Mole and gopher control is a frequent topic in our area. These animals are not only a nuisance, but they can also be destructive to lawns and gardens. When their tunnels collapse in my yard, they leave holes in the lawn making what I call “ankle-twisters,” so named from experience. Pocket gophers also pushed piles of sand up into our well house.
Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association member B.R. Koehler gave his presentation on Mole and Gopher Control to the Waller County Master Gardener Association on February. 22, 2020 at the Waller County AgriLife Extension Office in Hempstead. B.R.’s wife, Master Gardener Charlene Koehler, gave her usual assistance with the program.
The program was considered supplemental training for the Waller County Master Gardener Training class of five. The session was open to guests from the community for a total attendance of 35. B.R.’s program includes circulating his “mole & gopher coffins” around the room with preserved samples of a mole and a gopher. He does this so everyone can learn to identify them and see the difference between them.
According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, pocket gophers are burrowing rodents which live almost entirely underground. Gophers are well adapted to their underground existence, with stout forelegs and strong curved claws for digging. They have prominent, yellow incisor teeth and large, fur-lined external cheek pouches in which food is carried. The pocket gopher’s diet mainly consists of fleshy roots of various plants, including trees. Gophers normally eat tubers such as potatoes and peanuts. They also eat green tops and seeds that can be pulled down into their burrows.
Moles are small, burrowing mammals that feed on insects. Moles have furless, pointed snouts, small eyes concealed in the fur, and no external ears. They have broadened, shovel-like front feet, webbed to the base of the claws, that enable them to dig effectively for insects. Moles have a keen sense of smell and touch but are almost blind. Moles destroy only a few plants or bulbs by direct feeding. The main damage is done when plant roots are dislodged as the animals tunnel through the soil in search of insects. Their burrowing can disfigure lawns and parks, destroy flower beds, tear up the roots of grasses and create havoc in small garden plots.
For more information about controlling moles and gophers, review material provided by Texas A&M or attend one of B.R. presentations in the future.