I walked into our house for the first time. We had just purchased it and I had never seen it before because I was too pregnant to fly to look at houses 1,070 miles away. With my husband finishing a teaching job in Texas and accepting another teaching job in Arizona, our schedule meant him finishing the school year having a baby two days later, packing up the house for the movers two weeks later, and moving a few days after that. On top of that we had a 1 1/2 year old to look after. It was crazy, which I’m just now finding out, I thrive on.
The house was great EXCEPT the goat heads. They were covering the yard inches deep. My little boy who was still unstable on his feet had to go from shoeless in Texas year round to being covered in thorns on his arms, legs, and knees every time he took a spill. I got a little protective and a lot angry and started pulling the thousands of plants by hand. Soon I realized I needed a better game plan. SOOO this is how it went.
- Burn all the weeds with a flame thrower. Chemical free and fun for the first three hours. The next 20 hours were not as fun. The heat not only kills the plant but the seed as well.
- Gather the goat heads and dispose of them. This was for my son to be able to walk around the yard. At first I was raking them and dumping them in the trash little by little but it was soon clear that that was too tedious. We wanted to move some dirt around the house any way so we rented a tractor and scooped them in a pile and buried them . This can cause a lot of dust, but seeing as how we didn’t have any other plants besides goat heads and tumble weeds it was a good option for us.
- Plant grass to help keep the thorns at bay. We chose native grasses that were indigenous to the area that the previous owners let the horses over graze and eliminate the entire grass population. The native grasses were a good option for us in Chino Valley where the dry weather and high elevation necessitate native plants. But this meant a maze of hoses for watering, and only planting a little at a time and tedious weeding of the tumble weeds that want to take back over.
- Buying Puncture vine weevils. This is the next step to keep the Goat Heads also known as puncture vines at bay. How they work is the larva burrow in the young green seed and degerm (kill) the seed. Unfortunately they have been sold out but we will be purchasing them in the spring hopefully. You can buy them here