Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gopher, Gopher, Gone

The past gopher articles in the newsletter caused quite the reaction. Here's an update on two non-lethal treatments a resident is using to very good effect:

The resident's yard was being plowed up in several new places every day. He treated the yard with Molemax (available via the Internet). It is a granule solution that you spread on the yard using a spreader. After watering the lawn, it sinks into the yard and creates an odor that the gophers don't like. As of this writing, it's presumed to be safe for your lawn and the odor is not detectable other than to the gopher.

The gopher activity stopped almost entirely. In spreading the Molemax, he had the spreader set a little too high and ran out of the Molemax before finishing the yard. The treated side had no more mounds within a couple of days but the untreated side continued to be affected.

He has also tried a liquid Castor oil product, available at OSH, that you attach to a garden hose. He sprayed the untreated side of the yard heavily and slowed activity there almost, but not quite, to a stop.

He's finding that both of these products need to be applied in about twice the strength they suggest and notes that this may just be true for the initial application and later boosters can be applied more sparingly.

He sites that the Molemax granules will work better in the long run because they persist on the ground for a long time as they slowly get watered in. The only question now is how long the treatments last. The product is not cheap.

Another solution came to mind: Spreading raw Castor oil from a hose-end sprayer (mixed with a little detergent to create an emulsion) might be cheap and effective. After some quick research, he ran across several very enthusiastic posts. One man says he spreads 1 pint/2500 square feet and keeps his critters (moles in his case) away for 6 weeks per application. He found a bulk source for Castor oil at $22/gallon. So this may be the way to go in the future.

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