Gophers cause havoc in backyards by digging holes in lawns, burrowing tunnel networks, and chewing plants. Whilst there are plenty of heavy-duty methods for getting rid of them, you can also resort to scents and smells.
I’ve spent considerable time finding out what smells gophers hate, and whether there’s a smell that keeps gophers away. Here’s the list, with comments I’ve also discovered on social media where other people also tried to deter these critters.
What smell keeps gophers away?
No matter what scent you choose to deter gophers with, you will need a lot of it. Whether you pour the smelly stuff down a gopher hole, or spray it in your backyard, it’s likely going to be needed at high volume.
This means you probably going to have to buy something, so you might as well get an industrial product designed as a smell to deter gophers. That’s my first recommendation.
1. Gopher repellent granules smell
There’s this brand of repellent granules on Amazon which has exceptional reviews. It’s been tested by professional pest control experts and has a potent smell that gophers hate. If you want to keep gophers away, as well as moles, groundhogs, voles, and other burrowing pests, click the image below.
2. Castor oil smell
Castor oil is another smell that gophers are said to hate, and it’s often used by pest control companies. All you do is mix a couple of tablespoons of dish soap liquid with a quarter a cup of castor oil, then pour and mix it into a gallon of water (read the full recipe here).
You now have a potent mix of smells that is said to keep gophers away. But how you apply it is key… you need to spray it over all the areas gophers are invading. Buy a one-gallon pump pressure sprayer on Amazon to do the job.
The good thing about this gopher deterrent scent is that it won’t harm your lawn, plants, or backyard and isn’t toxic or poisonous to wildlife.
Someone on Twitter also recommends just using the granules. I assume you would just pour them down the gopher hole. Apparently, gophers hate the taste too, and it will act as a laxative on them!
“I’ve had no luck expelling gophers here but recently learned about castor oil granules. It’s non-lethal and they hate the smell.”
3. Society garlic smell
Society garlic, also known as pink agapanthus, wild garlic, sweet garlic, spring bulbs, or spring flowers, originates from Africa. It’s used as a herbal remedy to treat different ailments.
But I also found out that some people use it to deter gophers. Here’s what one Twitter user said when I asked what scent keeps gophers away.
“Back in 1992 I was living in Albuquerque and had a huge gopher problem in our backyard. A neighbor told me to use society garlic to deter them, as apparently groundhogs and gophers hate the smell. I planted some up in pots and placed them 20 feet apart around our yard and it worked brilliantly.”
4. Peppermint smell
Mint, and more specifically, peppermint oil, is another household item that is said to deter gophers. It smells minty fresh to use, but gophers are said to hate it.
One of the more common approaches I’ve heard about involves soaking peppermint oil into cotton balls and then pushing them down into gopher holes.
I also saw another mint-related tip on Twitter.
“Insert new mint tea bags and mint gum into gopher holes then cover the holes with dirt again. Gophers hate the smell of mint smell and will move elsewhere.”
5. Ammonia smell
I’ve never tried this one but saw it on an eHow video where they talk about ways to deter groundhogs, so I assume it could also be a scent that keeps gophers away.
The woman explains how you pour ammonia into an aluminium foil pan and then place it in your backyard where the critters have been seen. She also recommends using black pepper too, but that can be spread on plants and grass.
She advises you don’t pour this potent smelling mix on plants or onto soil.
6. Common herb and plant smells
There are also plants you can encourage to grow in your yard which are said to emit smells and scents that keeps gophers away. These include common plants we’ve all heard of such as:
7. Coffee grounds smell
If you like coffee in the morning you will already know what a enticing smell it has… for you maybe. Gophers on the other hand, cannot stand the smell of coffee, and it’s said to make them want to vacate their tunnels.
You might need a lot of coffee though, so don’t buy the expensive stuff!
Sprinkle coffee grounds around the entrances to gopher tunnels and other areas you don’t want them, e.g., in pots, raised beds, and planters.
Before you rush out and start spreading these smells over your backyard, it’s worth noting that there are also sounds and vibrations that gophers hate. If you check out this sonic repellent on Amazon, you should be impressed by how it works.
Handy Hint: Some people say Juicy Fruit gum gets rid of gophers.
What smell attracts gophers?
Those are the smells to deter gophers, but you might unwittingly have smells in your backyard that are attracting gophers. Understanding what those attractive smells are and removing could be another way you can get rid of your gopher problem.
All the following foods have smells that attract gophers so are often used as bait in traps. If you have these in your yard, perhaps remove them, or cleaning them up.
- Bird seed
- Freshly cut grass
- Peanut butter
- Pet food
You will also find this list of foods that gophers eat useful.