The Strategy: Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) is an annual weed that grows flat on the ground and can form very dense mats up to 15 feet across. This invader from Europe has produces yellow flowers every four days. From this flower eight sharply pointed triangular seeds are formed that give this seed head the nick-name of GOATHEAD. It starts growing in June and remains viable until the first frost if not controlled.
The Attack: This plant does not like any competition, therefore we always find it in sandy, dry, and gravely sites. It is found along railroad tracks, some baseball fields, and on the borders of some agricultural fields. This plant has probably single handedly supported many bike tire and car tire repair shops, as it will ‘puncture’ bicycle and car tires.
The Defense: Preventing this weed from growing is the best way to control it. Residual herbicides (Krovar I DF) applied in late fall or early winter can prevent the weed from growing. In sensitive sites such as the alley-ways using Telar XP at 1.5 oz is very effective. If the weeds are along the edges of your fields and lawns, try to plant more grass. Digging up these plants is very effective, just keep in mind that you must get to the root of the plant as they will grow back if you just scrape them off the surface. Just roll the plant in front of you with your shovel, and when you find the root, dig it up and pick the plant up by this root and place it into your container for disposal (garbage is fine as the weed will get buried very deep in the landfills). 2,4-D is effective, but you must treat often.
PLEASE NOTE – The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.