City trying new plan to eliminate spiny ‘goatheads’

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – We’ve all had them stuck in our shoes or in our bike tires, now the city says it’s trying something new to get rid of “goatheads” in some of the city’s popular open spaces.

Over the weekend, the city is launching a new pilot project that they hope will help eliminate goatheads in the years to come.

This year, officials with the city’s Open Space department say those spiny littles seeds are taking over the Bosque trail.

Even if you haven’t ridden, run or walked one on some of the city’s 170 miles of trails, you’ve probably been stuck by a goathead. The spiny little weed seeds are common for popping tires or causing a lot of pain in the bare foot they get stuck in.

“Right now, it’s a tremendous problem,” said Mark Chavez, assistant superintendent for the city of Albuquerque’s Open Space division.

Within a few seconds of walking along a piece of the Bosque trail Thursday, Chavez has several goatheads stuck in his shoe.

“These goat heads can last in the soil up to ten years, you know even twenty years,” said Chavez.

With heavy spring rains this year as well, cyclists like Nate Probert say they’re noticing them more than ever while riding on paved trails.

“This is my third time this week replacing this back tire,” said Probert.

Albuquerque Parks and Recreation is in charge of about 150 miles of trail upkeep throughout the city. Crews typically either mow or sprays weed killers on the plants. However, they say it hasn’t been best.

“We’ve found that that hasn’t been really successful,” said Christina Sandoval, principal planner for the Albuquerque Parks and Recreation department.

This weekend, Sandoval says Parks and Rec will try something new in the Bosque.

“People want us to be more environmentally sound,” said Sandoval.

For the first time, they’ll plant native grass on along the Bosque Trail entrance at the west end of Mountain Road for National Trails Day. Since the grass is native, it only needs rain water. The city hopes that native grasses will take a strong root along the trail side to keep the spiny goatheads from ever growing again. The city says the results should be visible in the next few years.

Thomas Facey fixes popped tires on the regular at an Albuquerque bike shop.

“It’s daily, daily we deal with people, we’re switching out tubes, we’re helping others,” said Facey.

He’s hoping the new grass will help keep cyclists from running flat.

“If it works, that would be awesome,” said Facey.

The city is looking for volunteers to help plant that native grass on Saturday morning. Volunteers are being asked to meet at the west end of Mountain Road at 8 a.m. on June 6. The city says it will provide rakes and shovels, but they’re asking people to bring their own gloves. For more information, call Christina Sandoval at 505-768-5370.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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