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How do I remove "goat heads"? Answered

I've moved into a once vacant home. The weeds are now gone but the dirt is FULL of "goat heads". How do I remove them?



Best Answer 5 years ago

The only way I know is to rake with a lawn/leaf rake to remove as many as you can and then water the yard until they sprout and emerge. Grub them out with a hoe before they can flower or hit them with an effective weed killer.
There are some herbicides that will kill them prior to germination but to the best of my knowledge, the herbicide isn't selective and kills almost every other plant as well as the goat heads.

Or douse the sprouting weeds with boiling water.


I hate those things! They find both bike tires and dog feet irresistable.

I found this info and thought you might find it useful. I am seeking and destroying all of this noxious weed I find with my bare hands. Fight the good fight! Never give up!

Weaknesses are to be exploited. Puncturevine doesn't compete well
with other vegetation. I have minimized the growth of this plant by
merely encouraging natural vegetation to cover the open areas and reduce
the potential for growth. A healthy lawn will choke out puncturevine
in a short time. Contrary to popular belief, over watering puncturevine
will not kill it. In fact it will very likely make it grow like crazy.
I think this comes from the fact that wet areas are seldom devoid of
vegetation and that by itself will discourage Puncturevines from
growing. Watering dry areas and encouraging the seed to sprout is a
good idea as long as you go spray within one to two weeks. The same
goes after a rain.

Puncturevine Weevils are a natural predator to Puncturevines. They
are host specific, which means they eat Puncturevines and only
Puncturevines. The adult female seed weevil deposits an egg in a small
hole she chews in the green seed. Then she seals it with fecal
material. The egg hatches and burrows its way inside the green seed.
In the process eating the viable portion of the seed, so it can not
sprout a new plant. The weevil larvae will spend its entire larval
stage inside the seed. It actually pupates within the seed and emerges
from the seed as an adult. The stem weevil works in the same manner
only attacking the stem of the plant. Stem Weevils will inhibit the
plant's ability to grow and spread. Unfortunately, Puncturevine Weevils
aren't perfect. They won't find every single seed. The thing to keep
in mind is every seed a weevil eats is a seed that can't sprout. Each
adult female weevil will lay 250 - 450 eggs. Eggs will reach
reproductive adult age in about 25 days. This is dependent upon
accumulated heat units. As weevil numbers continue to build, they will
become more and more effective. Cold winters will inhibit
survivability. Regions with moderate winters are most conducive to over

This says you can put carpet or something similar on boards or a roller, and apply to the ground. The seeds stick to the material and you can remove them.


I might even consider removing the top few inches of soil and either replacing it, or maybe rigging some kind of processor where the soil is spread thin and pressed under a big rubber roller to pick up the seeds. And a propane weed burner might dull the seeds on the surface.


5 years ago

I found that a wheel barrel tire is particularly effective at picking them up.

or a soft foot!

A weed torch? A controlled burn?

Best of Luck, onrust... I hate 'em, too!

Move house? Move to a different continent? Another thing we don't have in the UK :-)


We call them puncture thorns up here......Still Hate Them...