Differences Between Gophers & Moles & Controlling Out Of Control Cannas

Question:

 What's the difference between a mole and a gopher? I believe I have a gopher in my garden; however, others say it's a mole. Plants are disappearing, and the roots on one of my roses have been eaten.   

Answer:

  • In California, moles and gophers are two different rodents with different controls. This is not the case in many other states, like Washington. 
  •  Gardeners and non-gardeners will refer to them interchangeably. The Nursery Professional(s) at your favorite garden center is an excellent resource to help with conflicting information.
  • There are some physical differences between them, but few get that close, so here is how to separate the two.
    • Moles do not eat plants. Their diet is protein-based, so they forge and tunnel the soil surface for insects, grubs, and earthworms. The best way to control moles is to eliminate the food source, forcing them elsewhere.
      • Bonide Mole Med is a granular repellent made with Castor Oil. It coats the soil bugs making them not very tasty. Another option is Beneficial Nematodes. Beneficial Nematodes seek out and destroy grubs and soil insects but not earthworms. They're both save for people, pets, and the environment.
    • Gophers, on the other hand, do eat plants and are known to pull them underground. They live in burrows, travel about two feet under the soil in runs and come to the surface with exit holes.
    • Gophers are much more challenging to control than moles. Flooding, trapping, poison baits, and gas are the primary methods of controlling gophers.
      • Also, they are hundreds of home remedies. Unfortunately, there is no 100% sure proof answer. It's all trial and error. The major mistakes people make with gopher controls is not wearing gloves. The traces of humans scent alerts the gophers.
      • Also, the controls need to be placed in the major runs, not the exit holes. You are correct suspecting a gopher. 

Question:

 I removed a patch of out of control Canna. My problem now is that I didn't get rid of all of them. They're starting to shoot up between the newly planted plants. Any suggestion on an herbicide I can use? 

Answer:

  •  Canna Lilies can become a nuisance when left to grow unattended. 
  • They're contained by dividing the clumps every three years or so in the fall or spring. You don't have to be particularly careful about it either. I’d use Weed and Grass killer that’s similar to RoundUp without Glyphosate. Spectracide and Dr. Earth are two brands with Weed and Grass killers
  • You protect desirable plants with a cardboard plant shield, or you can use any type of plastic cylinder like a beverage container.
  • The herbicide should be applied with a tank sprayer rather than a hose-end sprayer. You're now able to pot treat the area effectively, but more importantly, minimize the spray drift that will damage the desirables.
  • You'll have to be persistent as it's a battle of attrition, but you should win it.