Master Gardener: Tactics to Eliminate Ground Squirrels from Your Garden Home & Garden


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Brian Jervis Asks A Gardner Master

There are mounds of earth appearing in my yard as if something is digging. How can I stop this? – SH

Your problem can probably be attributed to waffles – waffles, to be more precise. Ground squirrels are most active in the spring and fall. They are called pocket waffles because they have fur lined pockets on each of their cheeks which they use to bring food back to their underground dens.

Mounds of soil let you know that ground squirrels are actively digging in your garden in search of food. These mounds of earth are generally semicircular and can grow to 18 to 24 inches in diameter and about 6 inches in height. Active ground squirrels can make up to 200 mounds like these in a year.

Favorite gopher foods include tree roots, grass, seeds, leaves, tender stems, tubers, and bulbs.

In larger landscapes such as a field, we tend to recommend that you live and let live, as these ground squirrels loosen potentially compacted soil while also providing a food source for many of our larger predators. However, if they are damaging your lawn or perhaps eating your plants’ roots, there are things you can do to minimize their impact.

The grain of poison is available as a treatment option, and it is fairly straightforward to use. You just need to locate the gopher tunnel, make an opening, pour some of the grain of poison into the tunnel, and close the opening. Please note that this strategy is not recommended if you have outdoor pets, as they could suffer unfortunate consequences if they entered the poisoned grain.

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