Puncturevine or Bindii — better known as goatheads in New Mexico — is an aggressively invasive weed that can take over your yard and become a headache that doesn’t go away.
Goatheads thrive in arid climates, and seeds from the plant can last 20-plus years, just waiting to pop up.
And pop up they do, anywhere and everywhere from parking lots to vacant land, driveways and pretty much any empty area they can find. Although these plants are annuals and die off with the first frost, the tough little goatheads from these plants stay behind.
Goatheads can puncture bicycle tires with their sharp barbs, sticking to shoes and pet’s paws, tracking them inside. Many memes are dedicated to the extreme pain that occurs when stepping on one. On the plus side, goatheads are used medicinally to help with chest pain, dizziness, some heart issues as well as skin disorders.
Just pulling them is a temporary solution, and further measures have to be taken or they will just come back with full force the next season. This weed is also one of the toughest to get rid of entirely, but here is a quick guide to do so. People have to play the long game for results and can take months as well as multiple seasons to clear out.
Step one: Weedkiller
Attack the vines with a broad-leafed weedkiller on any foliage (with 2,4-D Triclopyr, triethylamine salt and halosulfuron-methyl). This process can take 10-15 days to work. If going natural is a priority, folks can always try the horticultural vinegar and dish soap spraying method as well. People are known to add salt, but that can affect soil and growth of other plants.
DIY vinegar weed killer Recipe: one gallon of vinegar (with 5% acetic acid), one ounce of dish soap and a plastic spray bottle.
When the weeds have wilted and dried, you can either pull them out to the root or dig them up, but getting all roots is key to the puncturevine not growing again the next season.
Step 2: Burn ‘em, burn ‘em all!
Using a flame weeder is another organic alternative but can be tricky as weeds don’t have to be lit, only heated up for a short period of time, which should wilt them a few hours later. There are many pros as well as cons to using a torch in the garden, so doing research is suggested. Be prepared to spend at least $200 on the decent device and propane, although cheeper flame weeders start around $30. Here’s a quick how-to video about using a flame weeder.
Again, use the process of pulling or digging out any of the plants that have fully wilted afterward.
Step 3: Coverage is key
After the plant has been taken out, it’s time to change the surface with some turfgrass. A cheaper substitute is putting down landscaping fabric and mulch to attempt preventing a comeback.
Spraying pre-emergent is also another step that can be taken, as this process doesn’t always get every goathead seed to stop it all from starting again next year. There are several brands to choose from, and it is recommended to spray or sprinkle in the months of March and July.