The Q&A Archives: Eliminate stickers

Question: I have a southern lawn that has terrible patches of stickers. What is the best way to get rid of these?

Answer: Field sandburs 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 sandburs from becoming a problem. However, if field sandburs 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. 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.

For post-emergent field sandbur control, use MSMA or DSMA. These products will do a good job of controlling the field sandbur when it is young. As the sandbur matures, it becomes more difficult to obtain effective control with MSMA or DSMA.

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.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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