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Goathead Boom Causes Bumper Crop Of Flat Tires

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) A flat tire is one of the most frustrating things you can have, whether it's on your car or truck, or your kid's bicycle. So where did all of the sharp and pointy goatheads come from this summer?

Those goatheads aren't going any where real soon. In fact, they've been growing all summer long, and are just now maturing.

This year drivers and riders have seen more goatheads, which are sharp pointed thorns that easily puncture tires. They're also known locally as "puncture vines." And when they dry out, you're sure to find a goathead in your tire.

Mike McAuley, Manager of the Spoke & Wheel Bike Shop, says, "I used to avoid certain areas of Twin Falls that you couldn't ride in, you just didn't ride there. As I've gotten older, it seems like those areas have spread, and now they are in our alleyway behind the store, across the street, they're everywhere."

Dave Kiesig, Horticulture Professor at the College of Southern Idaho, says, "The goatheads have exploded. A normal goathead plant would get two or three feet in our area. I've seen some as big as five and six feet. They just thrived in this heat."

Kiesig says a moist, warm spring and a hot, dry summer cause goatheads to grow incredibly well, like they have this year. He says each goathead seed pod has five seeds in it. So if you don't spray or pull up those plants early in the spring, you'll have five times as many goat head plants next year.

McAuley says that goatheads are a noxious weed here in Southern Idaho, and they're responsible for more than 95% of the flat tires that occur in Magic Valley. He uses a thicker than usual inner tube and a sealant called Flat Attack to fight goatheads.

McAuley says, " We've found that the tube and the sealant together will prevent flat tires from stopping you from getting to where you need to go, basically making the bike much more reliable."

McAuley says you should check with your local bike or tire shop to find out how to deal with flat tires caused by goatheads.

Oct. 3, 2012.


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