How do I get rid of a weed called "goatheads"?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By moodyjudy from Fowler, CO
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I have a lawn overrun with sand burrs, or goat heads, or puncture vines. I not sure what they are called, but they have taken over my yard. I have two dogs whose coats are full of the burrs. What can I use to kill the weeds without killing my dogs?
By Sue from Stockton, CA
Goat head plants are thick in the yard. The whole yard is covered! Each year the problem multiplies. I have tried spot spraying with Round Up. It kills that plant, but doesn't seem to kill seeds that are ready to sprout.
I have been pulling weeds for 3 days now, and the stickers that lay on the ground seem to jump at you when you try to pull up the weeds. I am on very low income, so if you can help, I would really appreciate it.
Also, once I get rid of the plants, do you have any suggestions on how to get the spurs out of the yard so that we can finally walk on it again?
Hardiness Zone: 9b
Susan from San Bernardino, CA
The feedback below was from a previously posted request. It has a good suggestion for getting the stickers out of your yard. Good luck. I don't miss goat heads at all now that I live in the NW.
"I don't know how to get rid of goat heads chemically; you need to pull them in the spring. To get rid of them in yard once they are dried, staple a piece of carpeting (not shag) to a 2X4 about 3 ft. long, attach a length of rope to both ends making a loop, then drag it behind you. You may have to replace the carpeting a couple times, but it will grab the goat heads. (07/02/2007))"
The only thing I've found that works is to pull and pull again! When we moved into our home the backyard was filled with them. Now, after more than 20 years of pulling, we only get the random plant or two. The main thing is to get them pulled before the stickers dry out, preferably when they are still flowering and haven't yet formed seeds. As for picking up the dropped "heads", I usually use thick garden gloves and just pick them up with my fingers. Yes, it is very time consuming, but I figure it is time well spent. We now have a yard we can easily walk barefoot in! (02/14/2008)
I got rid of ours by hoeing them about every two weeks for the first month or so. Then later in the summer a few seedlings showed up, so I did it again. That was 20 years ago and they've just showed up again in the last two years. When I hoed them, I tried to turn them upside down so they wouldn't re-root, but I don't know if that's necessary. (02/14/2008)
I live in southwest NM where goatheads are a real plague. I found that the easiest way to minimize their impact is burning them off with a roofing burner every few weeks. You should do this especially shortly after it rains, when the seedlings are out everywhere, but before they had a chance to start seeding (2-3 weeks after the rain).
After a few times, they don't come back. This works easier than trying to pull them, and you get a lot of the seeds in the ground as well.
You could also try the goathead weevils as advertised on this website: goatheads.com I cannot speak from personal experience how effective that is. (02/10/2009)
Hardiness Zone: 10a
Nancy from Golden Valley, AZ
What are goat heads?
Editor's Note: Here's a link about them:
I don't know how to get rid of goat heads chemically; you need to pull them in the spring. To get rid of them in yard once they are dried, staple a piece of carpeting (not shag) to a 2X4 about 3 ft. long, attach a length of rope to both ends making a loop, then drag it behind you., you may have to replace the carpeting a couple times but it will grab the goat heads. (07/02/2007)