The cocklebur is a plant that produces a small, spiky seedpod that is covered in barbed spines. The seedpods are painful to touch and can snag in clothing and hair. They are also dangerous in that they can be ingested by animals and damage the animal's mouth and throat. If you have cockleburs on your property, take steps to kill them during the spring, before they start to produce the burrs.
Wear heavy gloves when dealing with cocklebur plants. Though the plants do not produce burs until later in the growing season, it is better to protect your hands when doing plant removal.
Hoe the area where you know cocklburs grow heavily in the spring. Hoeing can kill these plants before they get a foothold during the growing season.
Pull up the new plants by grasping them firmly around the base and yanking upward. Do this after a heavy rain, when the soil is loose. Throw the plants away to ensure that they do not re-root on your property.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the area in the spring, before the cockleburs come up. Some effective herbicides for cockleburs include Flumetsulam and Metribuzin. Use the herbicides appropriately, following the directions on the bottle.
Mow over the new plants as soon as they come up. Doing this repeatedly eventually kills the plant.