Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers



Author Topic: Growing avocados in gopher land  (Read 4252 times)

jbclem

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
    • USA, California, Topanga, 9b
    • View Profile
Growing avocados in gopher land
« on: November 02, 2016, 10:47:31 PM »
I have two avocado trees I want to plant on a hillside that's combed with gopher tunnels.  Although there's usually only one gopher in residence at any given time (at least so I think?) I recently lost a nice five year old apricot to them...all the roots eaten back to nubs at the trunk.  That was with a chicken wire basket that had rusted out enough for the gopher to get through.

I usually plant fruit trees in homemade gopher baskets but I've been advised not to do this with avocados since their roots spread out so much.  But I don't really have any choice in the matter, the trees have to be protected.  So I want to ask what others have done in the same situation. 

And also some questions occur to me that I need information on:

1.  how wide does the avocado tree root spread, how thick are the roots 24" from the trunk, and what happens to the tree is this spread is limited...will it be dwarfed?

2.  what would be an optimal diameter for a hardware cloth basket around the tree?  I've used  2' diameter ones but for avocado I'm thinking 3' or 4'.  That's a lot of basket and a lot of work since I clip out many of the 1/2" mesh holes to make them larger.

3.  one of my trees, Fuerte, is in a deep narrow container (C&M Nursery).  The other one is a seedling Duke.  Will only the seedling have a tap root (it's still 8" high and in a plastic 20 oz cup).

Unfortunately, although I check the gopher holes almost daily and put traps and chewing gum in some of them, there's no way I can control every gopher that comes my way by doing this...there are just too many tunnels.  It's just like with squirrels, the minute you relax and forget the be vigilant, there's one ready to strike(ie: eat!).

Any thoughts about this?

John

fruitlovers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15674
  • www.fruitlovers.com
    • USA, Big Island, East Hawaii, Zone 13a
    • View Profile
    • Fruit Lover's Nursery
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 11:18:34 PM »
Use hardware cloth to make your root cages. It's galvanized and will not rust out.
Oscar

shaneatwell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1120
    • California, San Diego, sunset 23 and 18
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 11:42:06 PM »
Gopher spurge? Castor been seeds?
Shane

jbclem

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
    • USA, California, Topanga, 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 07:21:02 AM »
I just found this information on avocado tree roots.  Does it seem right?  If the roots are primarily "thin, fibrous feeder roots", exactly how thin (or thick) are they?  1/4", 1/2", ???

"The root system is relatively shallow, and does not extend far beyond the tree canopy, if it even reaches the edge of the canopy. The roots are primarily thin, fibrous feeder roots. They have no thick, anchoring taproot. These are likely adaptations to the shallow layer of rich soils in their native rain forest climates, as well as the absence of high winds in the dense forest growth that would necessitate better anchorage."
http://www.gardenguides.com/131987-avocado-tree-roots.html

Tropheus76

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 810
    • East Orlando 9B
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2016, 08:00:05 AM »
.22 rifle, take out the gopher and plant however you want. He comes to the surface some time right? Werent daushhounds(Doxins)(sorry I don't spell in German very well) bred to go down and hunt badgers in their holes? Release the hounds.

ScottR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
    • USA,Arroyo Grande,Calif. 93420,zone 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 10:34:41 AM »
I use chicken wire and we make our own baskets for planting in we have so many gophers that the tree's need some kind of chance to grow before there eaten down my under ground beavers!!!! Make you own 3/4"-1" chicken wire have been doing it for 40 years only problem is wire only last for so many years depending on soil, then gophers move in!!!!dam varmint's ::)

jbclem

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
    • USA, California, Topanga, 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2016, 08:58:28 PM »
Scott, since you know and I know (read my first post about the 5 yr apricot that was eaten alive by a gopher) that chicken wire baskets don't work for more than a few years, why do you continue to use them?  What happens to your trees after the chicken wire rusts out?  I use stucco wire, which is better quality (and much cheaper) USA made chicken wire...but it's still going to rust out and let the gophers in.  That's why I switched to hardware cloth, which will last a long time.  But my questions have to do with the size of the avocado rootball and how far and how large the roots are when they spread out...will they go through the 1/2" mesh holes?

To the gun man, you're welcome to come visit and sit next to the gopher holes, from sunrise to sunset, on the chance that a gopher will stick his head out just when you're looking at the hole he chooses(there are probably 30-50 on the side of the hill where I want to plant the avocados) and use your sharpshooting eye to plug him or her between the eyes.  BTW, since gophers are territorial there will probably only be one gopher with 30-50 holes to chose from.

Is there a breed of dogs that will go after gophers, that will dig down 12-24 inches and squeeze through their main tunnels to seek out the gopher nest?  Please let me know if there is, that would be a great solution...but the dog would have to be a lot narrower than a dashshund.

jbclem

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
    • USA, California, Topanga, 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2016, 10:37:06 PM »
I was just reading that prairie dogs are also called gophers and they do surface and look around all the time.  So I suppose you could hang out on the prairie and shoot prairie dogs while they are surveying the landscape.  But pocket gophers are what I have at my house and they don't often show their faces.  Since owls hunt them, they must sometimes come out at night

raiders36

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 84
    • San Jose, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2016, 12:37:20 AM »
Cover all the holes with dirt except the most profound one. Tape a hose (co carbon dioxide doesn't leak) to your old car exhaust pipe. Stick the other end of the hose as far as you can inside the hole. Cover the opening of the hole with plastic, but not all the way seal. Run vehicle for 30 minutes. Cover it up with dirt afterward. If you don't see anymore hole week later, problem solved.

WaterFowler

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 192
    • Coachella Valley
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2016, 11:21:20 AM »
This spring I planted a bunch of subtropical seedlings and the gophers sucked down 1 mango, 2 guavas, and 3 passion fruit vines. It's heartbreaking to grow a seedling for a year or more and watch it dissappear overnight. I can only imagine the disappointment in losing a 5 year old tree.

I bought a CINCH trap, which I hesitated buying at first because they are a little expensive, and I'm glad I did. It killed 6 gophers in the first week. After that I stopped seeing lots of surface gopher activity so I put the trap away.

But I wasn't going to let up on these guys just yet. I drive rural routes a lot and see lots of snakes on the road. I collected 2 gopher snakes, and a king snake and put them in the gopher holes in the yard. In addition by nephew had got bored of his 2 Rosy Boas, so he gave them to me, and I sent those down the holes too. He said the king snake might end up locating the Rosy Boas and making a meal out of them but I saw one the other day curled up between 2 nursery pots 5 months after I released it.

So far, so good. I haven't lost any more plants or trees, and I see very little gopher activity. I even put 2 banana plants in the ground in May and they grew big unmolested, one grew from 8 inches to 12 feet in these 5 months.

ScottR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
    • USA,Arroyo Grande,Calif. 93420,zone 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2016, 11:35:03 AM »
Scott, since you know and I know (read my first post about the 5 yr apricot that was eaten alive by a gopher) that chicken wire baskets don't work for more than a few years, why do you continue to use them?  What happens to your trees after the chicken wire rusts out?  I use stucco wire, which is better quality (and much cheaper) USA made chicken wire...but it's still going to rust out and let the gophers in.  That's why I switched to hardware cloth, which will last a long time.  But my questions have to do with the size of the avocado rootball and how far and how large the roots are when they spread out...will they go through the 1/2" mesh holes?

To the gun man, you're welcome to come visit and sit next to the gopher holes, from sunrise to sunset, on the chance that a gopher will stick his head out just when you're looking at the hole he chooses(there are probably 30-50 on the side of the hill where I want to plant the avocados) and use your sharpshooting eye to plug him or her between the eyes.  BTW, since gophers are territorial there will probably only be one gopher with 30-50 holes to chose from.

Is there a breed of dogs that will go after gophers, that will dig down 12-24 inches and squeeze through their main tunnels to seek out the gopher nest?  Please let me know if there is, that would be a great solution...but the dog would have to be a lot narrower than a dashshund.
I still use chicken wire because it's cheap (when wife buys at swap meet) and have tried hardware cloth and it dosen't let roots thru well, bottom line is trap,trap,trap then trap some more or snakes!!

fruitlovers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15674
  • www.fruitlovers.com
    • USA, Big Island, East Hawaii, Zone 13a
    • View Profile
    • Fruit Lover's Nursery
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2016, 12:23:41 AM »
Hardware cloth comes in different size mesh. I remember making lots of cages of hardware cloth when i lived in southern Cal. Plants grew just fine. Yes it's more work to bend the hardware cloth than chicken wire. Yes it's more expensive, upfront, than chicken wire. But if you compare how long it will last then it becomes a lot cheaper to use hardware cloth.
Oscar

goosteen

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 152
    • Los Angeles CA, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 11:30:52 PM »
Galvanized chicken wire last 2 - 3 years, then the gophers can get through it.  ....After killing an owl as a by product of poisoning .. I stopped with the poison and then lost a big fig tree, and a pomegranate.  It would have been a better strategy to pay more for the higher quality gopher wire, and let the gophers live.


ReneeFLL

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 260
    • USA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312, Zone 10b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2016, 02:27:25 AM »
This place has stainless steel cages, but are expensive.

http://www.gopherslimited.com

jbclem

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
    • USA, California, Topanga, 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2016, 06:12:30 AM »
Fruitlovers, do you remember the mesh size of the hardware cloth you used when you were living in S. Calif.  It's easy to find 100 ft rolls of  1/2" mesh, but much harder to find larger sizes.  I'd like to find some 3/4" or 1" mesh hardware cloth.

ScottR, check out Stucco wire.  You can find it at Home Depot, it's about $45 for a 36" x 150ft roll and much higher quality than the Chinese chicken wire that's available everywhere.  It's made in the USA. by Davis Wire.  I find that the holes are usually exactly 1" whereas chicken wire holes vary up to 1.5" which might let a skinny gopher through.  So it's much cheaper and will last longer than the Chinese chicken wire.  You can see the quality difference just by looking at it in the store.

I like the idea of gopher snakes.  Will they stick around after they eat the resident gopher?

John

fruitlovers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15674
  • www.fruitlovers.com
    • USA, Big Island, East Hawaii, Zone 13a
    • View Profile
    • Fruit Lover's Nursery
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2016, 04:37:26 AM »
Fruitlovers, do you remember the mesh size of the hardware cloth you used when you were living in S. Calif.  It's easy to find 100 ft rolls of  1/2" mesh, but much harder to find larger sizes.  I'd like to find some 3/4" or 1" mesh hardware cloth.

ScottR, check out Stucco wire.  You can find it at Home Depot, it's about $45 for a 36" x 150ft roll and much higher quality than the Chinese chicken wire that's available everywhere.  It's made in the USA. by Davis Wire.  I find that the holes are usually exactly 1" whereas chicken wire holes vary up to 1.5" which might let a skinny gopher through.  So it's much cheaper and will last longer than the Chinese chicken wire.  You can see the quality difference just by looking at it in the store.

I like the idea of gopher snakes.  Will they stick around after they eat the resident gopher?

John
My vague recollection is that what i used and what was most easily available back then was 1/2 inch hardware cloth.
Oscar

palmcity

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 530
    • Martin County, Fl zone10a
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2016, 01:08:49 PM »
Cover all the holes with dirt except the most profound one. Tape a hose (co carbon dioxide doesn't leak) to your old car exhaust pipe. Stick the other end of the hose as far as you can inside the hole. Cover the opening of the hole with plastic, but not all the way seal. Run vehicle for 30 minutes. Cover it up with dirt afterward. If you don't see anymore hole week later, problem solved.

Interesting idea raiders, someone may try it in Florida to see if a car idling in the yard with hose attached might work for mole extermination. I believe the main gas causing death is carbon monoxide which is odorless and tightly bound to hemoglobin lowering oxygen binding and thus eventual passing out and death if not removed; too much carbon dioxide can be bad also.  http://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm  This is not recommended for anyone and especially stupid people as the video says and don't start your car in a garage as death from carbon monoxide can occur if you remain in the garage. Actually some people in Florida recently left their car running or accidentally hit the automatic cold weather startup button from their bedroom and overnight the fumes of carbon monoxide went from garage to house to bedroom and they died.  http://www.wyff4.com/article/police-car-left-running-in-garage-caused-couple-s-deaths/7004692

If you know of someone that tried this, what material did they use for the tail pipe connection to prevent melting and what type pipe extension to the hole?

Here is a video of a happy guy, sings for about 10 seconds in video, getting rid of his voles but believes similar use for moles & gophers.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orrwNpxyaiA

Living is a risk, be careful and smart.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 01:27:02 PM by palmcity »

knlim000

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 765
    • redwood city,ca
    • View Profile
Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2016, 01:59:44 PM »
i think i got a working cheap/free solution.  my place is also infested with gopher. citris planted into ground seems to be declining in growth. first year moved in to theplace, plant several nice tomatoe, pumpkins, and 2yr old loquat, they all disappear. 

here is what i am experimenting and seems to be working very well for me.  dont remove the plant from the nursery pot.  instead, drill a few more hole at the bottom, then put it onto the ground, i usually dont even bother to dig the ground. just put the pot of plant onto the ground.  overtime, the plant will grow roots thru the hole. then, you can cut the pot when roots are more established.

 

Copyright © Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers