Weed Pull at the Jordan River Nature Center

On June 8th, Tracy Aviary staff and friends/family of staff gathered at the Jordan River Nature Center for our summer weed pull and barbeque. Our goal was to find and pull out puncturevine along the Jordan River Parkway Trail. The latin name, Tribulus terrestris means “a tribulation on earth” and anyone who has biked or walked their dog through an area infested with puncturevine will think the name very apt. 

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Puncturevine, sometimes known as Goathead or (as I recently learned) Devil’s Thorn, is native to southern Europe. It is hypothesized that puncturevine was inadvertently introduced into the U.S. as a hitchhiker on sheep’s wool that was important from the Mediterranean. It is now widespread across the western United States, and is also found in a few places in the eastern U.S. It reproduces through seeds, and a large puncturevine plant can produce from 200 to 5,000 seeds in a season. The seeds are viable for up to six years or more. This means that puncturevine spreads quickly and is extremely hard to eradicate. Our efforts on June 8th made a good dent in decreasing puncturevine in the section of the trail near the nature center – we were able to pull out many plants before they had produced seeds. 

Another effective way to battle puncturevine is to physically remove seeds. A combined effort of plant and seed removal is thought to be 90% effective for puncturevine control. Some participants in the weed pull collected and removed hundreds of seeds by collecting them on the bottom of their shoes or kneeling pad and scraping them into trash bags. Apparently, some groups use old pumpkins to gather seeds, rolling them along the infested area to collect the goatheads in the pumpkin flesh. Perhaps we can try this at a future weed pull. 

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Team Verde would like to thank everyone who came out and helped with the weed pull effort! It was well-attended, fun, and we really appreciate everyone’s assistance in the stewardship and care of the ecologically important Jordan River corridor. 

- Cooper Farr
Director of Conservation