Preventing Gopher Damage To Lawn: Tips & Tricks

Maintaining a garden or lawn requires a significant amount of money and hard work. However, all of this can go to waste if the garden becomes infested by gophers and other rodents. They are burrowing rodents that belong to the family of squirrels, groundhogs, and so on. 

The gopher rodents burrow and dig up the soil of the lawn, damaging the roots of plants and vegetables. Not only that, but the droppings of the ground animal also cause damage to the soil composition, plant growth, etc. Additionally, the burrowing will ruin the appearance and beauty of the garden. 

So, how to prevent gopher damage to lawns? Understanding their behavior and habits is essential to prevent this species from damaging the lawn. Taking proper preventive measures is also important to ensure that the gophers do not cause any damage. 

In this guide, we will discuss the behavior and habits of these animals and how they cause damage to lawns and gardens. We will also discuss the methods for the prevention of lawn damage. So, stay tuned till the end of the guide. 

Gopher Behavior

As we mentioned earlier, gophers are burrowing rodents belonging to the ground animal family. These animals have sharp claws and paws, which help them burrow the ground and forage. Gophers can dig through the soil to make tunnels and mounds for shelter, food storage, etc. 

Gopher Behavior

The tunnels dug up by the gophers can go down several yards underground. And these burrowing habits lead to the severe destruction of lawns, gardens, and yards. Not only that, but animal behavior also includes gnawing through the roots of plants and vegetables.

Gophers are known to be herbivores as they feed on plants, vegetables, etc. Their species usually consume vegetables, roots, stems, etc., that mount up to 50 to 60 percent of their actual weight. This eating habit or foraging behavior causes significant lawn and garden damage. 

Typically, the gophers rely on the tunnels they dig during the winter months. The animals hibernate during the cold weather and store food in their tunnels for survival. To ensure adequate food storage, the animals dig up several tunnels, which further ruins the lawns and plants. 

Interaction Of Gophers With Different Plant Species

The diet of gopher species normally depends on fruits, vegetables, and trees due to their herbivore nature. And knowing the interaction with different plant species can help homeowners and gardeners prevent the impact of this animal. 

Interaction Of Gophers With Different Plant Species

Naturally, the gophers prefer to feed on vegetables with high moisture levels. These include sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and many more. Not only that, but the animals also prefer gnawing on fruit or flower trees and plants. 

However, there are quite a few plants that these rodents tend to avoid. Plants with woody stems, strong smell, etc., often help to deter the ground animals. These plants usually include lavender, rosemary, sage, and many more. 

Gopher Damage To Lawn 

Gopher Damage To Lawn 

Gophers typically cause damage to gardens through their foraging and burrowing habits. 

  • The animals dig through the soil on the surface of the garden to prepare tunnels for shelter and food storage. This makes the soil loose and ruins its composition, preventing healthy plant growth. 
  • One of the most common signs that gophers damage your garden is the piles of sand or dirt in the lawn. As the rodents dig through the soil, they push up the dirt to the surface. And this results in the creation of big mounds of soil, ruining the appearance and the evenness of the surface. 
  • Another major damage caused by rodents is the impact on their feeding habits. The animals dig through the soil and feed on vegetables, plant roots, and so on. This feeding habit, paired with their burrow systems, often uproots the plants or ruin their structure, resulting in poor plant health. 

Besides, they are small ground animals, making them a target for severe predators, such as snakes, foxes, and many more. This not only increases the risk of wildlife entering the garden but also causes damage to the lawn.

Different Ways Of Gopher Damage To Lawns

There are quite a few ways these rodents cause severe damage to the appearance and health of lawns. Check out the different ways in which gopher damages the lawn. 

Different Ways Of Gopher Damage To Lawns


The most common way gophers ruin the lawn’s appearance and surface is through tunneling. When the animals dig through the soil of the garden, it creates piles or mounds of dirt on the ground. Not only that, but it makes holes in the surface, making the ground uneven. 

Impact on Soil Composition 

Gophers cause significant damage to the soil composition through foraging and burrowing. This leads to poor plant health and also reduces lawn appearance. 

Plant Damage 

The foraging habits of the ground animal often uproot the plants and vegetables, resulting in the death of the plants. Plant damage can also cause additional damage to the lawns, ruining their condition further. 

Water Loss

As we mentioned earlier, the rodents create tunnels and holes in the lawn. This often causes the water in the garden to divert into the tunnels and move away from the plants. And this water loss will cause the plants to die. 

Transmit Diseases 

When gophers are present in lawns or gardens, they leave their droppings on the soil. When the rodents’ urine and droppings mix with the soil’s composition, it impacts the plants. Not only that, but it also transmits several diseases to plants, animals, and people. 

How To Identify Potential Gopher Damage in Lawns?

Now, there are quite a few ways to identify the garden damage caused by rodents. Here are the ways to help you know about lawn damage. 

How To Identify Potential Gopher Damage in Lawns

Dying Plants 

One of the most common signs of gopher damage in gardens is to look for dying plants. Uprooted plants, poor plant health, and so on are clear indications that the garden is infested by these beasts. This is because rodents feed on plants and vegetables. 

Irregular Lawn Surface

Gopher species burrow the lawns and forage for food. They prepare tunnels and holes in the surface for shelter, food storage, etc. This often makes the soil of the garden loose and unstable. 

Water Pools

Tunnels and holes created by the gophers often divert the water away from the surface. These tunnels cause the water to pool in the holes and cause damage to the soil and plants. It is a clear sign that rodents attacked the garden. 


  • Taking proper steps is a must once you have identified that gopher rodents infest the lawn. 
  • Using prevention methods and proper lawn care products will help prevent further damage to the lawns and promote healthy plant growth. 

Prevention and Control

Preventing gopher damage will not only ensure wildlife removal from the garden but will also help to ensure proper plant growth. Let us take a look at a few measures to prevent gopher infestation. 

Gopher Prevention and Control

Rely on Physical Barriers

Ensuring physical barriers is a great way of preventing these animals and other rodents from entering the lawn. Put up wire mesh or hardware cloth around the perimeter to stop rodents and other garden and lawn pests

Maintain the Lawn and Garden 

Gopher species are typically attracted to the dirt and debris found on surfaces and lawns. Following proper lawn maintenance tips is a great way to clean the garden. Remove excess vegetables, unwanted weeds, debris, dried leaves, and so on from the land. 


One of the most effective methods of preventing gopher infestation is to rely on live trapping. Homeowners set traps in the tunnels dug up by the rodents to catch them. 


Putting poisonous baits in the active tunnels of the garden is another method of reducing the infestation of gophers. They will feed on the poisonous bait and die. However, using this bait carefully is a must to prevent damage to garden pests.

Plant Gopher-Resistant Plants

There are quite a few plants that help homeowners to resist gophers. These plants typically include lavender, rosemary, sage, and so on. Planting these plants in the garden will help to keep the rodents away. 

How To Manage Gopher Infestations Safely?

How To Manage Gopher Infestations Safely

Check out the steps on how to manage lawn damage from burrowing animals. 

Step 1: Identify The Gopher Presence

The first step of prevention is to identify the gopher species’ presence in the garden. Look for signs such as tunnels, water pooling, uprooted plants, and so on. 

Step 2: Choose The Prevention Method 

Choose a lawn maintenance service method that works best for you and your garden. 

Step 3: Ensure Safety Precautions

Make sure that you focus on safety precautions. It is an important step as baiting, trapping, etc., can cause harm to other species present in the garden. 

Step 4: Monitor Properly 

After setting up the trap and relying on safe pest control methods, monitor the situation properly. Check the traps and baits regularly and remove the dead or trapped gophers. 


If you do not have proper knowledge about the infestation, contact a professional. Ensuring professional pest control is also helpful in case of a severe infestation of gophers. 

Repairing Gopher Damage to Lawns 

Repairing gopher damage to lawns is essential to restore the appearance and health of the garden. There are several steps to help you with lawn restoration easily. Let us take a look at the repair process. 

Repairing Gopher Damage to Lawns 

Level The Soil

For lawn repair, the first step is to level the soil properly. Use a shovel or rake to ensure proper evenness of the garden surface. 

Remove Damaged or Dead Plants 

Make sure that you clear the lawn of all the dead plants, debris, and so on properly. It is a crucial step for repairing gopher damage to lawn.

Plant New Plants

Once you have removed the dead plants, it is time to plant new ones. Plant seeds throughout the entire garden and take proper care. Take suggestions from pest control companies on which plants you should plant.

Use Preventive Measures

To prevent the gophers from infesting the garden again, rely on preventive measures. Put up fences, wire mesh, pest management, and so on to prevent entry into the garden. 

How To Maintain A Healthy Lawn?

How To Maintain A Healthy Lawn

Here are a few ways of ensuring proper lawn maintenance without much trouble. 

Water The Plants Regularly

One of the key points of maintaining a healthy lawn is watering the plants regularly. Gophers are typically attracted to dry soil; proper soil hydration keeps the rodents away. 

Proper Mowing 

Mowing the lawns and gardens often prevent the gopher species from nesting or burrowing in the soil. 


The use of proper and accurate amounts of fertilization is a must for healthy plant growth. It strengthens the roots of plants and vegetables, making them less attractive to gophers and other rodents. This will also help with pest prevention

Regular Maintenance

Last, keep the soil clean of dirt, debris, etc. Remove dry leaves and dead plants, and check for infestations regularly.

If you’re dealing with gopher damage to your lawn, be sure to check out our article on gopher damage to lawn for insights into how to identify and repair the damage caused by gophers. Additionally, if you’re concerned about the possibility of gophers having rabies, our article on can gophers have rabies provides information on the likelihood of gophers carrying the disease and the symptoms to watch for. Finally, if you’re curious about whether gophers can climb trees, our article on can gophers climb trees explores the physical abilities of gophers and whether they are capable of scaling trees. Our piece on can gophers have rabies provides information on the potential risk of disease transmission, while our article on can gophers climb trees offers insights into the physical abilities of gophers.


Before we wrap things up, let’s look at some of the people’s most common queries regarding the matter!

Q: How Do I Know If Gophers Are Causing Damage To My Lawn?

Identifying the gophers causing damage to the lawns and gardens is important to protect the plants and soil. Look for mounds of soil, water pooling, tunnels, and many more that are signs of their damage. 

Q: Can Gopher Damage To Lawns Be Prevented?

Yes, the damage to lawns can be prevented. Use physical barriers to prevent the entry of these rodents. Ensure regular maintenance and proper lawn care to prevent damage. 


Gophers can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. The burrowing and foraging habits of the rodents result in damage as they dig up tunnels into the ground. Not only that, but they also cause damage to plants and vegetables in the garden. 

However, there are quite a few methods of preventing gopher damage to lawns and gardens. And following these prevention methods will help to ensure wildlife removal and infestation. Ensure proper maintenance, mowing, fertilization, and so on to keep your garden healthy. 

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

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