Identifying Gopher Damage: A Homeowner’s Guide to Protecting Your Arizona Yard

Are you a homeowner in Arizona facing the perplexing task of dealing with gophers?

Understanding and identifying gopher damage is crucial in taking the first steps towards effective control.

In this guide, we’ll explore what gopher damage looks like in your yard and garden, and provide practical tips on how to fix it.

What Does Gopher Damage Look Like?

Gopher activity can be quite destructive to your landscape. Here are key signs to look out for:

Gopher Mounds: One of the most evident signs of gopher damage in Arizona yards is the presence of fresh mounds of dirt. These mounds are usually fan-shaped and appear as the gopher digs tunnels and pushes soil to the surface.

gopher mounds

Damaged Plants: Gophers primarily feed on plant roots, which can lead to noticeable wilting, yellowing, or sudden collapse of plants. Young trees and shrubs are particularly vulnerable to gopher lawn damage.

Tunnels and Burrows: While less visible, you might notice soft spots in the ground where gophers have tunneled close to the surface. These areas can collapse under pressure, creating uneven ground.

Gopher Damage vs Vole Damage

Gopher mounds are fan-shaped or crescent-shaped with finely sifted soil and often have a visible plug, usually over a foot in diameter.


Voles, on the other hand, don’t create large mounds. Instead, they make runways on the surface of the ground, visible as narrow paths through grass or vegetation, indicating their underground burrowing activity.


These distinct characteristics help differentiate between gopher and vole damage in yards.

Monthly savings
Rodent Type Mound Shape Soil Type Location Characterstics Common in Arizona?
Gopher Fan-Shaped, often with a plug Loose, fine soil Near garden areas and open fields Yes
Vole Smaller, less distinict, flatter Usually grassy, mixed with plant material Near the surface, often in dense vegetation Yes, particulary in areas with ample vegetation

Recognizing Gopher Yard Damage

Gopher yard damage extends beyond just aesthetic concerns. They can undermine the structural integrity of your garden, leading to issues like:

  • Erosion and Drainage Problems: The extensive tunnel systems created by gophers can disrupt normal drainage patterns, leading to erosion and water logging.
  • Root Damage: Gophers chew through roots, which can be detrimental to the health and stability of plants.

How to Fix Gopher Damage

Repairing gopher damage involves a two-pronged approach: restoring your yard and implementing control measures.

  • Restoring the Landscape: After removing gophers, fill in tunnels and re-level the ground. Replant damaged areas with gopher-resistant plants, if possible.
  • Control and Prevention: Consider humane traps or seek professional gopher removal services. Implement preventive measures like underground fencing to protect vulnerable areas.

Preventive Strategies

While fixing existing gopher damage is necessary, preventing future infestations is equally important. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your yard for signs of new gopher activity.
  • Use of Repellents: Natural or commercial repellents can deter gophers, though their effectiveness may vary.
  • Professional Assistance: For persistent problems, professional gopher removal services can provide more permanent solutions.

Identifying and addressing gopher damage in Arizona is crucial for maintaining a healthy and beautiful yard.

By staying vigilant and taking prompt action, you can mitigate the effects of these burrowing pests. Remember, early detection and effective management are key to protecting your landscape from gopher damage.

Learn More About Gophers

Gopher Information