P90825If this looks familiar, it is because it is the second big camellia to be killed here in the same manner in not much more than two months. The damage is not fresh, likely because the gopher that caused it started chewing on the roots as soon as the other camellia was removed. The other camellia succumbed about two months after a similarly damaged cherry tree was removed.

We are now concerned for a remaining third camellia in the same spot, as well as others in the vicinity. There is also concern that the gopher may take interest in something else, such as the birches. We would typically find and destroy any gopher that causes such problems. The difficulty here is that the area is thoroughly covered with a dense layer of Algerian and English ivies.

All evidence of gopher excavation is obscured. Even if we could locate such excavation, it would be very difficult to cut through the thicket of ivy without collapsing the tunnels that we would need to put the traps into. It would be excellent to get rid of the ivy as well as the gopher, but that would be a major project for another time. As voracious as gophers are, they don’t eat ivy!

For now, we can only watch the adjacent camellia and other camellias in the vicinity for distress. Of course, by the time a problem is noticed, it will likely be too late to do much about it. We could only apply blood meal, and hope that it works as a repellent. These camellias get blood meal as fertilizer anyway, so would only need more applied off schedule and around the trunks.

The remains of the deceased camellia were removed from the site, and respectfully interred into the green waste recycle bin.


19 thoughts on “Another One Bites The Dust

    1. The good news is that it opened up a view of rhododendrons on the other side of the stream. If the remaining camellia survives long enough, and develops more branches where it is now exposed, I would like to prune it lower.


    1. Fortunately, it is in an exquisite but somewhat crowded landscape. It is sad to lose it, but nearby rhododendrons are now more visible. I hope that the adjacent camellia that is now more exposed will develop lower branches so that I can prune it lower (if it survives).

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  1. I knew that gophers enjoy roots, but somehow I had them associated with grasses. This is all news to me. There’s a lot more happening underground than I realized. Here’s hoping they’ve moved on.

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    1. There is more that they will eat than what they won’t eat. The eat a few things that I would not expect to taste goo, such as spruce, juniper, agave and yucca. I doubt that this one has moved on. It has been here for a while.

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  2. I attempt to control the depredations of pine voles by incorporating stalite (expanded slate) in the soil at planting. The voles don’t like to dig through the rough aggregate. Does something like that work with gophers, or are they tougher than voles?

    Also, “Tremors” was awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Tremors’ was . . . weird.
      Gophers are tougher than voles and moles, and sometimes behave like rats. Gopher purge that keeps moles away does nothing for gophers. They are supposed to avoid the caustic sap of the roots. I doubt that stalite would bother them. I will never know anyway. Stalite is not available here.

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