Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Puncture weed season is here ...dogs and bike tires beware!


My dog isn't as happy, going for walks now, as the puncture vine weed season has arrived.
This year looks to be the worst one ever.
One of the peskiest weeds in northern Utah — whose detriments can extend far beyond the plant's actual life-span — is the puncture vine weed.
This weed typically grows on the edges of unhealthy lawns. It can stretch across a sidewalk, if not controlled, and also clog the gutters along the sides of highways. While most weeds grow upward, this one stretches out along the ground like a spider web.
A nickname for this pesky weed is goatheads, for its thorny seeds.
Puncture weeds reach their peak in late summer and homeowners who let them proliferate cause dogs who step on them pain and bicycle owners trouble with flattened tires.
They also stick to the bottom of people's shoes and end up inside homes — and carpet — and I personally know the pain of stepping on them.
This time of year, my dog seems extra cautious to cross weedy parkways for fear of hitting these puncture vines.
Lazy homeowners let these weeds exist. City zoning laws only cover the height of weeds and since these weeds grow horizontally, they exist in a loophole.
My personal opinion is these weeds are at an all-time high in northern Utah -- they are a plague that shouldn't exist, but does.
Puncture vine seeds can remain dormant for up to five years and so they are tough to control.
I'll soon be walking my dog mostly on the road, as the sidewalks are full of these weeds. These punctures will remain a hazard until well into the winter.
These lazy homeowners just don't think their lack of weed control has any effect on other people, but it does.

UPDATE: Fall of 2016: Puncture weeds seem worse than ever before. Some property owners still fail to control the weed and a record hot and dry summer let the plant take over some sidewalks.

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