Stop Sticker Problems Now

Keith Fontenot, Strahan, Ronald E.  |  5/22/2017 3:11:04 PM

Here we are pointing to the leaf axil, showing where the bur or spine will develop.

Lawn burweed is a low-growing, spreading-type weed. It is actively growing in the dormant St. Augustine grass. Once this weed flowers, the spines will develop very quickly.

lawnburweedburthatbecomesstickerLawn burweed, spurweed, stickers, or piquants -- the list goes on and on with names that most people call this lawn pest that will poke or stick uncovered feet later this spring. The weed most folks are talking about is called lawn burweed and also called stickerweed. This is a winter annual and a member of the aster family. This weed will usually germinate in the early fall months and remains very small and inconspicuous in the lawn during the winter. As temperatures warm in the spring, it begins a period of very rapid growth, flowering and forming a small spur or spine in the leaf axil junction.

The trick to eliminating the spiny sticker problem is to control the weed before the spur is formed. If you wait to control the weed after the spur is formed, you will kill the plant, but the spiny sticker will still be there waiting for unsuspecting bare feet or hands.

To control this weed in centipedegrass, St. Augustine-grass, zoysiagrass and in bermuda-grass lawns, several herbicides are recommended. The ideal time to apply is from December to March, preferably on days with temperatures of 60 degrees F or warmer. The earlier in the season you apply, the easier this weed is to control. It is usually too late to control this plant by mid-to-late April because the stickers have already formed by then.

Herbicides with lawn burweed activity:lawnburweedpic2

  • Atrazine - all southern lawns and dormant burmudagrass
  • Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone
  • Ortho Weed B Gon
  • Metsulfuron - MSM Turf, Mansion, Top Shot and other trade names – apply when lawns are out of dormancy. Do not apply on lawns with a ryegrass overseed.

Two or more applications may be necessary. Always be cautious with these herbicides, even at low rates. Do not apply around the dripline of trees and do not use in flowerbeds. As temperatures warm up and other plants are coming out of dormancy be aware of and prevent spray drift to off-target plants and be especially cautious around vegetable gardens, and fruit trees.

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