We Get Questions About Gophers

Hi Peter & Hap,

This is my first time writing to you. Hope u can help me save a plant in my backyard.


I bought this cactus plant from you guys about a year ago and it has been growing well in the flower bed until recently, I found it sinking down a bit and then tilted to the side. I was trying to reposition it and to my suprise, I found it totally detached from its roots. Upon close exam, the root system has been eaten away. There have been some gopher’s problem in other part of my backyard, so I suspect it may be the gopher which did that because there is a big hole/ tunnel right underneath its stem.

My question is whether there is any way I can save this plant. I have taken it out from the flower bed and planted it in a pot with some new soil for now. To me, it looks like the other cactus sitting right next to it in the flower bed. Is that sufficient, or should I do anything else?

I have also put one of those smoky thing (don’t know what it’s called) into the tunnel, and installed a sonice device in the flower bed. Hope that will take care of the gopher(s). Will keep an eye on the other cactus as well to make sure it will not got killed like the other one.

I have attached a few photos for your reference.




Sorry it has taken a few days to get back to you, I was out of town for a few days. Your chewed up Yucca elephantipes “Silver Star” can be treated like a cutting and it should re-root. Pull off a few of the bottom leaves (bare about three inches of the stem) and then pot up in cactus soil, this time of year it may help to use rooting hormones, which we do carry, however Yuccas root fairly easily so you may get by without it…. Put somewhere warm and dry, inside is fine as long as there is good light or leave outside in a protected spot. Inside it should develop roots in a couple of months, out side it may take until spring. If you do move it in for the winter make sure and “harden it off” in the spring when you move it back outside, as it will loose its resistance to UV light indoors and get sunburned if you move directly out in to the sun. To harden it off, start in the shade and over a few weeks move it every few days so it gets more morning sunlight until in gets a “suntan”.

You might want to think about adding a few of the spurge style Euphorbia to your garden, as the sap in both the above ground and in the roots is so nasty it discourages gophers from burrowing around them.

Take care,


Thanks so much for your information. It is actually the first plant we put in the flower bed. My wife loves it. Thanks to you she is less stressed now knowing that we can still save it. I will also try to put some Euphorbia in it later on as well.

Really appreciate your advice.


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February 2024

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