Sandburs (Cenchrus echinatus) are summer annual weeds that infest lawns, sports fields, parks and unsuspecting feet throughout the South. Germination begins in late spring and continues through the summer and early fall months.
Sandburs continue growing until the first hard freeze knocks them out for the winter.
How to Identify Sandburs
Take off your shoes and socks and walk through your yard. If you begin to scream-out in piercing pain, chances are, you’ve got a sticker situation. Sandburs are easy to identify by the prickly pods on the end of the shoots. Don’t touch.
Getting Rid of Stickers
One sandbur in the foot is enough. TIme to get rid of these things. As with most weeds, the best defense is a good offense. A well-maintained lawn will generally win the war over weeds. That doesn’t mean you won’t have battles, but if you properly aerate, lime, fertilize and overseed your lawn, you’ll come out fine. But if you find yourself stuck with a sandbur problem, you should plan an attack that covers both pre- and post-emergent aspects of control.
Pre-emergent Control of Sandburs
Beginning in early Spring, make an application of Dithiopyr. This product will provide a very effective barrier against the germinating stickers and can take care of the majority of the issue. Dithiopyr also works as an early post-emergent solution as well. This means that, unlike most pre-emergent products, Dithiopyr will attack young sandbur plants. This one-two punch can combine for very good control.
Post-emergent control of Stickers
Once the sandburs emerge and toughen (ask your feet, they’ll tell you when), the best solution to ridding your property of sandburs is to use MSMA. When the temperature is above 70 degrees and below 93 degrees (you may need to get up early), make an application of MSMA at a rate of one ounce MSMA per gallon of water. This solution will treat 1,000 sq/ft. For effective control of stickers, crabgrass, dallisgrass and more, you’ll need to make two applications of MSMA about 15- 20 apart.
And When All Else Fails, Make Sandbur Wine
This is great. We haven’t tried this recipe, but if you have, drop us a line. Better yet, send us a bottle.