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Gophers

Gophers

Gophers

Geomys bursarius

Color:   Their fur is very fine, soft, and highly variable in color. Colors range from nearly black to pale brown to almost white. The great variability in size and color of pocket gophers is attributed to their low dispersal rate and thus limited gene flow, resulting in adaptation to local conditions.

Size: 5 to nearly 14 inches (13 to 36 cm) long (head and body). Adult males are larger than adult females.

In very sandy soil conditions the pocket gopher will tend to dig its tunnels to a depth where there is sufficient moisture in the soil to preserve the integrity of the burrow.

The pocket gopher can reside in a fairly rocky habitat; burrowing around rocks greater than 1 inch in diameter while pushing smaller rocks to the surface. In this particular environment, the area the pocket gopher inhabits will tend to not have more than 10% rocks in the top 8 inches of soil.

Pocket gophers usually breed in the spring and produce one litter of one to 10 young (typically three to four) after a gestation period of about 20 days. Usually, only one adult is found in each burrow system except during breeding and while raising young. Six to eight plains pocket gophers per acre are considered high densities whereas northern pocket gophers occasionally reach densities of 20 per acre. Young pocket gophers usually begin dispersing from the natal burrow in June when about one-third grown.

Pocket gophers are voracious herbivores; although they tend to prefer forbs and roots the pocket gopher will eat nearly any type of plant it comes across including grasses, shrubs, seedlings, and trees. Any animal matter consumed in its diet would most likely have been ingested by accident.

Pocket gophers are most likely to consume plants in one of the following ways:

  1. Pulling plants down into their tunnel from below.
  2. Root feeding on plants they come across while foraging for food or searching for a mate. The pocket gopher commonly will clip the roots off below the surface where the damage done is not apparent. Occasionally the pocket gopher will clip the base of a plant to just above the surface.
  3. Occasionally the pocket gopher will venture up to a body length from its burrow opening to consume surface vegetation. This activity only seems to happen during the growing season.
  • Exclusion:

Pocket gophers can be excluded from valuable plots of ornamental trees and shrubs with a 1/4 to 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth fence buried at least 18 inches. The bottom of the fence should be bent at a 90-degree angle so that a 6-inch apron of wire projects horizontally toward the gopher. Place the fence in shallow soil at least 2 feet from the nearest plants to avoid root injury. This method is of limited practicality because of expense and labor. Cylindrical plastic Vexar mesh tubes placed over the entire seedling, including bare root, can reduce damage to newly planted seedlings.

  • Weed Control:

Controlling broad-leaf forbs with 2, 4-D herbicide treatments can effectively control northern and Botta's pocket gophers because they prefer the underground storage structures of the forbs. This method is less effective for plains pocket gophers because they easily survive on grasses. In orchards and shelterbelts, forb control will likely limit gopher damage.

  • Flood Irrigation

 Use of this irrigation technique will create undesirable and uninhabitable living conditions for the pocket gopher.

  • Crop variety selection

 Selection and use of a plant type that has several large roots tends to increase the chance of survival in pocket gopher habitats rather than plants with 1 single root. The presence of plants with large root structures in areas inhabited by the pocket gopher appears to result in decreased pocket gopher ranging possibly due to the abundance of food.

  • Crop Rotation

Alternating the growth of crops such as wheat or other types of grains with crops the pocket gopher loves such as alfalfa can create a situation where there is not enough food to sustain the needs of the pocket gopher and cause it to move elsewhere.

  • Grain buffer strips

 Planting strips of grain approximately 50 feet in width between and around crops the pocket gopher may find desirable may isolate the attractive crop enough to discourage the hunt for it and cause pocket gophers to forage somewhere else.

MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS AND TREATMENT FOR Gophers CONTROL

Pests need food, water, and shelter. Often the problem may be solved just by removing these key items. Before even thinking about chemical pest control, it is important to be aware of Pest’s Conducive conditions & It’s Recommendations.

Pesticides can be purchased in many different forms, each form has specific uses and application methods The pesticide application method you choose depends on the nature and habits of the target pest, the properties of the pesticide, the suitability of the application equipment, and the cost and efficiency of alternative methods. Your choice is often predetermined by one or more of these factors. Follow label directions for volume recommendations and application rates based on the pest to be controlled and utilize appropriate application tips on equipment. , these application methods are for informational purposes only. To know specific applications method/s for the product you buy, please refer actual packages for complete Label Verbiage.

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