The Q&A Archives: sticker plants

Question: My lawn is slowly getting taken over by stickers. I have tried every kind of weed killer and it does not work. Is there something else i can use?

Answer: Stickers, piquants, burweed; 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 and summer. The weed most folks are talking about is called lawn burweed and is also called, spurweed, sanbur and stickerweed. This winter annual is a member of the aster family. This weed will usually germinate in the early fall and remains small and inconspicuous in the lawn over the winter. As temperatures rise in the spring, it begins 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 St. Augustine grass and in bermuda grass lawns (that have not been overseeded with a cool-season grass), several herbicides are recommended. Labeled herbicides and rates for control include: Atrazine : 1.5 oz. / gal. water per 1000 sq. ft. Weed B Gone: 3 oz. / gal water per 1000sq. ft. Ferti Lome Weed Free Zone: 1.5 oz./ gal. water per 1000 sq. ft. 2,4D: 1.5 oz./gal. water per 1000 sq ft. Bayer Advanced Southern Weed killer: 2 oz. /gal. water per 1000 sq ft. Trimec: 2 oz. /gal. water per 1000 sq. ft. Spectracide Weedstop 2: 2oz./gal. water per 1000 sq. ft. Two applications are usually necessary; make the second application about 10 days after the first.

The ideal time to apply is from December to February, preferably on days with temperatures of 60 degrees F or higher. The earlier in the season you apply, usually the easier this weed is to control.

Always be cautious with these herbicides, even at these low rates. Do not apply around the dripline of trees, and do not use in flowerbeds. As temperatures rise and other plants are coming out of dormancy, be aware of and prevent drift of spray to off-target plants, and be especially cautious around vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

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