Cocklebur Weed (Solanum molybdites) is a weed that grows on pasture and hay fields. Its leaves are dark green, but its flowers are white or pink. It produces small seeds called rosettes which resemble little red berries. These berries contain a toxin that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain when eaten. When these plants grow in large numbers they can cause problems with livestock grazing on the land where they grow.
The first step to getting rid of this weed is to get rid of all the other weeds in your pasture. You can use a weed killer like Roundup, but it will take time to kill them all off. A better way is to cut down the grass around the area where you want to eliminate this weed.
Then just rake up any remaining vegetation and burn it. If you don’t have access to a farm tractor, then you can use a lawnmower. Just make sure not to over do it and keep going until all the vegetation is gone.
If you live in an area where there are lots of cattle, then you may need to apply some kind of herbicide before burning the vegetation. Using a spray or paint roller, apply some Roundup to the weeds. Be sure not to get any on nearby plants or it will kill them off as well.
In about 2 weeks the weeds should be dead and you can continue with the next step.
The next step is to burn the vegetation in the area. If you only have a small area, then you can just use matches or a lighter. If you have a large area to burn, you will need some kind of fire-pit.
You can make one of these yourself with some old bricks or buy a cheap pre-made one from a hardware store.
Once you’ve burned all the vegetation, it is important that you keep an eye on the field every month or so for new growth. Any new weeds that start growing, you will need to get rid of immediately.
These plants grow in rosettes, which means that if you pull them up by the roots, they will just grow back. You need to use some kind of herbicide or the services of a professional exterminator to be entirely rid of this weed. If you don’t then they will just keep growing back and you’ll never be able to let your sheep graze in that area again.
Some people swear by spraying a mixture of equal amounts of glysophate and vinegar on the plants. Others like to use Roundup, which is obviously more effective, but also more expensive. It all comes down to how much money you want to spend and how much time you are willing to invest to get rid of this nasty weed.
Another way to get rid of these plants is to hire a professional exterminator. The disadvantage of this is that it’s very expensive. You also have to make sure that the company you hire is licensed and insured.
A lot of companies try to skip out on this part, so checking them out is very important before hiring them.
You can also go the do-it-yourself route and build a fence around your land to keep the rosettes from spreading. In order for this to work, you will need to build a continuous loop of fence that is at least six feet tall and has no holes or weak spots in it. The plants can’t grow underneath the fence, so if you keep pushing it further out, they won’t be able to come back in.
The fence must be made out of metal. Wood and plastic won’t do the trick. In fact, they will probably rot over time and turn into compost for the weeds to grow in.
You can use barb-wire on the top to make it harder for people to hop over. It’s best if you install a gate so that you can easily get in and out of your territory.
Any holes or weak spots in the fence will let the weeds grow back in, so you want to check it every month or so and repair anything that looks like it needs to be fixed.
These plants can also be controlled with fire. If you burn them down at the right time of year, they won’t be able to grow back from the roots. This will take some experimentation on your part to figure out exactly when this is best done.
It’s possible that you may also burn the grass around the plants, so you will need to have a backup plan in case the fire spreads.
If you don’t want to do any of the work yourself, you can always hire a lawn care company to come in and do it for you. It’s not terribly cheap, but they are experts at what they do. The problem is that they might not be aware of exactly what kind of weed you’re dealing with.
You’re going to have to make sure that they come when there isn’t any rain in the forecast and you need to show them exactly what you want done before they start.
Well, you certainly have some choices to make now don’t you?
In any case, you should decide what you want to do soon. The longer you wait, the worse this problem is going to get.
You now have two choices for your future:
Continue to the story.
Return to the beginning menu.
A year has passed…
It’s been a little over a year since you took control of the North Side and things are going very well for you. The Boardwalk is making you richer than you ever imagined. Your part of the militia is quite happy as well thanks to your more generous policies.
Most importantly, the Crimson Talon is out of the picture (at least as far as North Port is concerned).
You’re sitting in your office feeling a sense of accomplishment. Not because of what you’ve done, but more what your ancestors have built. All this is yours.
You own it. You control it. Nobody can stop you.
Even though you’re feeling good about things, you still haven’t forgotten your recent near death experience with Cyrus. That taught you a lesson. You can’t ever let your guard down.
People are always going to be jealous and willing to try to kill you. You won’t even have the luxury of getting old and dying a natural death like your parents.
You won’t ever be truly safe. Your best hope is to keep expanding and hold on to what you have, because you’re going to have to rely on more than just your trusty pistol in the future. You have to prepare for an all out war, which is why you’ve got half the building currently being renovated to serve as armory and military training facility.
You think back to the day when Mr. Reynolds explained what your parents really did for a living. All those years ago…
You think back to the day you decided to follow in their footsteps and it makes you laugh…
“That’s right little guy, kill the bastards.” You mutter to yourself with a smirk.
This is your life.
Sources & references used in this article:
Optimal weed control under static and dynamic decision rules by JJ Wu – Agricultural Economics, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Biology of Apagomerella versicolor (Boheman)(Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in Argentina, a candidate for biological control of cocklebur (Xanthium spp.) by G Logarzo, D Gandolfo, H Cordo – Biological Control, 2002 – Elsevier
A Constellation of Cockleburs by K Meyers – The Georgia Review, 1995 – JSTOR
Soybean response to weed interference and defoliation by CF Grymes, JL Griffin, DJ Boethel, BR Leonard… – Weed science, 1999 – JSTOR
Absorption and Translocation of 2, 4–D in Several Annual Broadleaved Weeds by MC Williams, FW Slife, JB Hanson – Weeds, 1960 – cambridge.org