The grass is crunchy. Fires abound, and leaves are falling from the trees. Walking to get the mail at the end of the driveway has become an endurance test nearly worthy of the Olympics. We’ve been over 100F for awhile, but unlike last year, there are fewer days of hellish temperatures, and we’re seeing a gradual cool down.
To add to our misery, It is also goat head or southern sandbur season. Get our your knives, boots and heavy duty gloves. It’s time to celebrate in the Sooner State. Yes, Cenchrus echinatus L., the southern sandbur or goat head sticker, is making our lives even more miserable than the heat and drought combined. Add some smoke from the local fires, and it’s enough to make you throw your garden trowel in the compost pile while yelling, “I quit.”
Please don’t give up hope. Instead, attack. Let’s go get those sand burs before they reseed in our lawns.
I can see you. Skepticism covers your sweet face. Well, turn that frown upside down. Better weather is in the forecast, including . . . dare I say it? Rain!!! We have cool mornings to weed and hunt for stickers. Isn’t gardening fun???
Seriously, if you do decide to join me on a sticker hunt, wear good, leather gloves and boots. Sandals are strictly off limits. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Yes, I hear there are also nasty chemical ways to eradicate these weeds, but I just use a kitchen knife, hunting gear and plastic bags. In the evening, after I’ve sprayed on my bug repellent to ward off nasty West-Nile-carrying mosquitoes—yes, we have those too!–I grab my trusty knife and head outside. Gently, I reach beneath the seeds (sand burs) to the center of the plant and work my knife around the root ball. Again, gently, I hold it at the bottom and tug not breaking the roots. Cenchrus echinatus L. is quite shallow rooted, and with a bit of practice, you can start removing the menace out of your grass. One year, Bill and I spent every evening outside together, and slowly, we eradicated it. However, with our pleasant weather, it has returned.
I note from the USDA Plant site that in Arizona and California, southern sand burs are listed as “prohibited noxious weeds.” Well, duh, no kidding.
Two questions that I pondered after reading:
1. How do those two states prohibit them?
2. Who the heck would import them anyway?
Just a little humor for your Monday morning. Hey, I’m here to help. I’m also going out to weed. May the force be with me.