18 answers

I Need Good Advice on Yard Care for My Terrible Weeded Yard!

So I just reciently moved into a wonderful house last week. The only problem with the house was with the backyard weeds. When we moved in they were 3 feet high. They were sprayed with sometype of killer them mowed down. Now the problem is with all of the round thistles? They are sort of round and have very very sharp spikes all over them and they are ALL over the back yard you can't even walk 1 step without getting them all over your shoes. Does anyone have any ideas on how to take care of this? The entire backyard is completely covered in these things and I'm at a loss what to do with it to care for it. I'm a renter so I don't want to put any money into it nore do I want to water it and pay the bill (its a HUGE yard) plus that would involve planting grass ect. I think I would be able to tollerate the dead look if it wasnt for all the sharp around thingys in the yard. (Sorry I have no idea what they are called!!) Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would talk to you landlord and see if he/she/they would help out in anyway. Probably needs to be tore out and reseeded. I don't think you want anything sprayed with the children around. You could consult a lawn specialist and see what suggestions they would have also.

If you don't want to spend any money on them then the only way to take care of it is to pick them. They are thistles and if you go down right to the ground and pull up on the stem they won't poke you. You need to take like a shopping bag or a garbage can with you so that you won't spread them. I had thistles really bad on my side yard and I just pick them and now I only have maybe a small handful. Good luck at not getting poked!!

More Answers

They sound like the goatheads. They are a pain to get rid of....but is your house in a HOA owned development, because if so, the landlord would be responsible for providing the yard. Most HOA's require a yard to be put in within a year of the house being built. SO the landlord can pay for a yard, you would only have to pay for water, I would think. Good luck!

If it is thistle, then is is a noxious weed and is poisonous to animals. Be careful with your kiddos around it!

I would see if you have money to hire help. Find a landscape company experinienced in new lawns. this means, they know how to lay a lawn on a new praire home to prevent the prairie grasses from poppint up. the should not only lan new sod but actually strip the lawn and prepare it. It may take a while. the thistle is a problem everywhere here. Once you get a lawn, make sure to use the weeder (stick thing with the divied end you bore down the root to get it all up) and pop them up immediately. Don't let them get a root. If they do, srpay rounup at the base so it goes on the root until it is gone. You will have a dead spot then so you may have to seed that spot in the fall...but hopefully, it will not come back. Mowing them off just makes them grow more..sort of like aspens.

Sounds like goat heads, some people call it puncture vine. grows low to the ground and spreads, pretty purple flowers to start with? Anyway if so...burning is bad it just 'sets' the seeds and creates a wonderous full crop. about the only way I know is to dig them which isn't hard as they have surface roots and are easily dug, then bag them for the garbage man. You said you don't want to plant grass...would the landlord front the money to seed? I ask because grass will choke out goat heads easily.

I would talk to you landlord and see if he/she/they would help out in anyway. Probably needs to be tore out and reseeded. I don't think you want anything sprayed with the children around. You could consult a lawn specialist and see what suggestions they would have also.

We had a yard like that in NM where we couldn't even begin to think of watering a yard. We rototilled it a few times. After the 2nd or 3rd time we had nice clean dirt for the kids to play in. We only had to keep up on it after that about once a year. It's not a long term answer that's very pretty, but it is cheap, especially if you can borrow the rototiller. We were able to get rid of all the problem weeds this way.

I would suggest that you (or have someone else) rototill the thistles into the ground. We had a similar issue in our backyard when we bought our house. We found out from our neighbors that the people who live here before us would put salt on the driveway and then shovel it off the end onto the grass. We rototilled under the thistles and they havn't came back since.

Are they goatheads? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribulus_terrestris
I wouldn't know how to get rid of them, but you probably need to find out what exactly they are before you can accomplish that goal. Maybe try the local university or your county courthouse might have some information on noxious weeds and how to get rid of them.
Maybe burn the yard?
But I think to keep them from coming back, you would have to plant some grass seed - native grasses would require less water - and maybe your landlord would help offset the cost (or at least some of it)

I'm no gardener, but I sometimes listen to the KSL garden show on saturday mornings. You could call in and ask master gardner what to do. Go to KSL.com, look under radio and find out how to call in to their gardening show. Good luck!

M.

if it was me, and it has been, I'd take one at a time. buy a bag of grass seed and some leather work gloves. take out one plant at a time, make sure and get the root, and replace the plant with a small handful of seed. I've used scissors and a screwdriver for this! pour a glass or water on it and there you go. I'd start with the ones lining my patio. just do one or two during a phone call or whatever. it may take a couple of summers but its the easiest cheapest way.
A.

Hi S.,

I know exactly what you are talking about. I had them at the last place I rented and they are horrible. Vaccuum often, because they will come into the house and you'll get them in your bare feet. The only thing that I did that was at all successful was water the lawn and as the lawn got thicker it choked them out. They are mean sharp weeds, even the plant itself is mean, so if you try to pull them use gloves and wear thick tennis shoes, because they will go though soft soled shoes. I was turning over the garden area with my cocks on, and ended up with the stickers all the way through my shoes.

We moved recently, and I really hope that we didn't bring any of though stickers with us.
Best of luck.
T.

If you don't want to spend any money on them then the only way to take care of it is to pick them. They are thistles and if you go down right to the ground and pull up on the stem they won't poke you. You need to take like a shopping bag or a garbage can with you so that you won't spread them. I had thistles really bad on my side yard and I just pick them and now I only have maybe a small handful. Good luck at not getting poked!!

If they sprayed the killer then mowed, they might have taken off everything that was hit by the weed killer. Make sense? one solution would be to spray them all again with roundup. Another idea would be to put something out there like carpet - you could look for people getting rid of their old carpet - put an ad on Craigslist, for example. Anything heavy that you can put out there on top of them will smash them down, especially if you leave them for a long time. You could pay to have the yard tilled, and you might consider talking to the owner about reimbursing you for your labor, or giving you a discount on your rent. The last thing I can think of is to go to your local nursery and ask for something you can plant that will quickly take over the yard and make it harder for these weeds to live.

They sound like goatheads, and they can be very painful and even cause swelling around the area that is poked, take a samll sample down to your local lawn care center, they can tell you what they are and how to get rid of them. Then talk to your landlord and see if he'll help of set the cost of planting grass, we went 50/50 where we live, cause we wanted more/better grass, and he didn't mind helping beautifying his property. You can plant it yourself it just requires a little more work. Good luck, and wear shoes they are painful, we have them EVERYWHERE, we're out in the counrty, so we can only do so much!

Hi S.,

Those horrible things are called Canadian Thistle. They are impossible to get rid of unless you have a product called Curtail. It is something like roundup, that is concentrated and you mix it with water and spray the thistle. It gets rid of it and it wont come back. If you pull thistle, or use round up, it doesn't work, and will keep spreading and coming back. The Curtail is not found at the usual stores. You have to get it from your County Agricultural Agent, who either will have some, or can get it for you. It is a bit pricey, but it is so worth it! I used to have thistle all over the yard, and now I have had none for years thanks to Curtail. It is a red liquid, by the way, and does not harm grass. People in your area who deal with fertilizing for farms will have access to this also. Good luck, and it is sooo worth it.

Well first, ask if your landlord if they will put in either sod or seed. Then, it is up to you to water it and mow and keep it nice. One of the disadvantages of renting. It sounds as if you may have cockleburrs....if they leaves are really big and lok a bit like rhubarb, if the plants are shorter with spines on the leaves then you have thistles, and you should probably spray them and get rid of the flowers before they seed.

In Arizona they are called hogheads man do they hurt. My brother rented a trailer space, and the landlord came by and used some kind of torch and had to burn them off. don't know if this helps much. I think the landlord should be taking care of this problem.
Maybe raking them in a pile in a corner till LL can take care of them.
Good luck.

If what you have is goat heads...they have 3-4 very sharp prongs or "horns", then there isn't much you can do without spending money, or insisting that your landlord spend it. they are extremely resilient and spraying won't get rid of them. As for their stickers, get a rubber mat, and lay it on the ground, and walk all over it. The stickers will stick into the rubber, and then you can toss it into the trash. The vines are low growing, and get little yellow flowers on them. If you can pick them before the flowers turn into stickers, that will help cut down on new weeds, since those are the seeds.

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