Marian Carcache: Taking on burrweed single-handedly

Marian Carcache: Taking on burrweed single-handedly

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The stories go that Eve bit the apple, Pandora opened the box, and Lott’s wife looked back. I’m a little suspicious of a history that blames women for so much trouble, but I have little doubt that we’re up to the task if need be.

As I am systematically digging up my yard to rid it of lawn burrweed (soliva sessilis) – those awful three-cornered stickers that send chills through the body when stepped on barefooted – I can’t help but wonder if somebody somewhere is blaming a woman for the spread of this noxious weed.

Here is what I know about lawn burrweed: A member of the astor family and native to South America, it has managed to spread around the world. Among its many names are Onehunga-weed, lawnweed, and common soliva. It’s one of several plants known as “bindi weed” or “bindi-eye.”

It’s a nasty low-growing annual that is very proud of its sharp-needled seeds that are easily spread from the soles of shoes, on car tires, as well as by wind and rain. If it weren’t for those darned stickers, lawn burweed would be rather pretty, resembling parsley just a bit. It tends to spread in patches, called “bindi patches,” which can’t be walked on barefoot without pain. And it bothers dogs and cats as much as it does humans. In other words, it has crossed the line with me.

Research tells me that to start the process of eliminating lawn burrweed, one has to apply a pre-emergent herbicide early in spring before the stickers, which are its seeds, form. Even then, the burrweed will reappear the next year, though probably not as thickly. Not wanting to use herbicides where my dogs play and my vegetables grow, I have started digging up the yard, filling plastic bags with noxious green enemy and then tying the top of the bag to keep seeds from escaping.

So this woman can be seen out in the yard after every rain, not eating an apple or opening a box or even looking back, but rather taking on burrweed single-handedly with a shovel and black garbage bag.

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