UACES Facebook Spurweed


May 28, 2016

QuestionWhat is this that's got into about one third of my south side lawn and what will kill it?

 Picture of spurweed

AnswerIt is a winter annual weed called spurweed. We had a bumper crop of winter weeds this year that started early and stayed late!  They should be dying out soon.  The problem with this weed is that the seeds that are formed to replenish it next fall are stickers, making it painful to walk on in bare feet or for dogs to walk on.  Pre-emergent controls next fall can help prevent it, but also look for signs of it in December and January, and spray with a 2,4-D product to kill it before it blooms and sets stickers next year. There is nothing to do this late, except try to rake it up or get the grass to grow enough to buffer the stickers. 


February , 2016

QuestionMy yard is absolutely covered in spurweed this year.  I want to kill it before it forms the stickers.  My question is what can you use to kill out spur weed and not hurt your grass? What works and when do you use it? Does round-up work and if it does what mixture? The grasses that are growing is mixed and mainly Bermuda. Your help with this would be greatly appreciated.


AnswerSpurweed will be blooming and setting the seed (sticker) soon.  If your Bermuda is TOTALLY dormant, a light spray of Round-up will work. Round-up is only recommended for dormant Bermuda. Zoysia grass often has some green at the base, and a heavy spray can do damage to the lawn. You can also use a broadleaf herbicide to kill the weeds without damaging the lawn, but I would do so soon.  


December 2012

QuestionWith the crazy weather we have had this year, we have a yard full of stickers. Don't remember ever seeing them this time of the year. Would it be ok to spray them now? If yes, what would you recommend?

 AnswerThe sticker weeds are normally here this time of year, but this year they are growing faster than normal. The sticker weed is called spurweed and it germinates in the fall, grows all winter and dies in late spring. If you already have stickers, then it is definitely ahead of schedule, since the stickers are the seeds that are produced after it blooms. Pick a mild day with little wind and spray with a broadleaf herbicide containing 2, 4-D. You don’t have to spray the entire yard, just where the weeds are. Luckily it is an annual weed, and if you can kill it before too many seeds have set it will reduce the population for next year, but if allowed to grow unchecked, you will have more and more stickers each year.

May 2012

QuestionI'm hoping you can help me with a problem we are having with our grass! We live out in the country in the middle of a field. We have always had several varieties of different grasses in our "yard". However, this year, what grass we have seems to have been taken over by stickers! The "grass" which is now mostly stickers is all brown and crunchy. We have lots of little white blooms of some kind (I'm assuming they are the seeds of the sticker "grass") all over our yard. Can you offer any advice as to what we can do to kill these things and save our grass? We can't even walk the dog without him getting them stuck in his paws!! Where could they have come from? Our yard is about an acre in size.

 AnswerWeeds of all kinds seem to be more prolific this year. The weed that produces the tiny sticker is called spurweed. I doubt you still have any blooms on it, because they were out most of the winter and are dying now. The sticker is the seed of the plant. Spurweed germinates in the fall, producing a ground-hugging plant with small parsley-like leaves. It does have a tiny white flower and then the seeds are produced which have stickers. It is a winter annual which dies back in the spring/early summer. The seeds will germinate in the fall and start all over again. A few this year, become a lot more each subsequent year if you don’t do something. For now, fertilize the grass (and water when dry) to get it high enough to buffer the seeds/stickers, so you and the dogs can walk. Next
fall, either use a pre-emergent herbicide, or spray with a post-emergent herbicide with 2,4-D in it between December and February to kill the weeds before they set more seeds next spring.


QuestionI missed the chance to apply a pre-emergent herbicide this October to kill spurweed. Are there any 2.4-D combination products that are safe to use on Centipede grass? I've got Centipede and Bermuda in the problem area. If so, I understand you use it December thru March, at a time when temperatures exceed 55 degrees. Do you agree?

 AnswerSpurweed ( Soliva pterosperma), also called lawn burweed, stickerweed, and sandbur has become quite a nuisance in many lawns and I am happy you are preparing to kill it way before bloom time and then seed (sticker) set. There are numerous formulations of two and three-way mixes of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP. Make sure you read the label before purchasing that they are safe for Southern grasses. Many will give reduced rates of application for Centipede and St. Augustine. You do want a fairly, calm sunny day with temperatures above 55 for best application and control. Spray once and then monitor your weed population and you may need to reapply two weeks later.

February 2008

QuestionMy good friend does have serious problems with sand spurs. I told her that I thought you said you have to treat for sand spurs in the fall of the year, but that was about all I remember. Can you give us guidance on how to rid her yard of sand spurs? I have stepped on them before and I hate them.

 Answer I think you are referring to spurweed. This is the winter annual weed that is very low growing. It grows in the fall and winter, blooms with tiny white flowers in late winter to early spring, then sets the seed which is the noxious sticker. Sand spur is a summer weed which grows on a taller grassy plant with larger stickers. This is the season to control spurweed. By now, the weed should have germinated. Look closely at your lawn and if you have what looks like miniature parsley growing, spray with a broadleaf weed killer with 2, 4-D. If you can kill the weed before it blooms and sets the stickers, you should be in good shape.

November 2009

QuestionI need to know when to apply pre-emergent to kill sticker weeds. The yard has gotten so bad when you come in the bottom of your shoes have stickers and the poor dog hates to go outside to relieve herself. Also, what should I use?

 AnswerI am glad you are asking now instead of spring when the stickers set. It is too late for a pre-emergent herbicide, but you can watch for the low parsley-like weed later this month or December and spray with a 2,4-D herbicide. The spurweed is a winter annual and germinates in the fall, grows all winter, blooms with tiny white flowers in late winter to early spring, then sets its seeds which are those noxious stickers before it dies for the season. Spraying in December, January or early February should do the trick.

September 2006

QuestionI'm on the Property Owners Association Board for a neighborhood in west Little Rock. In the past couple of years, we've noticed an invasion of what I think is spur weed- stickers, in our play ground and beach area. What chemical spray and procedure should we use this fall and in the future to get rid of these terrible nuisances?

 Answer You actually have two options. You can use a pre-emergent herbicide in mid October to mid November or you can wait for the weeds to germinate and then easily kill them with a broad leaf herbicide such as 2-4 D. The key is to make the application early enough in the winter season to prevent seed set. The seeds on spurweed are the stickers, and once formed you can't get rid of them until the next season. Spray the post-emergent spray of 2, 4-D in January or February. As with any pesticides used around children or pets, read and follow all label directions for any precautions.

QuestionHELP!! About 2 weeks ago, I put out 3- 40 lb bags of Weed and Feed. It said it would kill henbit and sandburs and other weeds. Unfortunately, I did not save a bag to see exactly what all it said. Now my weeds are so beautiful and green and nothing is dead or dying. They look healthier than ever. The last two years the weeds have gotten worse and worse and I have got to nip them in the bud. But this has backfired and I have spent a lot of money and still have weeds. I saved an article out of the paper from last year from a lady who battled henbit, (even picked it all out by hand) and your advice to her was to put this stuff out in January, (which I did). I now have green weeds and nothing dying. I am beginning to not care if I have a lawn, just so I don't have weeds. I have partly St. Augustine, which in one part of lawn is so thick; I don't have a problem with weeds. In another part of the lawn there is a mixture of Bermuda and St. Augustine -- that is where the weeds are taking over. I live in the middle of a pasture on 137 acres. Years ago, when we had cows, we sprigged a hybrid Bermuda grass called Alicia. It is great for cows and hay but not for flowers or gardening. It grows 12 foot long runners and when you fertilize your flowers or garden, the Alicia grass just goes wild. So I have mostly gone to shrubs and trees around my house because I like to do other things besides battle grass. The only thing to tame the Bermuda is Round-up. Is that what I must resort to for killing the weeds?

 AnswerI wish you still had the bag. Many weed and feed products are a pre-emergent herbicide coupled with fertilizer. Pre-emergent herbicides are used to prevent weeds from germinating not kill those already growing. The product you applied can prevent your summer weeds -- which include sandburs and crabgrass, but won't have any impact on those winter weeds which are already growing. To prevent winter weeds you must use a PRE-emergent in November. As you noticed, you may have actually helped the winter weeds grow with that "feed" portion, which is fertilizer. For now, you can use a product containing 2,4- D -- Trimec is one such product but there are many other brand names. Look for a broad leaf weed KILLER not PREVENTOR. Be sure you find a product that says it is safe to use on St. Augustine. There is nothing that would kill Bermuda without also killing the St. Augustine. Bermuda is a much tougher lawn than St. Augustine, and if you have sun, you may want to convert—giving yourself a weed free zone of mulch between lawn and flower beds. Good luck!

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