How To Get Rid Of Sticker Burrs In Your Yard

How To Get Rid Of Sticker Burrs In Your Yard

How To Get Rid Of Sticker Burrs In Your Yard

Sticker burrs, also known as sandburs or grass burrs, can be a real nuisance in your yard. If left untreated, these prickly plants can quickly take over your grass, making it unpleasant to walk on and a nightmare to maintain. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to get rid of sticker burrs and reclaim your yard. In this article, we will explore these methods along with some useful tips and precautions to ensure successful sticker burrs eradication.


  • What are Sticker Burrs?

  • The Dangers of Sticker Burrs in Your Yard

  • How to Identify Sticker Burrs

  • Methods to Get Rid of Sticker Burrs

  • Tips for Preventing Sticker Burrs from Returning

  • FAQs

What are Sticker Burrs?

Sticker burrs are invasive weeds that belong to the grass family. They are characterized by their spiky seed heads that attach to clothing, fur, or skin upon contact. These burrs are equipped with small, sharp spines that can easily penetrate and irritate the skin. Sticker burrs typically grow close to the ground in warm, sandy soil and are prevalent in regions with hot climates.

The Dangers of Sticker Burrs in Your Yard

Having sticker burrs in your yard not only ruins the aesthetic appeal but also poses risks to both humans and pets. The spines of these burrs can cause painful wounds, skin irritation, and allergic reactions. Moreover, if left uncontrolled, sticker burrs can multiply rapidly and choke out desirable grass, flowers, and other plants in your yard. Taking prompt action to eliminate these prickly intruders is essential to maintain a safe and beautiful outdoor space.

How to Identify Sticker Burrs

Identifying sticker burrs is crucial to ensure effective eradication. Here are some key characteristics to help you identify these pesky plants:

  1. Spiky Seed Heads: The most distinctive feature of sticker burrs is their spherical seed heads covered in tiny spines. These seed heads are typically green in the early stages and turn brown as they mature.
  2. Low-Growing Habit: Sticker burrs have a prostrate growth habit, meaning they grow close to the ground rather than vertically like grass or other plants.
  3. Narrow Leaves: The leaves of sticker burrs are narrow, often spiky, and arranged in alternating patterns along the stem.
  4. Sandpaper-Like Texture: When touched, sticker burrs feel rough and abrasive due to the presence of minute spines or burrs on the leaves and stems.

By familiarizing yourself with these characteristics, you will be able to spot and distinguish sticker burrs from other plants in your yard.

Methods to Get Rid of Sticker Burrs

Now that you know what sticker burrs are and how to identify them, let’s dive into the most effective methods to eliminate them from your yard:

1. Manual Removal

The first and simplest method to tackle sticker burrs is to remove them manually. This method is most effective when dealing with a small area infested with burrs. To manually remove sticker burrs:

  • Put on protective gloves and long sleeves to prevent the burrs from pricking your skin.
  • Identify the plants to be removed and carefully grip their bases near the soil surface.
  • Gently pull the plants out, making sure to remove the entire root system.
  • Place the pulled burrs in a garbage bag or dispose of them immediately to prevent them from reseeding.

Remember to dispose of the sticker burrs properly and avoid contact with skin or clothing while removing them.

2. Mowing and Trimming

Mowing and trimming your yard regularly can help control the spread of sticker burrs. By keeping your grass at an appropriate height, you can minimize the chances of burrs germinating and maturing. Set your mower blade at the recommended height for your grass type and make sure to trim the edges and hard-to-reach areas where sticker burrs tend to thrive.

3. Chemical Control

If manual removal and mowing alone are insufficient to get rid of sticker burrs, you may need to resort to chemical control methods. Herbicides specifically formulated for broadleaf weed control can effectively eliminate sticker burrs while sparing your desirable vegetation. Before using any herbicide, read the instructions carefully and follow the recommended application rates. It is advisable to choose selective herbicides that target broadleaf weeds, as they will have less impact on your grass.

Apply the herbicide either as a spray or granules, targeting the affected areas. Take care to avoid spraying the herbicide on desirable plants, as it can cause damage. If unsure about the right herbicide or application method for your yard, consider consulting a professional lawn care service.

4. Soil Amendments

Improving the overall health and fertility of your soil is an effective long-term strategy to prevent sticker burrs from establishing themselves. By maintaining proper soil pH, nutrient levels, and drainage, you can create unfavorable conditions for these weeds to thrive. Conduct a soil test to determine if any amendments, such as lime or organic matter, are needed. Additionally, consider overseeding your lawn with grass varieties known for their ability to outcompete invasive plants.

5. Biological Control

In some cases, introducing natural enemies of sticker burrs can be an alternative method for controlling their population. Biological control methods involve the release of insects or other organisms that feed on the target weed. However, these methods require careful consideration and expert advice to prevent unintended consequences on the ecosystem. Seek guidance from local agricultural extension services or professionals before attempting biological control measures.

Tips for Preventing Sticker Burrs from Returning

While eliminating sticker burrs from your yard is essential, it is equally important to prevent their reestablishment. Here are some tips to keep your yard sticker burr-free:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Lawn: A well-maintained lawn with proper mowing, watering, and fertilization practices can help crowd out sticker burrs and prevent their growth.
  2. Regular Inspections: Routinely inspect your yard for any signs of sticker burr growth. Early detection can make it easier to remove them before they become a major problem.
  3. Proper Irrigation: Avoid overwatering your lawn, as excessive moisture can favor the germination and growth of sticker burrs.
  4. Avoid Overgrazing: If you have livestock grazing in your yard, make sure to manage their grazing area properly. Overgrazing can create bare spots, which provide ideal conditions for sticker burrs to proliferate.
  5. Regular Lawn Care: Implement a consistent lawn care routine that includes proper fertilization, aeration, and reseeding to maintain a dense, healthy turf.

Following these preventive measures will significantly reduce the chances of sticker burrs returning to your yard.


Q: Are sticker burrs harmful to pets?

A: Yes, sticker burrs can harm pets. The spines on the burrs can stick to their fur and penetrate the skin, causing discomfort, irritation, and potential infection. It is important to remove any burrs from your pets immediately and consider protecting them by keeping them away from infested areas.

Q: Can I compost sticker burrs?

A: It is generally not recommended to compost sticker burrs. The seeds of these weeds can survive the composting process and potentially reestablish in your garden or lawn. It is safest to discard sticker burrs in sealed bags or burn them if allowed in your area.

Q: How long does it take to get rid of sticker burrs using chemical control?

A: The effectiveness of chemical control methods depends on various factors, including the type of herbicide used, application rate, and the stage of growth of the sticker burrs. In general, it may take a few weeks to notice a significant reduction in the burr population, and repeated applications may be necessary for complete eradication.

Q: Can I use vinegar to kill sticker burrs?

A: While vinegar is known for its weed-killing properties, it may not be effective against well-established sticker burrs. Vinegar is more suitable for controlling young, tender weeds. For mature sticker burrs, a selective herbicide or alternative methods mentioned earlier are more likely to yield better results.

Q: Can I prevent sticker burrs by using a pre-emergent herbicide?

A: Yes, using a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring or fall can help prevent sticker burrs by inhibiting the germination of their seeds. However, timing and proper application are crucial for the herbicide to be effective. Consult the product’s label or seek professional advice to ensure the correct application and timing for your specific situation.

Closing Thoughts

Sticker burrs can quickly turn a beautiful yard into a prickly nightmare. By taking proactive measures and employing the methods discussed in this article, you can successfully eliminate sticker burrs and prevent their return. Remember to follow safety precautions when handling sticker burrs, use appropriate methods for removal, and consider professional assistance if needed. With persistence and proper maintenance, you can regain control of your yard and enjoy a burr-free outdoor space for years to come.

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