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.
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.
1. Ultrasonic Sound Emitters
My absolute favorite invention to keep pests away from my backyard are these cool solar-powered ultrasonic sound emitters that you can buy right off 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.
Groundhogs and gophers, as well as other animals 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 significantly!
Fencing is the best way to keep gophers away from vegetables. Gopher-proof fencing is typically made out of poly wire, plastic mesh, or heavy-gauge wire netting.
You can build a simple fence to surround an entire garden or yard, or you can create individual small enclosures for each vegetable plant in the garden.
3. Gopher Traps
Use gopher traps to catch and kill gophers on the ground before they can eat your vegetables. There are several types of simple traps that you can use, but most work best if you set them after the gophers have already started chewing on your plants. I prefer those that catch them alive, so you can drive them far away and set them free.
4. Water and Fertilizer System
If you have a drip irrigation or a sprinkler system in your yard, then you can trick gophers into thinking that heavy rain is coming and that the entire area is flooded because of all the moisture.
This will discourage gophers from digging up your veggies because they prefer to stay dry when possible and because they cannot breathe in flooded tunnels!
If you don’t have a drip irrigation system then you can water your vegetable garden a bit more than usual when gophers are around. This will keep the gophers away, just like flooding the entire yard would.
5. Motion-activated sprinklers
Like most animals, gophers 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 and there are many models to choose from.
For more inspiration on how to keep gophers out of your yard, see my latest post for a full and updated list of the most effective means of keeping gophers and groundhogs out of your yard.