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N2H2o
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gophers, moles and chicken wire

Hello, I had a pretty serious problem with both gophers and moles last summer. I need to place chicken wire or something similar on the bottom and construct raised beds. What sized wire do i need to use? will they chew through regular thin gauge metal? Suggestions? They tunneled and ate the roots or disturbed the roots of just about every plant i had planted.
ERGH!!!!
Been gardening all my life and cant get enough of it.

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N2H2o
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Re: gophers, moles and chicken wire

Nothing? No ideas or suggestions?
Been gardening all my life and cant get enough of it.

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applestar
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Re: gophers, moles and chicken wire

Do you know exactly what the culprit was? If they are size of mice, they can get through 1" chicken wire. -- making a chicken wire cage to protect watermelons didn't help -- they got in and hollowed out a couple of melons before I realized my mistake. (This was before waterbug posted about those DIY cages) I will use smaller chickenwire next time.

I think most people recommend 1/2" hardware cloth stapled to the bottom of the frame as protection against gophers, but I have no experience with them here.

Moles in my garden cause no problems since they don't eat vegetation. They do eat earthworms but I have plenty, and the moles do their part by eating grubs and I believe they eat slugs, too. One time, I found a transplanted seedling fallen over -- sure cutworm sign, but when I dug around the area, all I found was a mole tunnel so I think the mole got to it first.
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larry_phrank
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Re: gophers, moles and chicken wire

Hi,
I had a similar problem a few years back in my old raised bed garden.
You were able to see the mole (or vole) tracks just beneath the surface of the grass, leading towards the garden beds.
I remember looking at the garden in the morning, seeing nice, lush healthy plants. Id come home from work , later that day , to see wilted plants. Id go to check them, pulled lightly, and the whole plant would pull up (easily). I poked my finger into the soil where the plant pulled out, and sure enough, my finger entered the mole hole/ tunnel.

I eventually planned a new raised garden. This time I placed 1/2 inch X 1/2 inch wire mesh. It has worked %100.
As mentioned in an earlier reply, the regular chicken wire holes are too large. If what you have are moles or voles, they can easily fit through them. The 1/2 X 1/2 wire is usually a little thicker gauge wire too, which would make it much more difficult to chew through.

If you have ground hogs or gophers, im not sure if the wire will be much of a match for their teeth.

All this being said, when I made my new raised bed, a significant amount of construction was done, which included a lot of digging up/ leveling the land and bringing in truck loads of dirt. So, although the moles have disappeared, the demolition and bringing in the new soil may have eliminated the problem, even before the wire had a chance to work.

Also, if the wire used is not galvanized, it will rust easily, and probably only get a season or two out of it. Galvanized wire will last much longer, not sure of its affects on the soil.

Finally, make sure you have a significant amount of soil covering the wire. Problem #1, if you use a shovel, and kinda forget or are two aggressive, you will go right through the wire. And believe me, its a pain in the butt to have to remove all the soil just to get another layer of wire in. Problem #2, the roots will grow through the wire ( which is good), except when you try to pull the plants out at the end of the season or during harvesting. If the roots are tightly around the wire, could damage the wire or the root vegetable as you pick them.

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N2H2o
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Re: gophers, moles and chicken wire

Thank you for the replies. I know for a fact I have gophers and possibly moles. Sounds like I need to use 1/2" cloth. Maybe I'll put a layer or travel a few inches thick below the wire and a few inches about to help deture the critter.
Been gardening all my life and cant get enough of it.

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