The Q&A Archives: killing Goatheads

Question: How do you get rid of goatheads? We have tried Roundup and it hasn't helped. We want to use something to kill everything and then till the lawn up and then use the same thing again to get any seeds left. We don't want to plant grass till next year. What will work, and how often do we need to use it?

Answer: Puncturevine is a prostrate plant growing from a taproot. Above ground, the branching, trailing stems grow one to six feet and are green to reddish in color. Leaves are opposite. Each leaf is divided into four to eight (or more) pairs of 1/4- to 1/2-inch oval leaflets. Stems, petioles, and leaf undersides are hairy. The upper surfaces of leaves are slightly hairy to hairless. Small, yellow flowers with five petals are borne in the leaf axils. Seeds are borne in a woody, spiny bur consisting of five two-spined segments which separate at maturity. Spines are hard enough to stick into skin, leather, and tires, and are arranged so that at least one spine is always pointing upwards. Special information: The sharp spines of puncturevine can injure humans and animals. The plant can be toxic to livestock, especially sheep. It is also designated as a Class 'B' noxious weed in Washington state-- management of this species may be required by law in some counties! Consult your county Noxious Weed Control Board for more information.

Management Options
Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
Reduce weed establishment by maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition.
Reduce weed infestation by handpulling weeds.

You can use herbicides; Apply according to label directions. Preemergence products can also help suppress it. The following herbicides will help you control the weeds in your future lawn area:


Good luck with your project.

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