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What Vegetables do Gophers Eat? (How to Prevent It!)

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Gophers are not just cute little furry creatures that live in the ground all the time. They’re also pesky rodents with a penchant for chewing plants and vegetables, including things like tomatoes, potatoes, squash, and pumpkins.

Gophers will eat almost anything they can get their teeth on, but they seem particularly fond of roots and stems. Therefore they will basically eat almost any of the vegetables present in your backyard!

They burrow through the soil to find vegetable roots and other goodies, like some insects, which can be devastating for your garden or landscaping projects.

Gophers can be very destructive pests because once they start eating something it’s hard to stop them from continuing until there is nothing left to chew on! 

This is why I have devised a list of the most effective; some even cost-free, methods to deter gophers from your yard!

But let’s look a bit further into the favorite vegetables of gophers (many of which are shared with the groundhog!).  

Do Gophers Eat Zucchini?

Yes, gophers eat zucchini. Zucchini is on the gopher’s menu whether it’s raw, or cooked! Just like groundhogs, gophers love tasty vegetables like zucchini and squash because they are full of moisture.

Zucchini also has lots of great nutrients that gophers need to stay healthy and alive. They will eat both the zucchini plant itself and the fruit of the zucchini vine.

Do Gophers Eat Tomatoes?

Gophers love tomatoes! They will eat the leaves and stems, and then they’ll go straight for the fruit. Gopher damage on tomatoes, their roots, and the plant parts is both ugly and devastating.

They have quite similar eating habits to their cousins, the groundhog, which also loves tomatoes.

Do gophers also eat tomato plants?

Yes, but they like tomatoes themselves much more because of all the nutrients in them! The only way to keep gophers from eating your tomatoes is to deter them or trap them.

Do Gophers Eat Potatoes and potatoes plants?

Gophers like potatoes too! They enjoy chewing up the starchy roots and potatoes because they contain a lot of energy.

Although the potatoes plant belongs to the slightly toxic nightshade family, they may also eat the leaves of potato plants but they do not usually do this.

Do Gophers Eat Pumpkin?

Yes, gophers eat pumpkins. They are gopher favorites for sure! Gophers love to eat pumpkin vines and stems because of all the moisture, nutrients, and delicious flavors that they have inside them.

Pumpkin is on the gopher menu in the fall and it contains lots of good nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Gophers also eat pumpkin vines because they are easy to chew through.

Do Gophers Eat Lettuce?

Yes, they do! They love munching on fresh vegetables like lettuce too. Because lettuce is mostly water it’s easy for gophers to eat it, and they’ll go right through a head of lettuce in just a few minutes. Lettuce is a gopher’s favorite, and they eat the roots and stems of lettuce plants as well.

Do Gophers Eat Kale?

Kale, or green kale, is a popular food item for gophers! They love to eat them from below, which is annoying, but quite fun to watch!

They start from the roots and then pull down the rest of the plant so they don’t have to come to the surface and risk being seen.

Watch this almost cartoonish way a gopher eats a kale plant from a vegetable garden!

They will do a similar trick with carrots and others, even larger, garden plants!

Do Gophers Eat Carrots?

Yes, they love carrots! Whereas the carrot plants are not on the main menu for gophers, they will eat them from time to time if they come across them in your yard or garden.

The gopher’s most preferred vegetables are the roots, or actual carrots, that grow underground, but they will also eat the tops of carrot plants.

Gophers are easy to trap with standard gopher traps and deter by other means if you are having problems with them eating your vegetables!

How to Prevent Gophers from Eating your Vegetables

There are several methods for keeping gophers away from your vegetable plants or garden. Here is a shortlist of ideas. For the full list see my 10-item post here.

Hand Keeping gopher away
Here comes my favorite tips to keep gophers out of your vegetables!

1. Using ultrasonic sound

Gophers, like other pest mammals that may invade your garden, tend to have very good hearing. This means that loud or consistent noises will scare them away or at least shorten their visits.

Check out my full buying guide for these ingenious ultrasonic repeller devices here!

One of my favorite technologies to keep pests away from my backyard is these cool solar-powered ultrasonic sound emitters that you can buy right from Amazon! In my experience, they really work, and the solar panels on top save you the time and money of changing batteries all the time.  

My favorite ultrasonic emitters. Click to read more at Amazon.

They will also work against rodents like gophers, mice, and rats!

2. Sprinkling natural repellents

Gophers may be scared off by using natural scents such as coyote urine or predator scents.

They may also cause them to leave if there is a combination of sounds being played from a radio. The sounds include the sound of barking dogs and coyotes.

You can sprinkle dog hair, cayenne pepper or strong enteric oils and other natural repellents around the garden to keep the groundhogs away.

See my complete list of humane ways to keep groundhogs away from your yard for more tips and tricks!

3. Fencing around the garden

You can also fence around your garden to keep gophers from entering the garden. It should be at least 3 feet deep and have a double row of fencing.

A good deep (underground) fence will keep groundhogs out!

Groundhogs are good diggers so it has to go underground or they may find a way into the garden even with the fences in place!

4. Using live traps

You can use a live trap to capture gophers and move them to another area. Live trapping is currently the most humane way of groundhog control. Once you have removed all groundhogs from an area, it is important to ensure that they do not come back by using fencing or other barriers to block access.

You can also just buy a live trap, as the sturdy metal ones shown here:

A live groundhog trap is a humane way to get permanently rid of gophers in your yard.

A version with thick gloves for safe handling.

To lure the groundhogs in, you can use one of the numerous favorite foods of groundhogs or an optimized extra attractive formula like this one to make the catch even quicker!

5. Using natural pesticides

There are pesticides or rodent toxins that can be used to kill groundhogs on your property. These may also affect other animals in the area so it is important to ensure that they are only sprayed on the targeted plants.

I do not recommend these, as I prefer more humane ways as described here. Also, anything that kills an animal will also harm humans to some degree, so go for a repellant rather than a toxin if you go the chemical route!

6. Using Scarecrows

You can use a scarecrow in your garden to keep groundhogs away. Groundhogs are afraid of novelty so time-sensitive or motion-activated scarecrows may also be effective in keeping them out of the garden.

Owls will scare most rodents and intimidate larger intruders as well!

7. Using Lights

Groundhogs are not strictly nocturnal animals but they are most active at low light so they do avoid areas with bright lights.

Motion-activated lights, sounds, and sprinklers may help prevent groundhogs from entering your yard.

Any blinking light will confuse and scare away groundhogs from your yard, especially if they are motion activated and sudden!

8. Motion-activated sprinklers

Like most animals, groundhogs hate surprises, and they will run away if suddenly sprayed with water. I like this solution because it is humane, simple, effective, and does not require much time to set up.

My favorite sprinkler option here is the Havahart 5277.

The Havahart 5277 is a motion-activated sprinkler that is activated by the movement of animals up to 25 feet away and sprays them with a harmless water jet, frightening them off and keeping them at bay.

The included metal stake makes it easy to install in your garden, and the sprinkler can be rotated 180 degrees for maximum coverage.

Check out my recent post on the best humane, but effective, tactics against rodents like groundhogs and gophers in your yard!

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