Introduction: How to Remove Goat's Head Caltrop Puncture Vine (Tribulus Terrestris)
If you've ever stepped on one barefoot, or had it pop a bike tire or punch through your sandal, you know how terrible this profanely geometric spike plant is.
Here's how to almost completely remove this noxious weed!
Step 1: Cut the Taproot
Using a precision hoe, the edge of a regular or hula hoe, cut the taproot right below the crown.
Take care not to chop the plant up as you do so. It is much easier to dispose of in one piece, and you don't want to push seeds under ground to germinate later. If there are multiple overlapping plants, chop all their roots off now. If you do cut them up somewhat, that's OK.
Step 2: Lift Plant Up and Dump in Trash
Lifting the plant with your hoe (or very carefully by hand) be sure not to shake seeds of unnecessarily. Each seed pod has five caltrops/spikes, all of which are always pointed upwards.
Puncture vine should not be composted, instead either burnt or sent to the dump.
Step 3: There Are Still Dozens of Spikes!
What to do now? Don't step in them!
Step 4: Scrape Into a Pile
Use a flat headed shovel to scrape the remaining spikes into a pile. The very thing that makes them so obnoxious will cause them to stick together pretty well.
Step 5: Quickly Scoop and Dispose
Briskly scoop up the spikes and dump them in the trash. Be thorough, they germinate easily, quickly, and set seeds in just a few weeks...
Step 6: Good Job! Now Get Rid of Them!
This method removes 95% of the spikes. I tried many different tools and methods with less success, this was the most effective. In a few hours, I was able to clear 3 acres of these, literally hundreds of plants and tens of thousands of spikes. Good luck!
Also, don't forget to grab all the spikes from your foot. I average around a dozen per foot each time I do a removal. Don't track them inside, you'll just get more of them!