Last Updated on June 16, 2023 by Grow with Bovees
Stickers, grass burrs, sand burrs—or whatever other names they go under—are unquestionably among the most annoying things that can afflict an otherwise blemish-free lawn or yard.
Though non-toxic, stickers are a danger to bare feet and curious pets alike. In fact, they can play havoc with all your outdoor plans.
If you live in a dry state like Texas, then sticker weeds are something you’re going to have to deal with. But before we can get down to the business of how to get rid of stickers in yard and do away with these unwanted intruders, we need to know some basic information about the enemy.
Some Quick Fixes For Stickers and Grass Burrs;
What Are These Stickers in My Yard?
Stickers or sticker weed come from burweed or sandbur—a lateral and low-growing grass like weed. These sand burrs germinate early in the fall and die sometime in spring. The seeds of sticker weeds go on to become stickers during spring.
Sticker weeds grow well and thrive best in heat and are prominently found especially in bermuda grass and St. Augustine lawns.
Grass stickers come in a variety of different forms and go by as many names but are all part of the same nasty weed family. Let’s list a few of these aliases, shall we, to make sure we’re reading from the same page.
- Sand Burrs.
- Lawn Burrs.
- Grass Stickers.
- Grass Burrs.
- Sticker Burrs.
- Sticker Weeds.
- Pricking Monsters.
But regardless of the appellation, the above group of nasty grass burrs is much the same thing. The annoying, prickly, even painful thing on your lawn that prevents you and your family from enjoying the grass on your bare feet.
Not to mention what grass stickers are capable of doing to clothing.
How To Get Rid of Stickers or Sand Burrs
Your mind’s made up. It’s you or the stickers. The stickers have to be gotten rid of and there are a few ways of doing this. But how exactly do you go about such a thing?
Your instinct might be to reach for the hard stuff: The chemical-based weed killer. However, that is not always children or pet safe, so it might not always be advisable. Let’s take a look at the range of options available to you for removing this nasty weed.
Unfortunately, once you have identified the invading army, there is only one way you can clear your lawn, and that is by manually removing the stickers. You can do this either by hand or by using a rake, which is tedious and time-consuming—but at this stage, you have very little choice.
Once the lawn is clear, there are a number of measures you can take to prevent the grass bur from spreading or even coming back.
Mowing the Lawn
If you have stickers, now’s the time to get rid of excess lawn grass by mowing. And make sure you mow your lawn super short by dropping your mower height down a few notches — assuming your mower comes with height adjustment — giving your lawn what would resemble a military haircut.
It’s vital, however, that you mow with a bag attached to your mower—or even dragging an old carpet behind the mower—to prevent the spread of sticker grass seeds to all four corners of your lawn or yard.
This process should be repeated two or three times a week for the first couple of weeks of spring when the sticker weeds are at their most invasive. Be sure to collect all clippings in a trash bag and dispose of them at a municipal dump site.
Chemical Control Kills Stickers
There are essentially two options available to you in the chemical control department regarding how to get rid of stickers.
1. Post Emergent: Applying Herbicides Such As MSMA.
Using a herbicide to remove stickers isn’t for everyone. For the most part, they are not an eco-friendly product and are dangerous to pets and kids. But if your situation is drastic, and you pick your time to coincide with a vacation, spraying herbicides like MSMA can be very effective if you want to completely kill stickers in lawns.
Apply MSMA in that same spring to summer period, between the months of May and July.
This product called MSMA — as well as most herbicides — should be applied after winter when the soil has fully thawed. This will ensure maximum effect.
After you apply MSMA and complete the herbicide cycle, add loads of fertilizer to your soil so that there is no competition against your grass.
2. The Pre-Emergent: Preventative Approach
If you want to prevent weed growth and the likelihood of stickers showing up altogether, you could take the pre-emergent weed and feed approach.
Pre-emergence weed killers are usually part of an annual campaign to combat plant pests. When you apply pre emergent herbicide to weeds, the general idea is that the chemicals start to kill off weeds before they have the chance to take hold. To attack them at the root before they get the chance to form new plants, so to speak.
Weather conditions and time of year you apply weed and feed, (usually February or March) are all important with this preemptive approach, but the beauty of this method is that the chemical composition only targets infant root systems and not well-established ones, meaning your plants and weeds that are already there have nothing to fear.
Good news for biennial weeds such as dandelions.
Are There Safer More Eco-Friendly Methods?
Fortunately, for the herbicide averse among you, there are a couple of less environmentally damaging and safer options to help you get rid of grass burrs in your yard naturally, without having to worry that it will poison your children, dog or other animals.
1. Cultural Control: A Hostile Healthy Environment
Stickers don’t like competition. In particular, the kind of competition that comes from having a thick healthy and luscious lawn to contend with, gives the burr seed a hard time spreading.
Believe it or not, a lawn in rude health stops these intruders from spreading. It stifles them. Stickers can, in fact, not stand healthy lawns, so it is a good idea to do good lawn care and work on keeping your lawn healthy if you do not wish to deal with prickly stickers.
Moreover, they don’t like to be watered—a key ingredient of a healthy lawn.
So take the fight against the pesky stickers by encouraging your lawn to grow and maintaining a healthy environment that is hostile to its enemies. Even if this means using fertilizers to stimulate growth and upholding a prosperous lawn.
If it comes down to the survival of the fittest, it’s almost certainly not going to be the grass burrs that make it.
2. White Vinegar
If the herbicide option is a non-starter for you, then white vinegar might be a godsend in your battle to get rid of the grass bur on your lawn.
The naturally present acidic elements within white vinegar are a poison to the stickers and can stop them dead in their tracks. Simply spray the vinegar directly on your enemies, daily if necessary, until you get rid of them.
It is worth remembering, however, that though perfectly natural, white vinegar can be harmful to lawn grass too. So the idea is not to miss with that spray gun of yours.
You can add orange oil to vinegar, say 2 ounces (75.6 g) to every gallon, to further boost its effectiveness.
Once you’ve got rid of stickers, you would do well to make sure they never come back. Frequent mowing is an effective form of prevention, so it’s a good idea to make it a regular part of your year-round lawn maintenance routine.
Also, catching the seeds before they have time to germinate is a good idea. Try dragging some old carpeting behind you on a mower or tractor. It might look odd, but it does wonders in reducing the chances of having stickers and grass burrs next year.
It’s also a pretty entertaining spectacle for children and pets, so it’s worth a try, even if only for the fun value alone.
A Final Word
To get rid of sticker burrs and sand burrs on your lawn requires you to be forever vigilant and decisive when the time comes to act.
The aim of this article is to better prepare you on both counts, so that stickers and grass burs can never take hold of your precious yard again.
Practice good lawn care and mow regularly. This way, you won’t give the burr seeds a chance to spread in your yard.
That’s good information for bare feet and pets alike.