originally designed to be laid in the straight part of the tunnel, in pairs! After repeated failures to catch the gopher with this method, we talked to a local expert, Thomas Wittman, who showed us how to properly use cinch traps, which for us were much more successful. In our case, our soils are friable, and the tunnels would collapse setting the Macabee traps. If this trap doesn't work for you, I highly recommend the cinch trap, but there is a knack to using them properly. If you missed it, there's more info on our 'Got Gophers?' post. Good luck!!!