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- Medford, OR
Many of my blueberries die each season. I use a “lasagna” much to keep weeds down and we have problems with gophers. Is it the mulching or the gophers killing my plants? Also when and what to feed them if anything?
- Oakland, OR
Your problem lies with the gophers. They chow down and destroy many plants and especially love their berry plants. Trapping is the most effective and safest method. The key is to place the traps in an active tunnel. You’ll need to dig down and dig out a space that’s big enough to accommodate the traps. For best results, set two traps facing in opposite directions. (Be sure to wear gloves while handling the traps to avoid leaving any of your scent.) Finally, cover the hole with a board that you’ve secured to the ground to avoid light from seeping through. If you haven’t trapped the gopher by day three, then move both traps to another active tunnel.
As you probably know, a soil pH of 4.5-5.5 is very important to healthy, productive plants. That said, make sure the mulch you use is also acidic, such as pine needles, peat moss, aged sawdust, or rotted leaves. Feed plants when growth starts in spring with a low-nitrogen, acid-forming fertilizer. And avoid disturbing the soil as the plants have a very shallow, fibrous root systems and are easily damaged. Good luck!