Struggling to deal with gophers that have made your lawn their home? Can’t seem to trap them easily despite identifying active tunnels? Tired of filling up and covering gopher holes? This is an indication that you need to up your rodent-ridding game.
Pouring down a small dose of bleach and ammonia into a gopher hole is a tried and tested method to kill gophers. Ideally set up your garden hose over a gopher hole and pour down a gallon of each, ammonia and bleach. Within seconds this will fill up the entire connection of underground gopher tunnels and put an end to your gopher troubles.
Worried about spoiling your garden hose and risking your plants during hose-watering sessions? You can learn how to clean a garden hose and clear the traces of ammonia and bleach that may be left-back.
How Do Gophers Harm Lawns?
Gophers, and rodents similar to them, are extremely harmful to your garden. Even worse, you will never see them damaging your lawn, as it’s all happening underground. Other gopher-like rodents follow a carnivores diet and munch of bacteria and micro-organisms in the soil.
These micro-organisms and insects present in the soil are part of the reason your soil is healthy and can contribute to the grass and plant roots. Once the presence of such living organisms decreases in your soil content, brown grass patches, dying plants, loss of color, and shedding of leaves begins to occur.
Speaking of gophers, they typically harm gardens in 3 ways:
- As they are underground rodents, they create a channel of tunnels for navigation purposes. Sadly, gophers like to have several underground routes to freely roam around and munch on food scattered around your lawn.
This diminishes the structural integrity of your soil and weakens its compactness too.
- Gophers are herbivores. Thus their vegetarian diet makes them rely on plant matter for food. This comes as a great risk for your plants and grass as gophers feast on their roots. As time passes, they would’ve eaten more than 70% of your plant roots.
This drastically reduces your grass and plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Over time, you will begin to notice that in spite of taking extreme care and following all lawn maintenance guidelines, your plants are dying.
- Gophers have a tendency to pull shards of grass into the soil. This leads to uprooting of otherwise developing grass and also shabby aesthetics of your backyard’s surface.
Bleach and Ammonia To Kill a Gopher
Ammonia possesses a heavy vapor and vapor pressure too. The best part is that it doesn’t poison the soil and is cheaper than traditional gasoline or propane methods to kill gophers. Mixing ammonia with bleach creates chloramine gas that leads to instant death. Whereas only ammonia leads to dizziness.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using bleach and ammonia to kill gophers:
Step 1: Cut the gopher hole into two halves with the help of a shovel. The success rate in eliminating gophers without this step is high too. But to be sure of maximizing the effectiveness of this method, you must cut every gopher hole into two halves.
Step 2: Place a plastic tube in these gopher holes. Do not use a metallic tube as due to zero flexibility there is a chance of creating unwanted cracks in the soil and sending the ammonia and bleach elsewhere.
If you did not follow step one then you would need a tube/funnel of much bigger diameter. The best way is to use two moderate diameter funnels. One for each, ammonia, and bleach.
Step 3: Use one side of the hole and one funnel to first pour an entire gallon of bleach. The active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite, will begin to give out fumes that are corrosive in nature. This will start to damage the gopher’s body tissues and lead to weakness.
Step 4: Use the untouched side of the hole by inserting the second funnel into it. Pour one gallon of ammonia. Now that the two ingredients have combined, they begin to react and give out fatal fumes.
Within a minute, the ammonia will cause the bleach to decompose into hydrochloric acid. This hydrochloric acid reacts with the remaining ammonia to release life-threatening toxic vapor and stench. This step-by-step release of noxious substances will build into one big dose of lethal poison that kills all gophers in nearby and connected holes.
Step 5: Make sure you cover any existing lawn surface holes for around 10 minutes. This much time is enough for the mixture to spread and kill all the gophers. Covering the holes ensures that gophers who survived the initial attack cannot find a way out. Besides, it takes them a couple of minutes to dig a new tunnel. By the time they find an escape route, it would be too late.
Bonus tip: Make sure you don’t mix the two ingredients and pour it as this reduces the effectiveness of the technique.
The disadvantage of Using Bleach and Ammonia To Eliminate Gopher
There is one disadvantage of using this technique. Prolonged exposure to the scent of ammonia will cause inflammation and severe irritation in the respiratory tract, nose, and eyes. This could lead to partial or complete blindness, loss of sense of smell, or irreparable lung damage.
To combat this issue, either wear a proper face mask or wait for a windy day. When it’s windy, ensure the wind is blowing in the opposite direction from your position. This would drastically reduce the possibility of inhaling harmful fumes.
Advantages of Using Bleach and Ammonia To Eliminate Gophers
- Needless to say, this solution is much cheaper than purchasing branded ultrasonic repellents. These ultrasonic repellents also require extra money to be spent on batteries to ensure the vibrations released are strong enough to shock the gophers.
- This method of killing gophers comes with a 100% guarantee.
- The solution doesn’t require any preparation and can be directly poured into the gopher holes.
Additional Tips and Tricks to Kill Gophers
- Do you have a lawnmower that doesn’t stop smoking? You can either access this guide and repair it, or you can use it to tackle your gopher troubles. Fix a metallic pipe from your mower’s exhaust into a gopher complex and leave the mower on for approximately 15 minutes. If you see smoke coming out of other holes on your lawn surface, simply plug with them any material.
This smoke will choke the gophers and leave them for dead. The chance to perform a second round of smoking-poisoning will rarely arise.
- Place a gopher trap inside a box. Use chicken feed or vegetable meal as bait. You would manage to kill at least a couple of gophers within a week of applying this method.
Resort to this technique only if the gophers are not too many in number.
- Do you have troublesome cats in your yard? Consider putting them onto these gophers. One sighting is enough for them to make up their mind to rest only after eating the gopher.
Even better, backyard owners who have dogs can train their dogs to dig through gopher moles. Being the quick and efficient diggers that they are, the chances are your dog would always land up with at least one gopher.
Now of course you don’t want your dog to eat these rodents. This is where the troublesome cats can clear the clutter for you.
- Purchase small plastic bags, crush them, and put them inside these holes. In order to continue moving around in their tunnels, gophers would chew through the plastic bags. This results in the sighting of a dead gopher laying on your lawn surface in a couple of days in inserting the bag.
- Put some peppermint oil on cotton balls and chuck it in the gopher tunnel. This acts as a gopher-repellent and usually forces them to look for a new home.
Strong scent castor seeds are another effective remedy. Just throw in a handful of them into the tunnels and surprise yourself.
Gophers and other rodents can be a nightmare for gardeners. The sooner you take measures to get rid of them, the higher the chances you won’t have to waste time continually maintaining your lawn.
If your lawnmower is not starting and is releasing excess smoke, and if you have gopher issues, you must seriously consider using the smoke to kill these nasty rodents.