doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)April 17, 2009

Hi everyone. I just found this forum and there's a lot of good info on it. I just bought an acreage that's been vacant for a year. It's 2 1/2 acres and covered in cockleburs. What's the best way to get rid of them and also the burs that are on the ground. I have small, long haired dogs that will have to be shaved if I can't get rid of them. Thanks for any advice.


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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Shave the dog.

They are very toxic and almost impossible to get rid of. Huge seeds, very resistant to those much beloved organic pre-emergent herbicides. If you don't want to use post-emergent herbicides you need to pull by hand, it will be a lot of work.

Goodluck, and don't let any animal that you want to live graze on the seeds or young plants, I think goats can handle the adult plants, but the seeds (which they will probably eat indiscriminately) might kill them.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 4:39AM
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We ended up with some kind of horrible obnoxious thorny (very sharp and large) plant in our pasture after buying hay from a different area of the state.

It's taken a long time, but I have finally gotten them under control. I had to wear heavy leather gloves and I hand pulled them up out of the ground before the seed head could form and dispatch their seeds.

I would wait until the ground was soft (after a big rain) and pull everyone I could see. We have a 4 acre or more size yard that use to be part of the pasture, so I'm not talking about a small area.

It took lots of time, perseverance and the desire to eliminate them from our property.

If you don't want to pull them up like I did, then go to your co-op or farm supply in your area and see what options they have. They will know more about the species in your area.

Rattlebox plants are invasive and will clog waterways. I've read that in some states, they actually go out and pick off all the seed pods to keep them from being spread. I guess they do it because they don't spray as it could harm the water.

Shaving my dog would not be an option.

Here is a link that might be useful: MY BLOG

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:38AM
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I thought this was intersting even though it does not answer your question:

For thousands of years, man has walked through fields of weeds and arrived home with burrs stuck to his clothing. ItÂs amazing no one took advantage of the problem until 1948. George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, returned from a walk one day in 1948 and found some cockleburs clinging to his cloth jacket. When de Mestral loosened them, he examined one under his microscope. The principle was simple. The cocklebur is a maze of thin strands with burrs (or hooks) on the ends that cling to fabrics or animal fur. By the accident of the cockleburs sticking to his jacket, George de Mestral recognized the potential for a practical new fastener. It took eight years to experiment, develop, and perfect the invention, which consists of two strips of nylon fabric. One strip contains thousands of small hooks. The other strip contains small loops. When the two strips are pressed together, they form a strong bond. VELCRO, the name de Mestral gave his product, is the brand most people in the United States know. It is strong, easily separated, lightweight, durable, and washable, comes in a variety of colors, and wonÂt jam.

moral of the story what is a pain in the butt to one can make another rich beyond dreams. LOL Sorry I can't help you with your problem

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:55AM
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I don't have much experience with this but maybe someone could say if this would work. A lot of farmers around here use control burns in their fields. I wonder if that would kill of the cockleburrs. I would think if it would work it would work best in the fall when the plants are dead and dry. Not sure if fire would kill those big seeds though.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Our land was vacant for awhile when we moved in also. We have a lot of varioius kinds of dock, burdock being the worst. We have curly dock and 6' Canada thistle to get rid of, as well. The burrs are horrible and kept getting caught in my dogs hair and I have a shi tzu/bichon. I did a lot of research last year.

Burdock is an biannual. The seed grows just the leaves at ground level the first year. The bur tree grows the second year and then it dies. If you can cut off the pink flowers before it goes to seed in the summer, you will eventually be rid of them. It takes a lot of watching, since the flowers will re-grow from side stalks after the initial cut and the seeds can be viable for two years. You can also cover the first year plants, or the second year early in the season, with weighted black plastic or cardboard to kill them off before they grow burs.

There is an upside. The plants/roots are edible by people and lots of cultures value them as food items. I have not explored this source of income yet. Burdock is not good for chickens to eat.

Curly dock, which I also have lots of, does make good chicken feed and I plan to add it to my home grown chicken feed this coming fall.

I seem to be losing the battle with the thistles...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 5:57PM
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I dig them out.You might pull them when the ground is real wet.And then burn them so the seeds don't grow.Have you tried cream rinse on your dogs?Can you put cream rinse on a dog(maybe mane and tale)to remove them more easily?They are awful.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:09PM
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Mow them down as low as you can. Let them grow back but make sure you mow again before they reseed. It takes 2 years of doing this to be rid of them. In the mean time they will not be making new burrs. I say again DO NOT LET THEM RESEED or the clock starts over on the 2 years.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:14PM
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doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)

Thanks for the advice and the velcro story. Everything is good for something :)
I wanted to get some goats and chickens this year but I'd better wait until I get things cleaned up. I have a lot of work ahead of me but it will all be worth it.
Thanks again,

Here is a link that might be useful: my photo album

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 2:42AM
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The goats will help you clean it up. They are great for rejuvenating overgrown pasture. Goats do better on that kind of forage than grassy pasture. Their digestive systems need the roughage and they can chew the thorniest stuff without being bothered by it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 12:42PM
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I just went to your photo album. Wow. That house has LOTS of potential. Did you buy it or inherit it? You also have the perfect little house in the back for a hen house, and a storage stall for hay or build a barn around it and let it be sleeping quarters for your animals. fence posts already up, and salvagable wood from the building that fell down (I hate to see stuff like that). Hopefully you will be able to get it together without it driving you crazy first. LOL

Are you going to do a blog? I would love to follow your progress! A couple of people on here have blogs on google's blogger service. Msmitoagain and runningtrails come to my mind right now. Check theirs out. If you start a blog let me know so I can bookmark it.

Here is a link that might be useful: page to get a free blog.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 11:45PM
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doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)

I think a blog is a great idea. I'm glad someone else sees the potential in my new place. I'm so excited about it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 2:12AM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

I would call your county extension service (same place that you would send a soil sample) they may have some good advice for you. They sure are nasty and I did not realize they are toxic. Fortunately that is one weed I don't have.

Interesting piece on the invention/inspiration for velcro!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 3:59PM
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That place doe shave a lot of potential. Reminds me of our place when we moved in. Lots of work, but lots of reward too.

I'd love to read a blog done as you clean it up. I have one, link below, but I find it time consuming just when I have no time. I've worked out a plan to post more often this summer, however. I'll see how it goes.

I can't wait to see your progress. What are you going to do first?

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 8:56AM
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doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)

The previous owners were foreclosed on last fall and when they left no one drained the water lines or shut the water off. The upstairs toilet broke and water damaged the downstairs bathroom. First job is gut the damaged walls and get running water. Major clean up of rest of house and no kitchen cabinets.
I know it will be worth it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:40AM
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doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)

OK here's my blog. I don't know how often I can update it but will try.
Thanks again.

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 2:27AM
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My fingers are itching looking at the pictures of your house. I don't know what it is about houses that are diamonds in the rough but I LOVE them. My house is 100 years old but the previous owner did the modernizing and unfortunately he thought the molding needed updating too. He ripped out all the beautiful crown molding and thick baseboards and stuck in builder grade junk in it's place. In your house, the woodwork alone makes it beautiful. If I lived closer you'd have to lock me out or I'd be over there working on your house! It's so rewarding restoring things to their former beauty.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 8:39PM
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I searched and searched for a diamond in the rough as well. My house is only 875 sq ft but I swear it is working me to death. I found out today that I have to have some of the handman wiring a previous owner put in reworked. Would I trade it. heck naw. I see the potential, I don't have the money to do it all at one time so it is done little at a time and I would not trade it for the world. Yeah what I saw of your place I loved. It is a long frustrating road but it is a road that you should enjoy traveling and I would love it if you would let us be a part of it by starting a blog. I started mines too and as Runningtrails said it can be time consuming. I had to think where do I start and then it trying to get the story out, rushed them all. LOL. Eventually I will get to a comfortable place. Also sometimes I hesitate to put anything in my blog that I say on here because it feels like I am repeating myself.

Well I hope you have fun but I can tell you now those cockleberries are not fun. My goats got rid of mines. I actually forgot I had them when I first got here but something triggered my senility to go away so I could remember. LOL

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:04PM
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doglady_gardener(#4, Iowa)

You're all so nice and I'm happy so many see the potential and not just me. On my breaks from demo I've been walking around pulling cocklebur plants and dreaming about what it's going to be when I'm done. I have several plans for the barn wood. I like to call it my personal lumber store.

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:51PM
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For your dogs, use a mixture of half coconut oil and half a silicon based detangler (ask at a feed store) mix up in a condiment bottle and squirt a dab on any burr. The oil will penetrate and the burr will fall out. It's what we use on horse manes and tails.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:34AM
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scissors and tweezers

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:41PM
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i have terriers one lakeland and one jrt the lakeland came home from a recent walk covered in cocklebur i used cooking oil to release the burs then shampooed afterwards altho uncomfortable at the time for poor dog after treatment was fine tho i do believe it can cause allergys in canines if not treated as soon as possible as the tips of the burs can get under there skin

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 8:31PM
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