How To Get Rid Of Goat Head Stickers In Your Yard

How To Get Rid Of Goat Head Stickers In Your Yard

How To Get Rid Of Goat Head Stickers In Your Yard


Having a well-maintained yard is a dream for many homeowners. However, the presence of goat head stickers can quickly turn that dream into a nightmare. Goat head stickers, also known as puncturevines, are invasive plants that can wreak havoc on your yard and cause painful injuries to both humans and animals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective methods to eliminate goat head stickers and prevent their return, allowing you to reclaim your yard and enjoy the outdoors again.


1. Understanding Goat Head Stickers

2. Manual Removal

3. Proper Mowing and Maintenance

4. Chemical Control

5. Natural Remedies

6. Preventive Measures

1. Understanding Goat Head Stickers

Before diving into the methods of eradication, it is essential to understand the characteristics and life cycle of goat head stickers. Goat head stickers, scientifically known as Tribulus terrestris, are warm-season annual weeds that originated from Europe. These plants produce small yellow flowers that eventually transform into hard, spiky fruits containing sharp thorns. These thorns can puncture bicycle tires, pet paws, and even shoes, causing frustration and discomfort for homeowners.

Goat head stickers thrive in dry, arid climates and are particularly common in sandy or gravelly soils. They can quickly establish a stronghold in your yard, driveway, or garden, spreading their seeds through foot traffic, animals, or water runoff. To successfully eliminate goat head stickers, a multi-faceted approach is recommended, combining manual removal, proper mowing and maintenance, chemical control, and natural remedies.

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2. Manual Removal

The first step in combating goat head stickers is manual removal. This method involves physically uprooting the plants before they have a chance to set their thorny fruits. To effectively remove goat head stickers from your yard, follow these steps:

• Put on gloves to protect your hands from the thorns.

• Use a spade or a shovel to dig around the base of the plant.

• Grasp the plant firmly by the root system and gently pull it out of the ground.

• Ensure that you remove the entire root system to prevent regrowth.

• Place the uprooted plants in a garbage bag or container to dispose of them properly.

Manual removal should be done regularly, especially during the early stages of plant growth. It is crucial to remove goat head stickers before they have a chance to produce seeds and spread, as the plants can rapidly multiply if left unchecked.

3. Proper Mowing and Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy yard is key to preventing the infestation and spread of goat head stickers. Regular mowing, pruning, and weeding can significantly reduce the population of these invasive plants. Follow these maintenance practices to keep your yard goat head sticker-free:

• Mow your lawn regularly, keeping the grass at an optimum height of around 2-3 inches.

• Remove any overgrowth, such as weeds and unnecessary vegetation, that may provide a favorable environment for goat head stickers to thrive.

• Avoid overwatering your yard, as goat head stickers prefer dry conditions.

• Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent goat head stickers from germinating.

By maintaining a well-groomed lawn and implementing preventive measures, you can effectively minimize the occurrence of goat head stickers and create an inhospitable environment for their growth.

4. Chemical Control

If your goat head sticker infestation is severe or widespread, chemical control may be necessary. Herbicides can be an effective tool in eliminating these invasive plants. However, it is crucial to select and apply herbicides carefully to avoid harming desirable plants and the environment. Follow these steps when using herbicides for goat head sticker control:

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• Choose a herbicide specifically formulated to target broadleaf weeds.

• Read and follow the instructions and safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.

• Apply the herbicide using a sprayer or a watering can, taking care to focus on the goat head stickers and avoid desirable plants.

• Apply the herbicide during mild weather conditions, avoiding windy or rainy days.

• Repeat the application as necessary, following the recommended intervals provided by the herbicide manufacturer.

Keep in mind that chemical control should be used cautiously and as a last resort. Always consider non-chemical methods first and consult with a professional if you have any concerns or doubts about using herbicides.

5. Natural Remedies

For those who prefer organic or eco-friendly approaches, several natural remedies can help control goat head stickers without the use of chemicals. These remedies not only eliminate goat head stickers but also promote a healthier ecosystem in your yard. Here are a few effective natural methods:

• Pour boiling water directly onto the goat head stickers to scorch and kill them.

• Apply a mixture of vinegar and water to the plants, as vinegar is known for its weed-killing properties.

• Use corn gluten meal, a natural pre-emergent herbicide, to prevent goat head sticker seeds from germinating.

• Spread organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around your yard to discourage the growth of goat head stickers.

These natural remedies may require multiple applications and regular maintenance. However, they offer a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to chemical control methods.

6. Preventive Measures

Prevention is the key to keeping your yard goat head sticker-free in the long run. By taking proactive measures, you can minimize the chances of reinfestation. Consider implementing the following preventive strategies:

• Regularly inspect your yard and promptly remove any goat head stickers or young plants that appear.

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• Clean your shoes, clothing, and gardening tools after visiting areas infested with goat head stickers, as seeds can easily hitch a ride.

• Inspect and clean your pet’s paws and fur after outdoor activities to prevent them from spreading goat head sticker seeds.

• Use gravel or other non-organic materials in areas prone to goat head sticker infestations, as these plants thrive less in rocky soils.

• Encourage dense and healthy turf growth by incorporating suitable fertilizers and proper irrigation practices.


Goat head stickers can quickly take over your yard if left unchecked. However, by employing the methods outlined in this guide, you can successfully eliminate these invasive plants and prevent their return. Remember, a combination of manual removal, proper maintenance, and preventive measures is essential in eradicating goat head stickers from your yard. By taking action promptly and consistently, you can reclaim your yard and enjoy a sticker-free outdoor space once again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Are goat head stickers poisonous to pets?

A1. Goat head stickers are not poisonous to pets. However, their sharp thorns can cause discomfort, pain, and potential injuries to paws or skin. It is best to remove goat head stickers from your yard to protect your furry companions.

Q2. Can goat head stickers damage my tires?

A2. Yes, goat head stickers can puncture bicycle tires, lawn mower tires, and even car tires. It is crucial to remove these invasive plants to avoid such tire damage.

Q3. Can goat head stickers be composted?

A3. It is generally not recommended to compost goat head stickers, as their seeds can survive the composting process and potentially spread when the compost is used. It is safer to dispose of them in regular trash bags or containers.

Q4. Can I use salt to kill goat head stickers?

A4. While salt can be effective in killing some types of weeds, it is not a recommended method for goat head sticker control. Salt can also harm desirable plants and negatively impact the soil structure and fertility over time.

Q5. How long does it take to eliminate goat head stickers from my yard?

A5. The timeline for eliminating goat head stickers can vary based on the severity of the infestation and the methods employed. Regular and consistent efforts can significantly speed up the process, usually taking several months to a year to see significant results.

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