Monday, February 25, 2013
Riding Mowers Spread Goatheads
Speech to the Josephine County Commissioners, 8-8-12.
I take my dog to Schroeder Park’s dog park most Sundays. I kill goatheads, AKA puncture vine, while I’m there. Last year and this year, I have pulled them first in the large dog pen and then around the parking lot. Very few show up inside the pen any more, but they sprout all summer long, and, I understand, can sprout every summer for years.
Sunday being my day of rest, however, I can’t pull all of it outside the pen. Overdoing weed pulling and cutting has been giving me repetitive motion pain. But I spend about a half-hour on it, because I hate that weed so much.
Not only does it appear that nobody else is pulling goatheads; park workers are spreading them by ignoring them as they mow. The vines spread under the mower blades and the seeds are picked up by the wheels and transported to new ground. I found new seeding plants over in front of the small dog pen, across the turn-around from the main infestation behind the ball diamond. They were also inside and outside the fence at the entrance to the small dog pen.
This is happening not only in Schroeder Park; it appears to be a problem anywhere that mowing is done by contract or government workers on riding mowers. They ride along on their machines and never look at what they are running over and spreading around. I’ve watched it for years inside the fence at the City’s Water Reclamation Plant, with some seeds washing down the hill onto the walking path outside the fence and spreading around the property. In some places, such as the empty lot behind Wal-Mart, workers run over massive amount of litter blown onto the property without thinking about the mess that they are multiplying by dividing the trash.
People who are walking behind mowers are more likely to see and pull the weeds, especially if they are walking on goatheads. They are more likely to see and pick up the litter before they mow, especially if they care about neatness.
But government and contract workers, especially Community Corrections slaves, don’t much care about neatness or caltrops underfoot. They care as much as their boss does, and their boss cares as much as the people hiring them. You, the people hiring them, need to make sure that they first remove the goathead plants and pick up the trash.
Our new City Manager, Aaron Cubic, has finally gotten the goatheads mostly eliminated from above the south fence at the Water Reclamation Plant. Please do something about Schroeder Park.