While serving the Southern California area, one of our common pest problems is Gophers, and there is one plant in particular where Gophers are frequently present. Aptenia cordifolia, or commonly known as Red Apple, is a ground cover plant from the Ice Plant family. This plant grows in our climate quite well, is low cost to acquire, and grows quickly, making it perfect for holding slopes together, and covering areas that homeowners don’t quite know what to do with. What isn’t apparent is the back end costs of using Red Apple on your property.
While this plant does provide flowers that Bees visit for Pollen, it does have some drawbacks when looked at from its economics. First is the issues of Gophers. Unless you let Gophers freely travel about your land, treating a Gopher infestation comes at a cost either by the home owner attempting remedies or having Professionals deal with the problem. In addition to time, the home owners I’ve encountered who had little success had purchased and used mechanical traps, tunnel filling smoke devices, consumer grade baits, and a variety of folk-tale inspired methods. If unsuccessful, while these treatments are employed the Gophers will still be damaging your Red Apple plants. Planted on slopes, Red Apple does incur another cost when calling out Professional Pest Control Technicians, in the increased difficulty of treating slopes you find the angle of the slope, and it being covered in a slippery plant Gophers are going to frequent increasing the prices charged for working those areas.
Another cost of having Red Apple planted is the cost in irrigation. Your water rates may be reasonable, worse so if they are not, but consider what plant life you could support with the same amount of water, or how much water you wouldn’t be using if the Red Apple was removed. The roots of Red Apple are shallow at best, only reaching two-three inches at best. Many drought tolerate plants, as well as more useful plants will give you much greater root depth, and by implication a stronger root system holding your soil together. More dramatic flowers, food producing plants, less water intensive, you have a great many choices in each of those categories in a variety of configurations. Irrigation levels of a given property also affect the populations of other rodents as well as insects, including the ones less desired near homes.
For your local Pest Control Companies, Gophers being a year round issue in Southern California keep us quite busy. The regulations and laws that govern with what, and how we treat Gophers change quite frequently, and mainly in more restrictions, which also make Gophers treatments more expensive. When estimating how much your service will cost, the area of treatment, which includes the landscaping present, is taken into account. You can help keep more of your money in your pocket by reviewing your landscaping and its irrigation. A good Pest Control Technician has been to enough houses, and has observed the plants that are commonly problematic. Talk to them, do a little research, and you can easily put a new landscaping plan together that can send Gophers packing to another yard.