The Genuine Root Guard/Gopher Basket

At a recent garden fair in Scotts Valley, I was shopping at the Native Revival nursery stall, and I couldn't resist buying some packets of "The Genuine Root Guard/Gopher Basket."

It's a product from a small company, it seems, like one of my favorite gardener's accoutrements: The Gardener's Hollow Leg. Don't you just love it when someone actually follows through on their "get rich quick" idea and actually make and sells the product? -- Even if it doesn't actually make them rich ;-) .

The Genuine Root Guard/Gopher Basket web site and product name do not indicate a thriving marketing department, but that's fine with me.

Anyway, these gopher baskets, or socks rather (or - insert your protection analogy here), are made from a fine stainless steel mesh.

You roll one onto a plant like a sock before popping it in the ground (having first loosened up the root ball and any encircling roots).

Other premade gopher baskets are made of galvanized steel, and they are hard to shape, for a small person like me anyway. And I hate cutting and scrunching home made baskets out of that rip-you-up hardware "cloth." (Cloth - ha! Now there's a misnomer!)

Full price for The Genuine Root Guard/Gopher Basket is two bucks for a gallon-pot-sized basket. Anything the price of a good cup of coffee tends to loosen the purse strings, and besides, they were on special at the fair - it was just too tempting!

Stainless steel corrodes less quickly than galvanized steel in the ground - but the "The Genuine Root Guard/Gopher Basket" is made of a fine mesh - so, does that make a difference to their longevity? Does anybody know?

Well, if not, I'll let you know in 10 or 15 years, when this row of deer grass plants (Muhlenbergia rigens), which I put there to look pretty and also to shade the lower area of the greenhouse, will be ready for replacement....

BTW I'm glad to say that so far these babies are abhorred by deer and rabbits alike! So maybe they didn't need gopher baskets either. There is a larger specimen to the right that Town Mouse gave me, and which is growing just fine without one.

Well, you just never know and it's better to be safe than sorry. Ya, being sorry is no fun at all, and all gardeners know what that feels like!


How far above the soil line do these baskets stick up? Do they actually stand up well enough above the dirt? I'm just curious, because I've watched gophers jump rigid gopher wire basket edges before, and take out a plant. Then there's the voles, don't even get me started on the voles. It'll be interesting to see how they hold up. Anything abhorred by deer is a plus in my book, they just devoured half of my Fremontodendron, argh!
james said…
Root condoms? I'll be watching this closely since I've been dealing with the subterranean forces of evil. How do people deal with living where Bambi, Thumper AND [insert famous gopher name here] are out to dine on their plants. Good luck!
Country Mouse said…
I didn't know you liked watching horror movies (in this case reallies), Clare :-D. You make a good ood point. There was quite a bit of sock to leave sticking up but it's not rigid. You'd have to insert sticks or something into the ground around the plant to hook the mesh over. You're making me quake about my fremontodendron - which has been going like gangbusters this year to my great delight. I think I'll just grab some liquid fence... James, I deal with it partly by avoidance - I have one small fenced area where I plant the more tempting things with protection from below (I tried Dahlias one year without baskets - baaaad idea!) and otherwise I mostly stick to what grows naturally here - these things can cope with the wildlife, in the aggregate anyway. Also I like the wildlife and consider them part of the garden - especially the bunnies who are so cute and easy to fence out with low fencing.
Sue Langley said…
I hope this works for you, Mouse.

I planted some deergrass five years ago and watched while it languished for four of them, but finally this year they've taken off, now a good 3 feet by 3 feet.

Was thrilled to find an offshoot baby grass, which stupidly I transplanted to an area without water where it promptly died. Should have waited 'til fall. I notice a few others fortunately.

Sunset's blog had a blurb comparing the different tastes of wine drinkers and of deer! Did anyone read that? haha
threegardens said…
Curbstone, tell me about the voles. No one can tell me if that is what is digging tunnels like mad here in mound of dirt, not a mole, just a neat hole the size of an apricot...

I am testing the mesh baskets too, and the digger's, but out here the gophers jump the top of the basket and go for the plant. And some of us have to put slippery walls on our fenced gardens so the raccoons won't climb the fence!!
KoiColleen said…
I'd love to know how these have worked out over the past 5 years.
Country Mouse said…
It's hard to know how something underground has been working out - I'm not going to dig them up, after all. I haven't noticed any plants die but I have a few not thriving so well - however I put that down to where I planted them.

Overall - I can't say I have any cause for concern and I continue to buy and use this type of gopher protection for anything special I plant.