Painful Park Problems - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Painful Park Problems

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With spring break just around the corner, some parents are gearing up to take their children out for a fun day at the park. 

However, plant burrs also known as "stickers" are causing painful problems for park-goers, especially children.  The prickly weeds stick to the skin, clothes and even shoes. 

Gail White was at Kiwanis Park Wednesday morning, spending time with her husband and two grandchildren. She said stickers are becoming a concern.

"Their little hands get all pierced.  Their skin is soft, so it's a little bit harder than it would be with us as adults.  When we go home, we have to strip them down and get them out of their shoes before we take them into the house," she said. 

Another park visitor Sonia Verzor agreed. "When my daughter is playing around, she gets hurt and it's all on their hands and she starts crying," said the mother of a 3 year old.  

Wichita Falls Director of Parks and Recreation Jack Murphy said the drought and ban on outside irrigation has caused turf grass found in parks to die, exposing the seed heads.

"With less turf grass and less rain, what is left are the sand burrs and they have a chance to thrive," he said.

If the drought continues, he said it will only get worse.  Stickers have even caused problems with bicyclists.

"We've had some reports of some of the stickers from bike riders.  Some are efficiently long and strong so it can penetrate a certain type of tire bicycle and cause a flat," said Murphy.

In order to alleviate the problem, the city of Wichita Falls is looking into using safe herbicides.

"We are investigating if there are any chemicals as well as the cost and resources it would take us to possibly reduce the amount of stickers," said Murphy.

While the stickers might be annoying, Murphy said it shouldn't ruin a nice day at the park.

"Just have knowledge in advance and dress accordingly," he said.

It's recommended that park-goers wear shoes instead of sandals, and cover up exposed skin if weather permits. 

Stickers are not only found in Kiwanis Park, but also in all the other 39 parks in Wichita Falls. 


Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.