Puncturevine (a.k.a. Goatheads)

provogirlJuly 14, 2010

When we moved in to our house last year there was a lot of puncturevine. This spring we removed about 20 tons of dead sod, weeds and dirt. I tried to get all the "stickers" out but it is almsot a hopeless cause. I have picked thousands of these weeds already this year. Just today I picked over a hundred and turned around and there were more growing where I just picked! I am against using Roundup but will use anything that is organic. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of goatheads besides picking them and burning them (HOA won't allow that).

I also have those darn big purple thistles but this year I have kept them under an inch in size. I just can't seem to get rid of the roots even when digging down several feet.

Any ideas would be VERY helpful.

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I was looking up what goatheads are (and yes, I have met them before, either in my heel or my dogs' paws...) and I found this site that talks about ways to get rid of them. Apparently there's a weevil that eats them. I didn't read all of it (I've got plenty of sharp-seeded weeeds at my house but not those) but I'll post the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: goatheads.com

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:18AM
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david52 Zone 6

What kind of thistle do you have? Try googling "Canadian Thistle" and to the right, there are other search links to other kinds of thistle - musk thistle, bull thistle, etc.

I got all three.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:22AM
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Dan Staley

Goatheads are the bane of this cyclist. If you insist on organic eradication, you'll be bih-hizzy in spring for weeks. As far as thistle, you may try industrial strength vinegar regularly (not the red wine vinegar on sale at your local grocer). You have to keep on it and tire the plant and it'll likely take several weeks for each plant to exhaust the reserves in its root.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:50AM
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mcfaroff(z5/6 NM)

How about this? It is a medicinal herb!!! Find an herbalist and they might take it. Still have to pull it up. The goathead itself is the medicinal part. Gloria

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 10:46AM
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David- I have musk thistle and canadian thistle.

Dan- I have been bih-hizzy! They just keep growing and I even removed the top 2 inches of dirt over 1/4 acre of yard plus dead sod. Where do you buy industrial strength vinegar? I have used the white distilled vinegar for spraying on weeds but that does not seem to work.

I am not sure about piling weevils in my backyard as all I have back there is veggies and herbs. I would think that they would make their way into the house and into the food. I guess I will keep pulling them up.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:40PM
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david52 Zone 6

Well, musk thistle is a bi-annual, so if you can either pull that one out by the roots, or if you have a whole lot of it, pull off all the flower heads. Thats actually fairly effective.

Re the Canadian thistle, I am just now taking a break from pulling out as much of it as I can in the front weed patch flower garden, and I pulled it out and mulched the area heavily, - might work.....

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:56PM
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Like stated the only ways I know of besides removing them are non organic. I know of no successful organic methods. There maybe an organic method and will be interested to read about them. I have 2 acres here. It had bindweed, grass burrs and goat heads plus at least half was a big weed patch when I bought it 16 years ago. Between selective spraying and constant hoeing I have got it fairly clean. Mulching areas where you don't have anything growing also makes it easier. With the combination I have the bindweed limited to my boundaries, the grass burrs and goat heads are down to a manageable number now. Jay

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:05PM
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