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help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Posted by lakedallasmary 7/8a - north texas (My Page) on
Fri, May 11, 07 at 16:25

I honestly don't care if I have weeds in my yard or garden, but this one is different.

It is about 1/2 to 1 inch tall max. It grows in the sod, and gets these horrible prickers, which I am sure are the seeds. I have no photo, I am sorry. I wish I did. The weed looks sort of like curly parsley or the top of a carrot. It has no flowers. It is rather cute really, except those seeds! It tends to form a carpet with no grass in between.

The dog and I hate them. I go bare foot all the time due to my chemical sensitivity to shoes (my feet up to my knees go numb in response to the toxic things shoes are made from, and my feet hurt terribly too)

I want to pull all the stuff, up, but I know that is not the answer. First off, weeds grow in response to a problem, so they would probably regrow. Plus, since it is in seed now it would drop all those seeds.

The other issue is it would leave huge areas of bare soil. It tends to grow in afternoon sun by trees on the west side of the house in the back yard. It is almost exclusive in those areas. It does not grow in heavy shade under trees. It will grow in the front yard but only here and there. It is in the sunnier areas of the back and side yards but spotty as well. I was trying to figure out if it grew in lower or higher spots, wet or dry areas. The only thing I could isolate is afternoon shade on the west side.

I was thinking maybe mulch or compost over the whole area would increase fertility. We get this stuff every year. I am not sure if it dies back come summer. Since it is in seed now I would assume it is a annual I have to avoid those areas once seeds set. I would have yanked them before they set seeds, but I was unsure which weed was doing it. We have this other weed nearby that has fluffy seed balls now that I thought could be the problem. Now I know which one. the fluffy seeded weed tends to like the front yard! It is also cute until it gets these balls of cotton.

I would think the best solution would to plant something different there to replace that horrible plant! Not sure what would put up with our Texas weather. Moist in spring dry and hot as heck all summer. I look on the web for things to plant there, but most sites and books are aimmed at the north.

I found that cotton looking weed on-line recently, but lost all my bookmarks, so I don't know what it is. It is European in origin though. I never found the painful one.

Any help would greatly be appreciated the my feet and the paws of my dog.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Is it carpet burweed maybe? Sounds like it could be -- we have the same problem! From what I've read it's extremely hard to get rid of.

Here's some info/pics:

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

yes that looks like the weed. Thanks.

I am not sure what I will do. I think it got worse this year due to the drought we have been having the last few years. I guess some of the grass died and this horrible stuff took over.

I am a not chemical type person, so the the herbicides they suggest are out. I think I will yank all this stuff up and plant grass seed so they stuff has no place to take hold. I do have to re-yank the stuff some fall as it has already dropped lots of seed.

I could wait till fall to yank it out. It would hurt less to do it. But by then I might have to plant a winter grass. Winter grass might be a good idea since I am always looking for mulch for my veggie beds.

I just need to find a grass that will work in north Texas with afternoon shade. Maybe I could plant a ground cover of some sort, or hairy vetch or something???

help if you have any good ideas!


RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

I would do some research before you start yanking. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that pulling it out makes it multiply.

I hate this stuff too and it's all throughout my yard (too much to ever pull if that's an option). I can't find a solution either. At least I can put shoes on -- my poor dogs are going to need booties!

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

I read someplace if you increase fertility in the yard weeds decrease. I agree with you on yanking. First off it is everyplace! And leaving ground bare increases weeds, since nature wants no part of bare ground.

Don't you hate this stuff. I really don't care if I have weeds. No big deal. Only in suburbian lawns is every blade of grass the same species. Nature never does that sort of thing.

I read that poison oak/ivy occurs when land has been damaged in some way. It is like nature is saying stay off until I heal the land. I think this might be that same with this horrible stuff. We never watered our yard during droughts, and I think this made a lot of the soil microbes die. I think this must be a pioneer species, like the only thing capable of growing on the depleted land.

Too bad it has burrs, it is kinda a pretty plant. Although now I am not thinking it is pretty anymore!!!!!!


RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Vinegar is an all natural acidic product. Dumping it on the base of the plant and letting it soak into the roots will kill it. depending on the type of plant it may take 2-3 times over a period of time...

It is also good for killing weeds under a fence line so one doesnt have to use a weed whacker and also dumping it into pacing stones to kill weeds that are coming up in the cracks.

I read this tip in Mother Earth News when a reader wrote it in to them. I love it! But one does have to be careful not to use it to closely to wanted plants!


RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

I have no reaction to any material my footwear is made of, however, several years ago I was in a store whose owners are Dutch and they had clogs for sale. I bought a pair and I wear them any time I work outside. Sometimes I will slip them on without socks but usually I'll have socks on my feet. My feet feel warm in the winter and very comfortable any other time of the year. Wooden shoes are the most natural material.

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

I have a very painful plant here. Sand Spurrs

It is also an annual that tends to choose poor sites. I have been making a point of plucking the seed heads where I can. I notice that if I mow lower to try and keep it from going to seed, it just grows seed heads that are shorter or prostrait on the ground instead.

I have taken to putting down cardboard over the areas with the most of it and covering with mulch or putting a garden bed on top using the lasagna gardening methods.

I don't know how well this is going to work for me or if it would work for you but it is a relatively chemical free weed control method.

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Carpet Burrweed "Soliva sessilis) is considered a noxious weed with no benefits. It is a winter annual that dies back in the summer after forming seeds, and not watering your lawn leaves the soil open for the seeds to sprout when the rains come. Humans tend to be the major source of the spread of the seeds. The spines are attached to the seeds. Germination begins early and seedlings develop rapidly, usually faster than the grass it grows in.

Since you don't water your lawn, and the weed likes compacted soil and sun, you might consider either sheet-mulching your entire lawn area (shading it out), or rototilling the whole thing, then when you see the first small plant, keep the top few inches of soil loosened. And keep doing it (preventing the compaction it likes). Germination starts with the first heavy rains of autumn, so you would need to keep on top of it when you need to, not when you can get around to it (too late).

Scientists seem to think that there is a fairly low carry-over of seed from year to year, so if you could eliminate the seed production for one year (about Feb to July or so), the existing seeds may not live long enough to keep germinating year after year.

If you want to keep your lawn, you should probably ferilize it with compost or manure, overseed it well, water it, and cut it higher so it can help shade out the burrweed. Or you could fertilize with natural fertilizers (compost and manure), then lay sod over it. The microbial action of the compost and manure could help the seeds to rot, with the help of the sod in keeping out the light.

It can be removed manually in late winter and early spring, but if you wait until the seeds form, you're wasting your time.

This weed is rather famous here in WA, as we get a lot of rain for 8-9 months, then nothing all summer, producing the conditions it prefers. 8-(


RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Specifically to Sammie, below, I tried the vinegar approach. A nice, big earthworm (my gardens and grassy areas are full of them) came to the surface immediately, in a it of pain from how he acted. I picked him up and put him in the birdbath to rinse him off - don't know yet if it worked. So, beware, I guess of how acidic yet natural weedkillers might affect the good things. Me, I think I'll opt for the heavy mulch/compost and then covering with sod. At least I'll be able to walk on it, eventually.....

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

DaniHynes, thanks for the warning about vinegar and earth worms.

I've had good luck with heavy mulching to get rid of all those weeds that like compacted soil and sun. I didn't even bother with cardboard first. I just spread wood chips about six inches deep. I was able to get a tree service to dump their truck full of shredded wood in a pile on my front yard. I did have a number of unwanted saplings, but my ground became sooooo soft that even dandelions would come out with a gentle pull. (I would leave the dandelions, but the neighborhood wasn't that open minded.)

RE: help me get rid of this horrible prickly weed

Great info, thanks! Glad to know there are some natural approaches. Apparently that is being more and more devalued these days, my kid brought something home from school supporting a group called PeoplePerfectPlanet, a bunch of nuts that want to to make a competely man-made ecosystem and replace Mother Nature with it.

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