We don't want to put out poisons, and we have tried most everything else with no success:

  • vibrating pegs
  • traps
  • water in the holes
  • pepper

Its to the point where we're ready to pave over the lawn. Has anyone found a method that worked?

  • 7
    Call Bill Murray : google.com/images?q=Bill+Murray+caddyshack
    – jessegavin
    Mar 3, 2011 at 20:55
  • 1
    Is there a specific reason you are averse to poison? Do you have specific objection to killing them, or is it just an issue of pets/children/etc? Mar 3, 2011 at 21:01
  • 5
    Depending on local laws, might I suggest a 17 HMR or 22 rifle?
    – Doresoom
    Mar 3, 2011 at 21:15
  • 2
    I second the rifle depending on where you are. Its lots of work, but can be fun.
    – Web
    Mar 3, 2011 at 21:35
  • 1
    Are you talking about western gophers or moles? Reason for asking is, if moles, a completely different method can be used. Mar 4, 2011 at 9:56

5 Answers 5


I'll echo @shirlock homes and ask for clarification if you are dealing with gophers or moles.

I'm not sure about gophers, but critters like moles will often burrow and tunnel into a yard because the yard is infested with grubs. They're there to eat the grubs. To get rid of the moles you then treat the grub problem and the moles go away.

Check out your yard, look for grubs and other insect infestations.

  • 4
    +1 for the idea of figuring out why they're coming to your yard and fixing that. That was what finally solved our mole problem. (and got my lawn looking decent for the first time in years... blasted grubs!)
    – cabbey
    Mar 5, 2011 at 8:43

I was watching my lovely lawn being totally destroyed by gophers. I tried all of the non-lethal forms of rodent/gopher control. My association sent the gardeners to treat for gophers and nothing helped; chili powder; noise devices; moth balls and I can't remember everything I tried over approximately a year.

BUT I have totally rid the lawn of gophers by opening up a couple of fresh gopher holes and placing cat feces (from my cat's litter box) down the hole as far as my delivery device will allow. Then I replace the dirt to close the gopher hole.

The cat is a predator of the gopher/rodent and simply scares the gophers away. I suspect you could try this with moles too.


I have a friend who swears by Euphorbia Lathyrus (he calls it Mole Purge). It has naturalized itself in his back yard and in flowerbeds at the front of his house, and the only places I've seen molehills are at the extreme edges of the front of his lot.

I assume you're in North America from your use of the word gopher; the Wikipedia page indicates that its natural range is large, so it will probably work in a lot of climates (I'm in USDA zone 6).

  • Very interesting solution. Although, take note that the Wikipedia page says the plant is poisonous. Natural poison, not a synthetic chemical though. Still a problem with pets prone to chew on vegetation.
    – Doresoom
    Mar 3, 2011 at 23:09
  • @Doresoom: he has dogs, some who graze a lot, and has never had any problems with them chewing on the mole purge. The sap smells pungent, so it might not be attractive to them.
    – Niall C.
    Mar 3, 2011 at 23:26
  • Are we talking about moles, gophers, or groundhogs? Most of the time I hear gopher people are referring to what I call a groundhog which are much much bigger than moles.
    – Cody C
    Mar 4, 2011 at 15:16
  • Just trying to cover all the bases. With that addressed, I think you've got a great answer. (Also - "some who graze a lot" cracked me up. Our dog regularly comes back into the house with green teeth from eating grass.)
    – Doresoom
    Mar 4, 2011 at 19:39
  • Generally it is a bad idea to import items to deal with local pests. The initial effort is generally successful, but the aftereffects sometimes are much worse. Try scaring off with signs of natural predators (cat feces) combined with a reduction in food (grub control). They live there because it's comfy, make it inhospitable.
    – Edwin Buck
    Sep 24, 2012 at 14:31

If it's moles, then one solution is to use mole repellent. It's a granular material that you spread on your lawn and water in.

Apparently, it's primarily castor oil and it, in turn, is eaten by the grubs which then taste bad and the moles move on to other areas.

The catch is you need to 'corral' the gophers out of your yard by spreading and watering in sections as you go to 'push' them out of the yard.

The other catch is if you are in an urban area, you're just pushing the gophers over to your neighbor's yard. So, you may not be seen as a great neighbor. ;)

All that said, a few people mentioned getting rid of the grubs to begin with which never occurred to me. So I think that's my next job...


50 years ago I taped a hose to my car's exhaust pipe, leaving the motor run. I'm not sure if the fumes killed them or caused them to move on. Before I fumed them I tried running water, using a garden hose, down their holes. All that did was make my yard a swamp, with no visible effect on the critters.

  • 1
    I believe carbon monoxide would be considered poisoning.
    – BMitch
    Sep 30, 2015 at 22:09
  • That won't work too well these days. Modern cars emit almost no carbon monoxide, making exhaust fumes far less poisonous.
    – Mark
    Apr 6, 2016 at 0:04

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