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There is a weed in my backyard that generates little brown balls with spikes on them. The balls are probably less than 1cm in diameter. See picture. spikey ball weed

Here are my questions:
1) What is the name of it?

2) How do I get rid of it?
{What are the recommended sprays or chemicals?}

3) Need sprays that are not harmful to dogs or cats.

The little balls are getting into the fur of dogs (including their paws) and the plush toys.

FYI: This plant is growing in: U.S.A, Southern California in the foothills of the Santa Ana mountain range (south Orange County).

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    It is burr-clover, in lawns you can control it with weed killing fertilizer (the kind I buy is OK for pets 24 hours after application). I mostly control it by hand removal, you have to make sure you get the whole root so moistening the ground helps. – Jimmy Fix-it Apr 16 '17 at 14:10
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    @JimmyFix-it , you are spot on with your id, would you turn that comment into an answer, please? I'd like to upvote ;-) – Stephie Apr 16 '17 at 21:54
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It is burr-clover, in lawns you can control it with weed killing fertilizer (the kind I buy is OK for pets 24 hours after application). I mostly control it by hand removal, you have to make sure you get the whole root so moistening the ground helps

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Check out Goathead, Tribulus terrestris in this PDF distributed by the University of Arizona. I think it fits, check against the photos in the pdf.

Control will be difficult since it is persistent and easily spread. It spreads by seed, so the key is to prevent it from going to seed and avoiding bringing seed into your yard. You can mechanically hoe off seedlings (learn to identify the plant at early seedling stage) and let them fry in the sun, or spot treat with a product per the advice from your friendly garden store who will be up to date with what you can legally use in your region. The spiky fruits attach easily to boot soles and car tires, so checking "visitors" at the gate does no harm.

Edit: also see previous question here.

  • I disagree. Jimmy Fix-it is spot on in his comment. Look at the photo above: the leaves are tripartite, not pinnately compound and the seeds show the typical "spiky coil" of burr clover. – Stephie Apr 16 '17 at 21:53
  • Possible. However I don't see the tripartite leaves you mention in the photo. If they are clover-like then Jimmy is right. Would help a lot to see a clearer pic of a leaf or set of leaves. – Colin Beckingham Apr 17 '17 at 5:42
  • Look in the bottom right corner, both open and folded. But yes, the photo is very blurry. – Stephie Apr 17 '17 at 6:57
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It is bindi. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soliva_sessilis Primary control is removal of plants before the seedheads mature and drop off plant. Lawnmowing spreads the seeds. Chemical control is difficult as killing the plants leaves viable seeds to start new plants.

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