CO-Horts

CO-Horts

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Quiet, Solitary




The Quiet, Solitary Pocket Gopher

By Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate



According to G.W. Witmer and R.M. Engeman of the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, pocket gophers are efficient "digging machines".  They spend the majority of their lives as a subterranean rodent quietly living its life in a closed burrow system until mating season, rearing their young or biting into buried cables while seeking roots as their main food source.  Without communication cables or electrical cables where would be?  In the same silence that pocket gophers enjoy before they conflicted with our world.  Since we live among lots of wildlife, it helps to be aware of the wildlife around us and their life cycles.


The damage a pocket gopher can do extends way beyond communication or electrical cables as if that were not enough.  Here is a brief list of some of the types of damage they can do: 

  1. Pocket gophers are one of the most serious pests and threat to reforestation in North America according to Engeman and Witmer (2000).
  2. In rangeland, their preferred diet is annual forbs or wildflowers and annual grasses.
  3. Root gnawing and basal girdling according to Sullivan and Hogue (1987) damage fruit trees such as apple, cherry, and pear trees in the Pacific Northwest.
  4. In Nebraska yields declined in alfalfa as an economic loss of around $10 million per year.  Other crops that suffered economic loss were alfalfa hay, late successional perennial grasses and clovers.
  5. Increases in invasive plant establishment and dispersal.



Photo Credit: Orlando Pest Control Solutions

I am sure that before our world became so civilized, populated and with so much dependence on technology the pocket gopher still continued to do damage, but was not so intrusive.   There are solutions to lessening the conflict of pocket gophers in our world.  One of those is burying those communication and electrical cables deeper than a foot since most of the damage occurs 10-30 centimeters within the rooting zone.  Their tunnels can cause irrigation loss and erosion according to UC Davis. 

Other solutions for managing pocket gophers as follows:

  1. use less palatable species of plants
  2. crop rotation
  3. alteration of planting and harvesting dates
  4. flood irrigation
  5. using barriers made of small mesh wire or plastic tubes for trees
  6. selective removal of forbs/flowers with herbicide 2,4-D has reduced gopher densities
  7. encouragement of natural predation
According to UC Davis, the biological options of natural predators are as follows:

  1. Snakes
  2. Owls -depends on environmental sites
  3. Weasals
  4. Badgers
  5. Foxes

To leave you on a positive note with pocket gophers; here are some good facts from outwitcritters.com:

  1. Pocket gophers bring two and a quarter tons of soil to the surface each year.
  2. Some species are excellent swimmers.
  3. The Plains Pocket Gopher is agile.   (Just a side note: And maybe that is how they got into the tunnel that houses our phone and internet which has dropped our service in Sedgwick and Phillips County over the last 2 weeks.)  


3 comments:

  1. Thank you for the information. I have a question-in our pasture is a slanting downward "tunnel" that is about 6" dia. with no dirt mounded..
    might that be a Pocket Gopher burrow? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  2. https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/natres/06515.pdf
    Compare the photos in this fact sheet on pocket gophers. Pocket gophers plug the hole on the mound. Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I want use this opportunity to tell the world what has really happened to me for past few months, I have been married for two years without a child i was so worried, I have visited several hospitals and I was told i can't not conceive because i was having fibroid, I have been treated and even undergoes cloistral operation but still couldn't conceive until One day i came across Lillian Testimony on a guestbook she was sharing the same problem exactly what is happening to me how Dr,,Miracle has cure his Fibroid, immediately i contacted him and told him about my Problem and he gave me hope that i should not be worried at all that he has cure more people already having same problem and said he can cure me under 8 weeks i was amaze. I Believe in him because he was the only hope and i followed him up he prepared me some herbs and send it to me in my state. I started using the herbs with his prescriptions, as i was taking the herbs i started noticing some changes in my body, to cut everything short i missed my period and today i have a child baby girl, My husband is so much happy and my mum too God. Thank you Dr,,Miracle I can't just keep this to my self i decided to share and post it here online for everyone to see that the work Of God In My Life True His Son Dr,,Miracle God Bless Doctor And More Grace To His Work,Here’s His Contact: Email Him At: ((Miraclespellhome@yahoo.com)) ,,,You Can Also Call Him Or Add Him On Whats-app: +2348071398555 ,,

    ReplyDelete