To get rid of all the stickers in your yard, begin by applying a pre-emergent fertilizer in the fall. This will prevent new stickers from growing, since these weeds are winter annuals that sprout in fall. After applying pre-emergent, spray a lawn-safe weed killer on any sticker plants that you find in your yard during fall and winter. In spring, uproot any stickers that have survived this treatment. To prevent stickers from returning, fertilize your lawn to promote thick grass growth. If stickers are growing in your yard in spring or summer, mow the lawn with a bagging mower to collect the sticker burrs and dispose of them.
- What Type of Weeds Have Stickers?
- 5 Steps to Get Rid of Stickers in Your Yard Permanently
- How to Get Rid of Burweed in Your Yard
What Type of Weeds Have Stickers?
Stickers are the spiky seeds of several species of burweed. Most plants that produce stickers are winter annuals. This means they sprout in fall, grow throughout the winter in temperate regions, and then drop their “stickers” in late spring, when the plant naturally dies. These stickers then lie dormant until fall, when they sprout to produce a new crop of burweed.
- Stickers are produced by species of plants known collectively as burweeds.
- The stickers are actually the seeds of these plants.
- Most burweed species are winter annuals that sprout in fall, then die off and drop their seeds in spring.
- Selective herbicide that attacks broadleaf plants can kill burweed in your lawn.
Luckily, stickers are produced by broadleaf weeds. This means that if you have stickers in your grass, you can spray a lawn-safe broadleaf weed killer. As long as you use a product that is safe for the type of grass you are growing, it will kill the weeds without harming your lawn.
5 Steps to Get Rid of Stickers in Your Yard Permanently
Sticker weeds can turn a beautiful lawn into a hassle. Stepping on stickers can be painful. Plus, grass burrs easily get tangled in your pets’ hair. In order to keep these pest plants out of your healthy lawn, follow our five-step solution.
Apply Fall Pre-Emergent
To stop the lifecycle of sticker burrs growing in your lawn, begin by spreading pre-emergent herbicide on your grass. This herbicide treatment will stop the grass burrs in your yard from sprouting, which means far fewer weeds going forward. Timing your fall pre-emergent application is essential to get the best results and stop the most weeds. Follow our guide to timing your pre-emergent weed killer, to be sure you have success.
- Spread this powerful pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the fall to stop sticker weeds from sprouting.
- Use a lawn spreader designed for spreading grass seed to spread pre-emergent granules.
- Follow instructions on the pre-emergent packaging for application rates and other directions.
Pre-emergent works by entering the soil and lingering there for weeks or months. During this time, any seed that attempts to sprout will die as soon as it germinates. This application will stop all weeds and pest grasses from sprouting in your lawn in the fall, so you can stop poa annua and other winter weeds at the same time you kill off burweed. We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Spray Herbicide in Winter
Because sticker weeds sprout in fall, winter is the best time to attack these plants. If winter temperatures get low enough that your grass turns brown and enters dormancy, sticker plants and other weeds will remain green, which makes them easy to spot in your yard. As an added bonus, dormant grass can’t be killed by non-selective herbicide sprays. So, you can spray Roundup on the sticker weeds in your yard as long as the grass is brown. It will kill the weeds but won’t harm your dormant grass.
- Sticker weeds begin growing in fall and winter, so it’s best to attack them at this time, while they’re still fragile.
- If your grass turns brown and goes dormant in winter, spray this Roundup product on the burweed stickers and other green weeds in your grass.
- Do not spray Roundup on green grass—it will kill any green grass it comes in contact with.
- If your grass is green in winter, use a broadleaf weed killer spray that is safe for use on your lawn grass species. This will kill stickers but won’t harm your lawn.
If your grass does not enter dormancy in winter, but you have sticker weeds, you can still attack them with a selective herbicide designed to kill broadleaf weeds. There are several herbicides that will kill sticker weeds but won’t harm grass. However, these herbicides are not one-size-fits-all. A weed killer spray that is safe for one grass species may harm the grass in another lawn. So, it’s best to consult an expert at a lawn and garden store. Tell them that you are working to kill broadleaf weeds and let them know what species of grass is growing in your yard. They can help you pick out a lawn-safe weed killer spray. Visible Results in 3 Hours We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Attack Remaining Stickers in Early Spring
If some stickers have survived pre-emergent application in fall and weed sprays in winter, attack the weeds in early spring. You can either repeat an application of a lawn-safe selective herbicide, or you can uproot the stickers by hand. Uprooting and throwing away sticker weeds removes them instantly, stops them from dropping their burrs, and is an all-natural way to kill stickers.
- Search your lawn for any remaining sticker plants once your lawn begins growing again in spring.
- Stickers drop their seeds in spring, so it’s essential to kill these weeds early in the year.
- Spray remaining stickers with a broadleaf weed killer to destroy them within 7–14 days.
- Use this weeding tool to instantly uproot and kill stickers.
- If you uproot sticker weeds, make sure to throw them away so they can’t drop seeds.
Lawn burrs produce their “stickers” in spring. These obnoxious stickers are actually the seeds of the weed. So, you need to kill and remove these plants before they start dropping their seeds. Act fast in spring. By late spring, once temperatures begin to climb toward 90℉ (32℃), the stickers will start dropping their seeds, which will lead to a new crop of weeds in fall.
Fertilize and Maintain Your Lawn
By keeping your lawn healthy, you will prevent stickers from growing in your yard. It may seem strange to fertilize a lawn overrun by weeds, but it really does help. Stickers and many other weeds thrive in nutrient-deficient, compact soil. Aerating your yard and providing spring fertilizer encourages thick grass growth, which actually chokes out stickers and other weeds.
- A healthy lawn will promote thick grass growth and discourage weeds.
- Stickers and many other common weeds grow best in poorly maintained soil.
- Follow our hybrid fertilizer approach to boost your soil quality and grow a lush lawn.
- The healthier your grass is, the fewer stickers will sprout in your lawn.
If you’re not sure how to fertilize your yard, follow our hybrid fertilizer schedule. It balances slow-release nitrogen sources, plenty of soil nutrients, and bigger nitrogen boosts for essential grass growth. A well-maintained lawn will help choke stickers out of your entire yard. Thick grass smothers stickers as they try to sprout.
Bag When You Mow
If some sticker plants survive your attempts to kill them, mowing can help. Once you see sticker weeds with burrs on the plants, attach a bagger to your mower. Then, mow your lawn at a slightly lower height than usual. This will cut the burrs off the weeds and bag them. Dispose of the stickers and grass clippings as green waste. This means fewer stickers will be dropped on your soil, so fewer weeds will grow from these seeds.
- If you see weeds with stickers on them in your yard, mow with a bagging mower to collect the stickers.
- Lower your mower’s blade height by ½ to 1 inch (12–25 mm) to cut off sticker burrs and bag them.
- Throw away all bagged grass clippings with stickers—the stickers are seeds that will sprout more weeds.
If you have a home compost pile, do not add sticker burrs to the mix. Stickers are very hardy seeds. They can sometimes survive the heat of the composting process. So, spreading compost that contains stickers can contribute to more stickers in your yard or garden. It’s best to throw away any burrs that you bag. Permanently getting rid of stickers growing in your yard may seem impossible, but it can be accomplished by using these techniques:
- In the fall, apply pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn, to stop new sticker weeds from sprouting.
- During winter, spray sticker weeds with herbicide while they are young, to kill them.
- Once spring begins, kill any remaining sticker weeds with herbicide or by uprooting the weeds before they drop their sticker seeds.
- Aerate and fertilize your lawn to encourage thick grass growth that chokes out grass burrs.
- If you see weeds with stickers growing on them, mow your yard using a mower with a bagger attachment. Then, throw away the bagged stickers and grass clippings.
You do not have to follow these steps in order. If your yard is currently infested with stickers, start by mowing and bagging. Then, as fall rolls around you can spread pre-emergent and follow the other tips. Within just a few seasons, you’ll wipe out all the stickers growing in your yard. Whether you have grass burrs in your lawn (also sometimes called grass stickers) or you’re just worried about them, you might be looking for some more information on this frustrating weed. While all weeds are a nuisance, grass burrs are particularly problematic since they can actually be painful, too. These spiky balls in the grass can actually stab you with their thorns or get stuck to clothing, skin, or pet fur. If you have children or pets who are running through the lawn barefoot, they can be a literal “pain” that prevents you from using your property to the fullest. Unfortunately, when we encounter grass burrs and stickers in Texas lawns, it’s not like we see just one or two. We typically see dozens, if not hundreds. They can quickly spread and make a yard unusable. In this article, we’ll talk about how to get rid of grass burrs so that you can get back to enjoying your lawn.
What are Those Spiky Balls in the Grass?
It’s not surprising that “spiky balls in grass” is a common search term on the Internet for people looking for information about grass burrs. After all, that’s exactly what they look like. Grass burrs are an annual grassy weed that can thrive in drier climates, like ours in Texas. They tend to pop up in pastures or along roadsides, but they can sometimes show up in lawns thanks to how well they have learned to spread. We’ve not only heard them called grass stickers but also “prickly thorns,” “sticker burrs,” or “sandbur.” The latter is the name of the full weed (not just the single “sticker”). A sandbur weed looks like a tall grassy weed with a bunch of individual thorny stickers. These can break off and end up throughout the lawn or latch on to someone (or something) passing by. In some ways, it’s quite genius (in an evil way!) as this is how the weed spreads. The sharp spiky balls are actually seedpods. As they latch on and get moved to new locations, the weed spreads to new places. Couple that with the fact that the spiky thorns make this weed difficult to hand-pick, and you can see how it is difficult to control or get rid of. Like other grassy weeds, it also happens to be an aggressive grower and can be slow to respond to weed control products.