When your backyard gets invaded by gophers, everyone seems to have great advice on how to get rid of them. One of the more common threads will be how coffee grounds and gophers don’t mix.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly true that gophers can be repelled by strong scents, I wondered just how true this was when it came to coffee grounds acting as a deterrent.
Lucky for me, but unlucky for my brother, he recently had gopher holes appear in his backyard. This gave me the ideal opportunity to test the theory that coffee grounds repel gophers and keep them away.
Here’s how we did it, and the results we got. However, if you don’t want to read the full story, here’s the quick answer.
Coffee grounds can repel gophers, but it’s not as effective as a man-made solution such as Tomcat gopher repellent (on Amazon). We found that after filling gopher holes with a coffee ground and a soil mix, the gophers did not return to that hole, but unfortunately, they did make a new one to access their tunnel.
As you can see, we have mixed success just using coffee grounds to deter gophers. But… it can work as part of a larger strategy which I will explain below.
So, don’t discard those coffee grounds just yet. They will be useful in your fight against critters in your backyard as evidence suggest gophers don’t like the smell of coffee grounds.
How to get rid of gophers with coffee grounds (and other deterrents)
Whilst coffee grounds vs gophers didn’t work in isolation, it’s worth following our process. It shows how we started, what we saw, and how we eventually got rid of the gophers with coffee grounds and other hacks thrown into the mix.
Day 1: Coffee grounds by the gopher hole entrances
There were gopher two holes on the lawn, so we took a handful of coffee grounds and sprinkled them around the entrances. I went home and promised to return the next day.
Day 2: Coffee grounds had been disturbed
The next day we saw the coffee ground piles had been disturbed, and some granules disappeared. Does this mean gophers like coffee grounds and had taken them the tunnel to eat?
We decided it was too soon to think if any impact had been made, so we agreed I would come back in 3 days to see if the gophers had gone.
Day 6: Pushed coffee and soil mix down hole
When I came back 3 days later, my brother reported that if anything the gopher activity had gotten worse. He’s seen more shrubs eaten and more evidence of tunnelling in the backyard.
Our next idea was to fill the gopher holes with a mix of soil and coffee grounds. I took a fistful of coffee and mixed it into a bucket of gravel and soil. I also used gravel as I heard gophers find it hard to dig through – I’ve since updated that idea though!
We pushed the mix of coffee and soil into the gopher hole, pushing it in with our heels so it was nice and compact.
I promised to return in 24 hours as a gopher would want to come out of its burrow in that time so would have no choice but to face the coffee grounds in his tunnel.
Day 7: Coffee grounds almost got rid of the gophers
The next day my brother called me to say the coffee grounds had repelled the gophers from coming back up through their holes… but it was a minor success, because they had dug new holes to get out of their nest.
Based on this, we can assume that coffee grounds do deter gophers from digging through soil, but by itself, won’t get rid of them from your backyard completely.
We decided to re-group, and the next day would be going nuclear on the gophers by using all ways I have used previously in my own backyard… here’s what we did.
Week 2: Using coffee grounds, man-made repellents, and sonic pulses
We now knew that coffee grounds stopped gophers digging through earth, so we decided to fill the new holes with our mix, but also mixed the Tomcat repellent in too. I mentioned that earlier if you click the image below you will find it on Amazon.
Before we filled the holes though, we flushed them with a high-pressure hose. I saw one gopher run out, so assume he was the only one causing havoc. Once he was gone, I also started to collapse the tunnels in on the surface with my boot as deep as I could go.
What we could have done was lay a mesh under the lawn. My brother didn’t have the time, money, or inclination for that though. You can read more about how that could work here.
Instead, we cut the grass back to a short length, and removed any food sources that gophers like to forage and eat (here’s a list).
We also put sonic stakes in the ground (view on Amazon). These emit pulses that critters hate. When a gopher feels a vibration in the earth, it makes them believe that lots of predators are around.
They will not want to keep digging holes in your yard if they think they are at risk of being prey… so hopefully will move on.
Handy Hint: Castor oil is often used as a gopher repellent. Click that link for a recipe and guide to using it.
We then removed anything else from the backyard which could be attracting gophers. You can read the full process in this more in-depth guide to getting rid of gophers.
Once we’d done all we could, including laying humane traps, we decided to monitor it. My brother has a trail cam so set that up too.
Over the following two weeks he saw activity in his backyard, but no gophers, and no new holes being dug.
It’s been three months now and the gopher has not returned. Fingers crossed it will remain that way.
He has continued to sprinkle coffee grounds on the permitter fence of his backyard, so we can assume coffee grounds do keep gophers away… along with everything else he has done.
What social media says
I like to offer a balanced view on any blog post I put up on Busy Backyard. I looked on social media to see what other people have said about gophers and coffee grounds. Here’s a selection of the best comments.
“We had a very bad gopher problem in the past and did find that by spreading used coffee grounds, it seemed to help. I’ve been told that it also works in getting rid of raccoons.”
“Once you have finished brewing up a cup of coffee, sprinkle the used grounds into the tunnels and cover them with soil. You can also mix the coffee grounds into your soil. It will help repel the gophers while fertilizing your plants. Gophers don’t like the smell.”
“I have tried using leftover coffee grounds and they won’t come back to that hole, but they still seem to surface elsewhere so it’s like playing a real-life game of Whack-a-Mole.”