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Old 07-18-2014, 10:33 PM   #1
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Long-term solution to a goathead infestation


live in New Mexico and bought house with a yard that is absolutely and totally completely infested with goathead plants (For those unfamiliar, here's what their seedpods look like--should be pretty obvious why you don't want them in your yard!).

After a week of heavy rains, here's what sections of the yard look like:



Pretty grim. Thankfully, they die down the winter, but not before growing little stickers to reproduce with that fall off and nestle into the dirt. So I think I may be able to kill them all off in a few years by simply killing the larger plants before they grow any stickers. Without a new supply of stickers, eventually the ones already in the ground should stop sprouting--I hope. Then again, they are perennials, so that may take a loooong time.

Does this sound like it will work? Has anybody else defeated a goathead invasion? I'd like to avoid poisoning the yard with anything that will hurt animals if at all possible because there's a lot of nice wildlife in the area. If there's a safe chemical product that will do the trick, I'd be happy to use that, but not if it's a "spray every year for the rest of your life" kind of deal. I anticipate living here for a while and can be patient about it, so I'd like to avoid simply covering the whole yard in plastic and putting gravel over it as many in the area do.

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Old 07-19-2014, 05:14 AM   #2
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Long-term solution to a goathead infestation


I've stepped on those---

Can you use a garden spade or hoe to loosen the soil and then pull them out?
I also avoid weed killers--but they have their uses--Clean up or Round up can be applied to the weeds without killing off the neighboring plants---or leaving the soil infertile-

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Old 07-19-2014, 08:35 AM   #3
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Long-term solution to a goathead infestation


Sure. The problem is that there are millions, probably billions of them. Chemicals may make sense because I have large areas where there's nothing but goatheads growing there, but I don't want to apply anything that will kill any of the birds, bunnies, or roadrunners.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
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Long-term solution to a goathead infestation


Look for a chemical spray that works on crabgrass. It should knockout the current crop. I use it on Sand Burs / Grass Burs but it seems to take a couple weeks to kill the plant off. So for Sand Bur plants they can grow a lot in 2 weeks. I don't know if the burs are "killed" so that they won't turn into growing seeds (germinate) next year.

Then next year in the spring use a crabgrass pre-emergent to keep any new plants from germinating thru the top of the soil as long as the soil isn't scuffed or scratched up (breaking the chemical barrier). You will probably have to use the pre-emergent at least 2 years. I just read recently that if the infestation is bad, use the pre-emergent every 6 weeks thru September.

I am no expert but this is information I've gathered over the years and it seems to work for me in my area (western Kansas).
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