How to Kill Grass Burrs

How to kill grass burrs

Who wouldn’t take pride in an elegant lawn? A weed or grass burr problem would cause sleepless nights to a homeowner. Wait, what’s a grass burr? Out of nowhere, I’d like to think; this annual grassy weed appears in lawns. The sandbur is expected to dry, sandy soil; however, it can also be present in other soil types.

The grass burrs are not only unsightly but also a threat to your bare feet. The sharp burs can be painful if you step on them and annoying when they come in contact with your clothes and skin. They don’t let go quickly.

The annoying grass burs spread their seeds quickly because of their hitching tendency. However, a well-maintained lawn and effective bur management can inhibit the spread of this pesky weed.

Types of Grass Burrs

Walking barefoot on fresh grass is exciting and relaxing. But at times, you can find yourself in a painful and sticky state of affairs. The presence of grass burs pricks through your bare feet, sending nothing but pain to you. However, grass burrs come in different species. For instance;

Lawn burweed: Other names are sticker weed and spur weed. Unlike the standard sand burs, this is a winter weed thriving when the temperatures are cold. It is small throughout the winter, but when spring arrives, the lawn burweed engages into rapid growth, forming spine-tipped burs in the leaf stalks. The seed is enclosed in the hooked bur. The spine-tipped burs of the lawn burweed are easy to feel but hard to see.

Cocklebur: Everyone must have had a share of cockleburs in their socks or stocking at some point. The cocklebur plant produces many ball-shaped burs covered with hooked stiff spines. Every cocklebur fruit holds two seeds that may stay usable for a long time. The spiky burs clip into your clothing and become firmly fixed. Regularly the malicious burs form snarled clots in animals’ fur, and to remove, you must cut them out. As a matter of fact, the cockleburs are spread globally due to the burs that attach to animals and humans.

Bur clover: Bur clover is an annual spreading legume that thrives in Mediterranean-type climate but is not restricted to them. The fruit is spiky and compressed. The spikes cling to animal fur using tiny hooks that contain many kidney-shaped seeds. Bur clover is edible by livestock, excluding the mules and horses since it is a high-quality fodder. This plant acts as an essential cover crop for vineyards and orchards.

Bur bristlegrass: The bur bristlegrass is an annual, self-pollinated, and hardy grass. Animals spread seeds of the bur bristlegrass because of the hooks on the hairs of the inflorescences. The fruit hitches itself to the fur of passing animals using the hooked bristles hence wide seed distribution. Bur bristlegrass is edible and is therefore used as fodder, hay, and grass. In some parts, the inflorescences keep rats out of harvested grains. Also, it is useful in weaving hats and toys.

Bathurst burr: The Bathurst burr is a harmful weed and globally spread to many regions that even have declared it toxic. A South American native spread all over by spiked seeds attaching to either animals or clothes. It produces seeds that proliferate. As a weed, it out-competes other plants deeming it dangerous. Controlling the Bathurst burr is challenging but possible with much effort.

What Kills Sticker Burrs

Sticker burrs become a problem because they quickly take over a lawn, especially in their favorable dry and sandy soil. Without quick action and proper control, the sticker burrs become invasive as a weed and spread their spiny seed pods all over.

However, the methods of killing sticker burrs are as follows;

Lawn Maintenance

Maintain your lawn to keep away sticker burrs seeds. Use a fertilizer that will boost blade growth, such as 21-0-0. Normalize using the extended deep watering technique on your lawn weekly rather than daily shallow watering and mow regularly. This proper maintenance will boost the deep root system and dense leaves growth. Pruning the top part of the sticky burr will effectively destroy it. Even though this is tedious and manually challenging, it helps stop weed seeds from spreading.

Use of Herbicides (Pre and Post-Emergent)

Pre-emergent herbicides will kill the seeds of sticker burrs before they sprout. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide builds a healthier turf and averts the seeds from germinating. Nevertheless, this works best if you apply it two weeks before the soil the prime temperature. There are other pre-emergent herbicides like oryzalin and benefin that work to eradicate the weeds before they bud. For maximum effectiveness, water the granule herbicides deep into the soil and reapply after every six weeks.

Conversely, the post-emergent herbicides will attack the young buds before they develop into seeds. An example of a post-emergent herbicide is the disodium methanearsonate (DSMA) and monosodium acid methanearsonate (MSMA). These herbicides will kill the weeds and keep your lawn safe.

All these chemicals require you to read the instructions and methods of mixing for the concentrates. Always don protective gear while handling chemicals.

How to Get Rid Of Grass Burrs

The nasty and dangerous invasive weed has to go. Please get rid of it successfully following the below tips.

  • Competition. Burrs cannot stand competition; therefore, make it a habit to water and feed your lawn regularly. This way, the burrs will find it difficult to spread due to the dense and lush lawn.
  • Mow with a dump bag nearby. Mow your lawn to a concise level to expose the hidden burrs for removal. Drop the cuttings in the bag instead of carrying them to a dumpsite. Using a bag you will prevent spreading the seeds to other locations. Mow regularly.
  • Apply the pre and post-emergent products to your lawn. These products are harsh but ideal for burrs since they are tough as well. The chemicals can pose a risk to children and pets.
  • Use white vinegar to kill the grass burrs as follows:
  1. For the visible and loose burrs, use a trowel to scoop them out as you dump them.
  2. Fill up the spray bottle will undiluted white vinegar.
  3. Targeting the burrs and stickers, spray heavily on them. Avoid any useful plant close by coming into contact with the vinegar as it will kill them.
  4. Repeat the process frequently until you get the desired results. Once dead, scoop the burrs and stickers and dump them in the trash.
  • Pull up the weeds manually wearing gardening gloves to protect your hands from the pricks. Burn or discard the weeds to avoid seed spreading.
  • Pour boiling water on the weed to kill it. Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results, then pluck out the dead burrs for disposal.
  • Burn the weeds. Use a propane flame to burn the stickers and burrs from your lawn. This process will require frequent practices to be sure of no re-growth.
  • Remove the seeds. Using a sticker picker, roll it over your lawn and let it do its job. Choose a size that suits your lawn. It removes the seeds of the burrs and stickers by picking them up as it rolls.


Consider the grass burrs and stickers as a nemesis. Besides, anything that ends up causing you pain is not worth having around. Also, you don’t want to go around with things sticking on your clothes without your notice,

Grass burrs and stickers are a tough nut to crack, but you will be victorious in your fight against them with resilience and attention.