More Info: According to a University of Missouri horticulturist, tulip bulbs are a favorite food source for mice, moles, voles, gophers and other rodents. In fact, the issue is a nuisance for some gardeners, that they go to the trouble of planting bulbs in wire mesh cages.
Recognizing a Gopher Problem
The tell-tale sign of a gopher problem is the fan shaped mound of fresh soil they leave in their wake. Gophers burrow underground by digging the soil with the claws then use their feet and chest to push the dirt out of the burrow. They deposit the burrow dirt on top of the ground in 4 " mounds 12-18" wide.
Because, gophers will burrow to a destination, they do not always revisit the same burrows so attempting to locate them through a single lateral burrow is often fruitless.
How to Deter Gophers Naturally
Unfortunately, most of these efforts will help to control the population or will temporarily remove the gopher, but it will not get rid of them permanently.
Barn Owls: One of nature's most effective methods of population control is the food chain. There are many natural predators to the gopher including owls. You can attract barn owls to your property with nesting boxes.
Flooding: Gophers can withstand normal irrigation procedures such as garden and lawn watering but will abandon burrows if flooded out.
Plant Deterrents: Though not substantiated by research, many gardeners swear that particular plantings naturally repel gophers such as gopher purge, castor bean, and garlic plants.