Goat head weed

Dealing with the Dreaded Goat Head Weed

Dan Dairy & Livestock, This Land of Ours

Goat head weed

Cathy Isom has a few great suggestions on how to deal with the dreaded Goat Head Weed.  That’s coming up on This Land of Ours. 

Dealing with the Dreaded Goat Head Weed

Goat head weed is sometimes referred to as puncturevine, cat’s head, devil’s thorn, bindii, or caltrop. It’s an annual broadleaf that readily reseeds itself. Not only is it difficult to eradicate, but it can also poison livestock and pets, and if you’ve ever stepped on it, you know it’s awful.

This noxious weed is widespread in drier climates and is found widely in the southwest and Rocky Mountain states. It thrives in rocky locations and does well in roadsides, construction areas, and along railroad tracks. It’s also readily found in yards, pastures, and fields.

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The plant typically flowers from April to October. After the flower blooms, the plant forms the spiny fruit. The fruit itself consists of five barbs that have several spiny points. They’re sharp enough to pierce your foot through your shoes, flatten a bicycle tire or injure the mouths of livestock.

The first step in getting rid of goat head weed is to prevent it from reproducing. Don’t let the plant flower or go to seed. Remove any seedlings by pulling them up, tilling them, and burning them – whatever it takes. The best method is to manually pull out each plant. Make sure soil is well-watered a few hours in advance to loosen it. Use a twisting motion and slowly pull the plant upwards to make sure you get the entire woody taproot. Dispose of them immediately before the seed pods fall off. You can also burn the plants.  Use a propane torch weeder to burn plants down to the ground.

I’m Cathy Isom…