- Sticker burs have taken over my yard.
- Stop Sticker Problems Now
- Herbicides with lawn burweed activity:
- Get the most from bermudagrass with sandbur control
- Knowing What They Are
- Ways to Get Rid of Grass Burrs
- Water Your Lawn Regularly
- Grassbur control options reviewed
- 3 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Sand Burs in the Yard
- How to Get Rid of Sand Burs
- First, What are they called?
Sticker burs have taken over my yard.
Dallas, Texas Field sandbur (grassbur) is a summer annual grassy weed that can be found in home lawns, sports fields, parks and along roadsides. This weed is especially adapted to dry, sandy soils but can be found growing in other types of soils as well. The big problem with this weed is the sharp, spiny burs that are part of the inflorescence. These burs can be painful and are difficult to remove from clothing material. Field sandburs (grassburs) generally start germinating in late spring and will continue to germinate until late summer or early fall months. This weed will continue to grow until the first hard frost or freeze occurs in the fall. Field sandburs (grassburs) are generally not a problem in well maintained turfgrass areas. With proper fertilization, mowing and irrigation, you can produce a turf that is dense enough to prevent sandbur (grassbur)s from becoming a problem. However, if field sandburs (grassburs) do become a problem there are several effective herbicides that can be used to control this particular weed. The most effective and efficient method of control is to use a pre-emergent herbicide. Table 1 contains a list of the pre emergent herbicides that have sandburs (grassburs) listed as a weed that is controlled by the chemical in the herbicide. To be effective, these pre emergents need to be applied before weed seeds germinate — generally when the soil temperature (NOT the air temperature) reaches 52 degrees F. This usually occurs by March 15 in the central Texas area. In north Texas areas, apply the pre-emergent by April 1 and in southern areas of the state by March 1. Note: in south Texas and even in central Texas during mild winters the field sandbur plants will survive and act like a perennial weed. In these cases, a pre-emergent herbicide will not be effective in controlling these particular plants, but will work on any of the seeds that try to germinate. If a post-emergence herbicide such as MSMA or DSMA is used, wait until the day time temperatures are about 75 degrees F. for the products to be most effective. To insure complete control of germinating grass burrs in heavily infested areas, extend the residual of the herbicide barrier in the soil and thus extend the length of control period by making applications of the pre-emergent herbicide EVERY 6 WEEKS through September. In areas with a light infestation of grass burrs, two applications that are 6 weeks apart and after the initial application should control seed germination. As always, the pre-emergent application needs to be watered in thoroughly. Not applying enough water after application of a pre-emergent herbicide is one of the main reason for failure to effectively obtain control of the annual grassy weeds such as sandburs (grassburs). For post-emergent field sandbur (grassbur) control, use MSMA or DSMA. These products will do a good job of controlling the field sandbur (grassbur) when it is young. As the sandbur (grassbur) matures, it becomes more difficult to obtain effective control with MSMA or DSMA. A few years ago, I discovered that by mixing some Imazaquin ( Image ) with the MSMA you could enhance the control of field sandbur (grassbur). The rate for this mixture is 2.0 lbs. active ingredient per acre of MSMA plus .38 lbs. active ingredient per acre of Image. For example, if using Greenlight’s MSMA Crabgrass Killer use 2 Tbsp. per gallon of water and add Cyanamide’s Image at 6 Tbsp. per gallon of water. The gallon of spray should cover 1,000 square feet. Remember, MSMA cannot be used on St. Augustine or Centipede lawns. For these turfgrass areas, you will have to rely on the use of a pre-emergent herbicide. REMEMBER: A dense stand of healthy grass provides the best weed control. Because most weeds are “opportunists” that invade weakened lawns, the fight against weeds starts with good management. All cultural practices such as mowing, fertilizing and watering should be done in a manner and time that will favor the grass rather than the weeds. Height of mowing influences competition against weeds such as crabgrass – the higher the cut, the lower the infestation. Frequent light sprinkling encourages shallow-rooted weeds and seed germination. Less frequent “deep-soak” watering that maintains a dry surface layer provides the grass with a competitive advantage. Temperature, light, soil moisture and other factors determine the time and extent of weed germination and development. Some weeds germinate in early spring while others sprout in summer or fall. If conditions are favorable, a weed may be particularly abundant in a given year, but under different conditions the next year, it may be little in evidence.
Herbicide application Although most herbicides are formulated with reliable safety factors, application rates higher than those recommended may cause injury to turf and other ornamental plants. Many people over apply herbicides, especially when using fertilizer-herbicide combinations. The user needs to follow instructions on containers carefully to avoid overdoses. before weeds sprout from seeds. Apply two to four weeks ahead of germination. Less effective control may be expected if applied more than a month before germination. Applications should not be made until excess lawn clippings and leaf litter are removed. Irrigating immediately after application will help move materials down to the soil. after weeds appear. Liquid sprays are more effective than dry materials, especially on hard-to-kill weeds. Apply post-emergence materials when weeds are growing vigorously. Tough old weeds are hard to kill, and if mature seeds are already formed, the lawn is likely to be infested again next year. Amine forms are safest because they give off fewer vapors that might damage other plants. Volatile ester formulations should not be used around ornamental plants. Select a time when winds are calm to prevent spray drift. Using wax bars or granules impregnated with herbicides near ornamentals will minimize such hazards. Fertilizer-herbicide combinations are extremely popular because they combine two operations. Combinations with pre-emergence chemicals are generally effective since both the fertilizer and herbicide action are dependent on contact with the soil. Post-emergence herbicide action depends more on absorption by leaves, and granules in such combinations do not adhere well to smooth-surfaced leaves. They will stick better if applied when weed leaves are damp. “Weed and feed” materials present a conflict in desirable actions. Proper time for weed control often does not coincide with the most desirable time and rates for fertilizing. If used for follow-up fertilizations, there is danger of herbicide overdose. Equipment Fertilizer spreaders can be used for applying granular herbicides. Be sure to adjust the spreader to apply recommended rates. If possible, apply half the desired rate in one direction and the remaining half at right angles to the first application. A sprayer used for application of 2,4-D and related chemicals should not be used to spray garden or flower plants. Cleaning procedures are not always reliable. To be safe, have a separate sprayer for weed-killing purposes. Eliminating weeds is of little value unless enough desirable grass is present to fill in bare spots. A reseeding program deserves first consideration if the turf is so weak that it will not recover once weeds are eliminated. Study soil and other conditions to determine reasons for low vigor of the original turf.
Table 1. Pre-emergent Herbicides Labeled for Sandbur (grassbur) Control
Brand Name Common Chemical Name Company Name PreM Pendimethalin Lesco Amaze Grass & Weed Preventor Benefin/Oryzalin Green Light Surflan, A.S. Oryzalin Southern Ag. Weed & Grass Preventor Oryzalin Lilly Miller Weed Stoppere Oryzalin Lawn & Garden Products CLASSIFICATION Common Name: Southern Sandspur (Southern Sandbur) Grassbur Scientific Name: Cenchrus echinatus L. Family: Gramineae (Poaceae), Grass Family SEEDLING The blades are flat and like sandpaper on the upper surface (Plate: seedling ). The ligules are up to 1.6 mm long. The lower papery portion of the ligule is only 0.2 mm long and the fringe of hairs is up to 1.4 mm long. MATURE PLANT Southern Sandspur is an annual with ascending stem tips from the lower nodes which bend and root. The leaf sheaths are completely without hairs or can have long hairs along the margins. The blades lack hairs above and below, or can have long scattered hairs above. The seed heads are composed of spiny burs and are 3-14 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. The burs, excluding the spines, are 4.1-6.3 mm wide and 5.3-8.0 mm long to the tip of the spikelets. The spines are of two kinds: 1) flattened spines that are spread over the body of the bur and 2) fine slender bristle-like spines that are situated in a ring at the base of the bur. The seed heads appear throughout the year in the South and during the summer and fall in the North.
Stop Sticker Problems Now
Lawn burweed, spurweed, stickers, or piquants — the list goes on and on with names that most people call this lawn pest that will poke or stick uncovered feet later this spring. The weed most folks are talking about is called lawn burweed and also called stickerweed. This is a winter annual and a member of the aster family. This weed will usually germinate in the early fall months and remains very small and inconspicuous in the lawn during the winter. As temperatures warm in the spring, it begins a period of very rapid growth, flowering and forming a small spur or spine in the leaf axil junction.
The trick to eliminating the spiny sticker problem is to control the weed before the spur is formed. If you wait to control the weed after the spur is formed, you will kill the plant, but the spiny sticker will still be there waiting for unsuspecting bare feet or hands.
To control this weed in centipedegrass, St. Augustine-grass, zoysiagrass and in bermuda-grass lawns, several herbicides are recommended. The ideal time to apply is from December to March, preferably on days with temperatures of 60 degrees F or warmer. The earlier in the season you apply, the easier this weed is to control. It is usually too late to control this plant by mid-to-late April because the stickers have already formed by then.
Herbicides with lawn burweed activity:
- Atrazine – all southern lawns and dormant burmudagrass
- Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone
- Ortho Weed B Gon
- Metsulfuron – MSM Turf, Mansion, Top Shot and other trade names – apply when lawns are out of dormancy. Do not apply on lawns with a ryegrass overseed.
Two or more applications may be necessary. Always be cautious with these herbicides, even at low rates. Do not apply around the dripline of trees and do not use in flowerbeds. As temperatures warm up and other plants are coming out of dormancy be aware of and prevent spray drift to off-target plants and be especially cautious around vegetable gardens, and fruit trees.
Get the most from bermudagrass with sandbur control
Hay and forage growers and cattle producers looking to get the highest-quality hay from of their bermudagrass acres understand how important it is to have clean, weed-free fields at first cutting. When aggressive weeds infest pasture and rangeland, they severely compromise the quality and productivity of the bermudagrass.
Sandbur is often a threat to forage quality. It’s a hardy survivor that germinates throughout the season, competing with bermudagrass for sunlight and moisture. And its spiny seedhead is a hazard to horses and livestock, making sandbur control critical for commercial producers and growers. With reliable sandbur control, growers and producers can realize healthier stands, additional tonnage per acre and more marketable hay.
The difference between cow-quality hay and horse-quality hay hinges on pasture management. Effective control of sandbur helps growers and producers achieve the greatest profit potential from their acres.
A recently introduced product, DuPont Pastora® herbicide, controls sandbur and other profit-robbing weeds in bermudagrass acres. This helps growers and producers harvest higher-quality hay and see a maximum return on every acre.
“To produce premium, horse-quality hay, I have to control invasive grasses,” said Greg Mock, cattle producer and commercial applicator, Gainesville, Texas. “Pastora® got rid of 100 percent of the sandbur in my fields, and it surprised me by also suppressing many of the other invasive grasses that I had been struggling with, including crabgrass.”
Pastora® also offers flexible application options and enhanced crop safety. An application on dormant bermudagrass controls winter annual grasses and broadleaf weeds, while spring and summer applications control summer annual and perennial weeds. And Pastora® offers more bermudagrass tolerance than herbicides such as Plateau, giving growers the ability to choose the best approach for their fields.
“In the past, I used a low-rate application of glyphosate after the first cutting, which burned off the weeds, but sometimes harmed the bermudagrass,” continued Mock. “Pastora® provides selective, effective control of invasive grasses and is incredibly gentle on the crop.”
“Because Pastora® is so effective at controlling sandbur and other invasive weeds, we can produce pure, weed-free, horse-quality hay, which demands almost triple the price of cow-quality hay,” said Mock. “That makes Pastora® well worth the investment.”
DuPont Pastora® herbicide is not registered for sale or use in all states. See your local DuPont retailer or representative for details and availability in your state. Always read and follow all label directions.
The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont, The miracles of science and Pastora® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.
Plateau is a registered trademark of BASF.
Knowing What They Are
Dry states like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona you have probably had to deal with prickly stickers in your lawn from time to time. If so here are a few ways to get rid of grass burrs.
Also known as: Sandburrs, Grass Burrs, Sticker Burrs/Burr Stickers, Pricking Monsters, Lawn/Grass Stickers.
Generally, these are all referring to the same nasty weed. They thrive in the heat and are prominently found in Bermuda and St. Augustine lawns.
Ways to Get Rid of Grass Burrs
- They struggle with competition. If you have a healthy, thick, and prosperous lawn, the burrs have a hard time spreading. Burrs don’t like to be watered very much and they can’t stand healthy lawns. So keep your lawn watered regularly.
- Mow with a Bag and drop the height adjustment on your mower a few notches and give your lawn a short trimmed cut. Be sure to keep a bag on your mower. Mowing without a bag will spread the seeds faster and farther. For the first two weeks, mow a couple of times a week.
- Products called MSMA or Orange Oil, typically found in stores, are considered good herbicides. Apply it to your lawn as directed.
The best time to apply is between May and July. MSMA is not an Eco-Friendly product which means it may be harmful to animals and children. Sand Burrs are tough which means you have got to use the best to get rid of them. An Organic Week Killer some mention on this topic is Orange Oil, if you would prefer the organic option.
Recommended Products for Weeds:
Water Your Lawn Regularly
Keeping your lawn watered properly will go a long way to eliminating grass burrs. For North Texas lawns, we have created this guide to help keep a good watering schedule – click here for a Lawn Watering Guide
Even if you control and rid your lawn of all current grassburr plants, new plants will emerge next spring from the seed that are currently in the soil. Eliminating the grass burrs in your lawn will take some time. Helping your grass stay healthy in your lawn will help with this management effort. When a professional is needed in North Texas for lawn maintenance remember Ryno Lawn Care is here to assist you.
Grassbur control options reviewed
As frequent rainfall continues to replenish our soil profile with moisture, we can expect a very green spring across Texas this year. As temperatures warm, warm season grasses and weeds will come to life, including beautiful wildflowers. Unfortunately, along with the good, there will also be pesky weeds, including plants like the grassbur. It seems that the year following a drought, weeds are much more pronounced in our pastures, as thin grass stands allow weed seeds to germinate.
Field sandbur (grassbur) is a summer annual or perennial grassy weed that can be found in home lawns, sports fields, parks, along roadsides, and in improved Bermudagrass pastures and hay fields. This weed is especially adapted to dry, sandy soils but can be found growing in other types of soils as well.
The big problem with this weed is the sharp, spiny burs that are part of the inflorescence. The bur spines are stiff and can injure the mouths of animals and the hands and feet of people working in infested crops. Field sandburs (grassburs) generally start germinating in spring and continue to germinate until late summer or early fall and will continue to grow until the first hard frost or freeze occurs.
Until recently, few herbicide tools were available to help manage the grassbur in our Bermudagrass pastures. Now however, Prowl H2O, from BASF, has received a Supplemental label that will allow application to dormant Bermudagrass pastures and hay meadows for control of sandbur and other weed species (numerous annual grasses and small seeded broadleaf weeds), all of which are listed on the full label. This label will be in effect until December 2011.
The labeled rate for Prowl H20 on dormant Bermudagrass pastures and hay meadows is 1.1 to 4.2 quarts per acre. The higher rate is suggested for more dense infestations of targeted grasses and weeds or where a longer duration of residual weed control is desired. The timing for application is any time during winter dormancy and prior to weed germination. Ideally, activation of this herbicide is accomplished with 1 inch of precipitation following application.
Some additional restrictions apply, including: do not harvest Bermudagrass hay until 60 days after treatment, and do not harvest for forage or allow livestock to graze until 45 days after treatment. Prowl H20 can be used on all Bermudagrass varieties, but the stand must be established and have gone through at least one cutting before treatment. The use of Prowl H20 on rangeland is prohibited.
If you miss the opportunity to treat for grassburs when the Bermudagrass is dormant, another option might be available. Last year, EPA granted a crisis exemption for the use of Pastora herbicide, from DuPont, for control of emerged sandburs in Bermudagrass. Applications had to be made when the sandbur was less than 1.5 inches tall and/or across, and actively growing.
Moreover, applications of Pastora had to be made to Bermudagrass that was less than 4 inches tall following initial green-up in the spring or after cutting for hay. Tall, dense stands of Bermudagrass can intercept spray and reduce sandbur control. This application has not been approved for 2010; however, a request has been submitted to the EPA for another crisis exemption for this year, and DuPont hopes to receive a full federal label in the near future. At the date of this article, it is not legal to apply Pastora.
Pastora should not be applied to newly sprigged or newly planted Bermudagrass. Apply only to established Bermuda grass that is at least one year old. A follow-up application of Pastora may be necessary to control subsequent germination (flushes) of sandbur following the first application. To control sandbur species, apply Pastora herbicide at a broadcast rate of 1.0 to 1.5 ounces per acre.
No grazing or haying restrictions exist for this herbicide, and as always, read and follow all the label restrictions when utilizing this product. Again, this label has not been approved for 2010.
The control of grassbur in improved Bermuda grass pastures and hay meadows with herbicides should be part of an overall management plan that includes fertility management based on soil testing, adequate soil moisture, insect and rodent control along with best management agronomic practices.
Any references made to commercial products or trade names were made solely for educational purposes with the understanding that no endorsement or discrimination is implied by Texas AgriLife Extension Service or its agents.
3 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Sand Burs in the Yard
Are sand bur weeds invading your yard? Try using these three natural control methods to get rid of the sand burs without resorting to harmful chemicals.
How to Get Rid of Sand Burs
1. Pull the Sand Burs out with a Weeder
You will never truly get rid of garden weeds until you have dealt with their root systems. A weeder is a great way to remove sand burs without breaking your back.
Get a stand-up weeder, such as the TACKLIFE weeder, and pull the sand burs out one by one. The TACKLIFE weeder has an ergonomically-designed handle to reduce wrist fatigue.
2. Use the Soil Solarization Method
If the sand bur invasion is out of control then you may need to resort to the soil solarization method. It takes a long time (a couple of weeks at minimum) but it is an effective way of killing garden weeds via the use of heat.
Use a weeder to get rid of as many sand burs as possible then place a clear plastic sheet over the area. Dig small trenches along the side to seal the plastic sheet to the ground. The heat from the sun will pass through the plastic sheet then get trapped underneath it. The sand burs will eventually die due to the intense heat.
3. Get rid of their Food Source
This is another natural weed control method that’ll take time. Remove the weed’s food source by cutting off the top of the plant while leaving the roots untouched. No green leaves = no photosynthesis = roots will eventually die due to lack of food.
Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.
If you live in a dry state like Texas, Arizona, or Utah, you have probably had the delight of dealing with prickly stickers in your lawn from time to time. If you have fallen victim to thorny stickers taking over your lawn, here are a few ways to get rid of them.
First, What are they called?
If you are wanting to further your research from this blog, knowing what to call these little devils is a great place to start. A few hours of research made me realize they come with many titles. Some are listed below:
- Sand Burrs/Sandburs
- Grass Burrs
- Sticker Burrs/Burr Stickers
- Pricking Monsters
- Lawn/Grass Stickers
Things you should know about Sand Burrs
- They struggle with competition. If you have a healthy, thick, and prosperous lawn, the burrs have a hard time spreading. They don’t like to be watered very much and they can’t stand healthy lawns. So set your Orbit Sprinkler Timer to run the sprinklers at least once a day. Get your grass growing! The burrs will hate it!
- The thorns, or burrs, are the seeds. If you have pets tramping all around your yard carrying the seeds from one area to another, they are literally spreading the mayhem. Keep the pricklies/seeds controlled as best you can.
- Their roots do not go very deep.If your lawn is not completely overrun just yet, take the time to pick the sand burrs by hand. They come out really easy.
Finally, How to Get Rid of the Nasty Grass Burrs
I’ve done the research and the following is the order in which you should carry out your exterminating efforts.
- Mow your lawn super short. Drop the height adjustment on your mower a few notches and give your lawn a military haircut. MAKE SURE TO HAVE A BAG ON YOUR MOWER. If you mow without a bag you will spread the fire like crazy.
- For the first two weeks, mow once every 3 days
- Don’t forget to have a bag attached to your mower
- Bring out the Big Guns. Lowe’s carries a product called MSMA. It is supposed to be the best. Apply it to your lawn as directed.
- The best time to apply it is between May and July. If it’s well into August and you are desperate, give it a shot!
- MSMA is not an Eco-Friendly product which means it may be harmful to animals and children. Sand Burrs are tough which means you have got to use the best to get rid of them. Go on vacation and apply MSMA before you leave so it can do its thing while you, your family, and your dog are away.
- An Organic Week Killer some mention on this topic is Orange Oil. If you’re insistent on going organic, that’s a place to start.
- Fertilize. Remember how Sand Burrs don’t do well with competition? Once you have finished the herbicide cycle, fertilize the heck out of your lawn. Applying it once then again in 7-14 days.
- Keep Mowing Consistently and Frequently. Mow religiously and you won’t give those evil stickers a chance.