Burrowing Activity is Killing Trees

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Fishin' Rod

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I have planted oaks and fruit trees at our farm in southern Kansas. We have lost several well-established trees in the 3'-7' tall range due to burrowing activity through the roots.

The main culprit is pocket gophers. Another culprit is armadillos.

The damage seems to occur most often when we are in a dry spell and the watered areas around my trees are the only spots with lush growth of plants. The gophers seem to go through at that time to eat the roots of the adjacent plants AND my trees. The armadillos also burrow then to get at the insects that are thriving in each little oasis that I have created.

There is no way to trap out all of the gophers, they live in an area covering 160 acres.

Anyone have any good suggestions?

I was going to try spraying diluted castor oil around the trees to make the roots and insects taste nasty. If that is my best option, does anyone know how often I need to spray to keep the burrowing creatures at bay?


Thanks, Rod.
 

ericm979

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It won't help the trees already in the ground but when you plant new trees put them in gopher baskets. I learned that after planting a small orchard of rare apple tree for ciders. Gophers ate all of them.

For my lawn and gardens I trap gophers with Cinch traps. Impractical for 160 ac but you could protect part of it. Commercial orchards in CA hire gopher eradicators with Rodex 4000 or similar machines that blow up the gopher runs with a mix of oxygen and propane. Obviously not during fire season.
 

Fishin' Rod

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Thanks eric!

I had never heard of a gopher basket. I think I will try those on future fruit trees and expensive oaks.

(That is why the collective knowledge of a forum is so valuable!)
 

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