Living in Florida, Texas, and Hawaii means you must have come across weeds that stick to you or black seeds that stick to your clothes, shoes, pets or on the insides of your car.
Even now, they’re just waiting along the roadside so you to pick them up and take them wherever you’re going. Very annoying little nasties if you ask me.
What are Hitchhiker Weeds or Seeds?
These are seeds or weeds that spread by people, or hitchhiking.
The Hitchikers weeds are so called because the seeds stick to clothing, shoes and fur, making it hard to dislodge them immediately. Their stickiness of the seeds ensures the seeds travel far and wide via humans, and animal movement, and most can be eventually shaken off down the road somewhere.
Although it might sound like all fun games, the hitchhiker seeds that stick to your clothes and you dislodge actually contribute to the estimated $7.4 billion loss of farmer’s each year. Not to talk of the environmental damage these pest plants cause.
Humans, like you and I spread these seeds at a rate of 500 million to one billion seeds a year in cars alone! Although the weeds within crop st
ands are annoying, those that appear in fields can be downright dangerous for grazing animals like horses and cattle.
ALSO SEE: Growing Avocados in Ohio in 3 STEPS
Types of Hitchhiker Plants/Seeds
Over 600 weed species have been recorded to travel by hitchhiking with pets, animals, humans or on machines, 248 of which are considered invasive or foreign to North America.
They come in different forms and some listed here are common Florida weeds that stick to your clothing or shoes. They range from woody shrubs to herbaceous annuals and occupy almost every part. They are:
- “Stick-tight” Harpagonella (Harpagonella palmeri)
- “Beggerticks” (Bidens)
- Krameria (Krameria grayi)
- Calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)
- Common burdock (Arctium minus)
- Hound’s-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale)
- Sandbur (Cenchrus)
- Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)
- Jumping cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)
- Hedge-parsley (Torilis arvensis)
Preventative Measures to Avoid the Spread of seeds that stick to animal fur or Human Clothing
Carefully inspecting your pets and clothing before leaving wild areas or bushes. Ensure you leave those unwanted weed seeds behind.
Reseeding disturbed areas such as your garden using a cover crop ensures hitchhikers struggle to survive.
Check your machinery or car anytime you drive past unpaved roads or via muddy ways. Even if they’re not visible, we still recommend cleaning your wheel wells, undercarriage and any other location where seeds might be hitching a ride.
ALSO SEE: Is Grass A Living Thing?
How To Get Rid Of Hitchhiker Weeds
From experience, digging them out once they emerge is the most effective way. Ensure you get 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm) of root while the plant is still young, or else, it’ll grow back from root fragments – there are that stubborn!
You should clip it at the ground and carefully bag it for disposal – composting does not destroy this kind of weeds.
What Kills Hitchhiker Weed?
An herbicide (CHECK ON AMAZON) may be able to kill the plant while its younger. Just spot-spray it onto the plants as soon as you see them in the spring but hand-picking is effective if the weeds are older.