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How to Kill Sticker Weeds Taking Over Your Lawn Full Guide of 2023

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how to kill sticker weeds

Wow – these sticker weeds are taking over your life! You thought you were just going for a nice stroll in the yard but – ouch! – those pricks got you again. One minute you’re admiring your yard, the next you’re hopping around pulling stickers out of your socks. And don’t get me started on Fido – poor pup can’t make it three feet without getting a faceful.

It’s time to take back control and banish these villains for good with a strategic plan on how to kill sticker weeds.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to stop the invasion in its tracks. With the right tactics, you can halt those stickers from spreading and keep your yard safe for bare feet once again. A few simple steps are all it takes to gain the upper hand. But be warned – stickers are sneaky and persistent, so you’ll need to remain vigilant.

Follow this guide to keep the journey back to a prick-free yard fast yet steady. By stopping stickers before they sprout and attacking survivors without mercy, soon your yard will be yours again.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide in early fall when the soil is 52-72°F.
  • Spot treat young sticker weed plants immediately.
  • Use post-emergent herbicide before burrs form.
  • Maintain a thick and healthy lawn to deter sticker weeds.

Preventing Sticker Weeds

Preventing Sticker Weeds
To keep sticker weeds at bay, you’ll want to take some preventative steps. In early fall, before the weeds germinate, apply a pre-emergent herbicide like isoxaben or crabgrass preventer to your lawn. Use a pre-emergence product like Crab-Ex or Halts during this time as well. For advice on the proper pre-emergence herbicide for your situation, consult with the staff at your local nursery.

From December through February, carefully inspect your lawn for any young burweed plants that may be emerging. In North Texas, apply pre-emergent herbicide when the soil temperature hits 52-72°F, around April 1.

And before applying any pre-emergent, be sure to clear away dead leaves and grass clippings.

Apply Pre-emergent Herbicide in Early Fall

You’ll want to apply that pre-emergent herbicide early this fall, before the stickers can even think about germinating. Once the soil temperature hits 52-72°F, it’s go time for those pesky weeds looking to invade your lawn.

Arm yourself with preemergence products like crabgrass preventers and weed stoppers to halt germination right in its tracks. With preemptive action against emerging stickers, you’ll keep the upper hand and have a burr-free lawn.

Use Pre-emergence Herbicide Like Crab-Ex, Halts

Try applying some Crab-Ex or Halts in early fall, like a wise gardener sowing seeds of prevention before the weeds can take root.

  1. Act decisively against the encroaching stickers.
  2. Seize control of your lawn’s destiny.
  3. Guard your turf from unwanted invaders.
  4. Forge your lawn into a fortress against stickers.

Applying pre-emergence herbicides prevents stickers from germinating, retaining your power over your lawn. Post-emergence herbicides remove existing weeds, but pre-emergence controls your lawn’s future.

With wise preemptive action, your lawn can remain a sticker-free sanctuary under your command.

Consult Nursery Staff for Proper Pre-emergence Product

Stop by your local nursery and have the staff there recommend the right pre-emergence product for your lawn, such as Sta-Green or Scotts. Explain your sticker weed issue and ask about crabgrass preventers or weed & grass stoppers to apply in early fall.

Trust their expertise in choosing effective pre-emergent herbicides that deter grass burrs without harming your lawn. With the proper early treatment, you can gain control and prevent stickers next season.

Carefully Inspect Lawn for Young Burweed Plants

Let’s get down on all fours from December through February and hunt like hounds for those sneaky young burweed rogues invading our lawn before they take root.

  1. Crawl on hands and knees to thoroughly inspect every square inch.
  2. Use a magnifying glass to spot tiny green stems poking through.
  3. Feel for prickly little pain dispensers in the turfgrass.
  4. Apply post-emergent products immediately to eradicate burweed before infestation.

A watchful eye and early action stop the prickly burweed invasion, keeping your lawn safe and comfortable for bare feet.

Use Pre-emergent Herbicide When Soil Temperature is Optimal

You’re checking soil temperatures and spreading pre-emergent herbicide by April first up in North Texas. Keep those pesky sticker weeds from invading your lawn by getting ahead of them. Once the soil’s between fifty-two and seventy-two degrees, it’s prime time to lay down that pre-emergent.

It’ll stop those burr seeds from ever germinating. Just be sure to clear off leaves and dead grass first so the herbicide reaches the soil.

Clear Leaves/grass Before Applying Pre-emergent

Rake up fallen leaves and mowed grass before spreading that pre-emergent ’round the yard.

  1. Remove debris and clippings for maximum herbicide contact with the soil.
  2. Fallen leaves smother grass, preventing herbicide from reaching the ground.
  3. Let the grass dry fully first, then apply your pre-emergent properly.

Your lawn is already a battlefield. Arm it against burrs before those prickly seeds take root and disrupt the turfgrass.

Killing Existing Sticker Weeds

Killing Existing Sticker Weeds
You’re dealing with those pesky sticker weeds that have invaded your lawn. For small patches, pull them out by hand or use a hoe on larger areas. But for the most effective removal, apply a post-emergent herbicide before the burrs form.

Spray a lawn weed killer like Weed B Gon, mow with a bag to catch the stickers, or even wet the grass and burn the stickers with a propane torch. Using post-emergent herbicide works best on young grassbur plants before they mature and become more difficult to kill.

Pull Small Patches by Hand, Use Hoe for Larger Areas

Dig out those small patches of sticker weeds by hand for a personal connection to your lawn’s well-being. Use a hoe to extract the larger clusters of sticker weeds. Although it may be laborious, this manual removal will strengthen your bond with the lawn while eliminating the prickly pests.

Take the time to nurture the grass by pulling out the weed roots to prevent their spread.

Apply Post-emergent Herbicide Before Burrs Form

Get busy spraying that post-emergent herbicide lest the burrs form on those pesky stickers, partner. Tackle those weeds with a potent post-emergence herbicide before the burrs take hold so you can regain control of that yard.

Sandburs and stickers have nothing on your trusty weedkillers when applied at just the right time.

Spray Lawn Weed Killer Like Weed B Gon

You’ll want to hit those pesky weeds with a heavy dose of Weed B Gon before they turn your lawn into a pricker patch. Spray it on early and often to nip those nasty stickers in the bud. The powerful chemicals will wipe out the young weeds down to the roots.

Repeated applications ensure total annihilation so you can reclaim control of your yard.

Mow Lawn With Bag to Remove Stickers

Mow your lawn regularly with a bag to help remove stickers. Interestingly, experts recommend not cutting more than one-third of the blade height when mowing to avoid stressing the grass. Even though sandburs can be difficult and leave painful reminders, mowing to remove the spiny seed burs is an effective way to combat your grass burr problem without using herbicides.

Wet Grass Then Burn Stickers With Propane Torch

After saturating the affected area, use a propane torch to target the sticker weeds, keeping a hose nearby for safety. Direct the steady blue flame onto the foliage of the troublesome stickers until they wither and perish.

Stay persistent, ensuring that all parts of the plant are treated while closely monitoring your progress. This potent technique offers effective control over the invasive stickers that are encroaching on your turfgrass.

With a little patience and care, you can eliminate the stickers without the use of chemicals, thus restoring your lush bermudagrass to its former glory.

Use Post-emergent Herbicide for Young Grassbur

Post-emergent herbicide is less effective on mature grassbur, so spray young plants soon for the best results. Identify grassbur weeds when they first emerge. Look for thin, grass-like leaves low to the ground in spring and early summer.

Quickly apply a liquid, post-emergent herbicide containing metsulfuron, atrazine, or similar active ingredients. This kills the tender, young weeds before they can spread seeds. Repeat applications may be needed, but post-emergent herbicide works best on newly sprouted grassbur.

Preventing Re-Growth

Preventing Re-Growth
When tackling sticker weeds, you must be vigilant in checking clothes and shoes for burrs after being outside and removing any found. It’s also key that you fertilize your lawn at least twice yearly when it’s actively growing to help the grass crowd out stickers.

While herbicides will prevent new stickers from emerging, they won’t destroy existing burrs, so maintaining a healthy, thick lawn is your best defense against their spread.

Check Clothes and Shoes for Burrs After Being Outside

You’ll want to properly inspect your clothes and footwear for any burrs after being in an infested area.

  1. Check your shoes, especially the soles and laces.
  2. Shake out your socks and turn pockets inside out.
  3. Use a sticky roller on pants and sleeves.
  4. Brush hair and hats to dislodge hidden stickers.

Little annoyances like sticker burrs can cling to you and spread weed seeds. Stay vigilant after exposure to rid yourself and your home of these prickly hitchhikers.

Fertilize Lawn Regularly

Fertilizing your lush lawn at least twice a year helps the grass crowd out those pesky stickers. Provide your yard with the proper nutrients it craves by using recommended amendments that replenish nutrient-deficient soils.

Apply quality fertilizer when the grass is actively growing to bolster the lawn’s health. With a consistent watering schedule and weed killers, your healthy, thick turf will deter future outbreaks.

Herbicides Prevent New Stickers, Not Destroy Existing Burrs

Protect your lawn early so you don’t have to face the heartache of seeing those pesky stickers take over again. Pre-emergent herbicides keep new weeds from sprouting, but can’t kill existing mature burrs.

Feel empowered stopping stickers before they spread.

Rest easy knowing your lawn is protected.

Experience satisfaction eliminating stickers for good.

Timing is everything when it comes to weed control. Apply pre-emergent herbicide in early fall to prevent new stickers from ever germinating. Follow up with post-emergent spray to destroy any remaining mature burrs. Consistent prevention and removal is the key to keeping your lawn sticker-free for good.

Maintain a Healthy, Thick Lawn

By providing enough water and feeding it vitamins, your grass grows vibrant blades that choke out the stickers. Nourish your lawn with fertilizer twice a year so that it grows thick and healthy. This creates a lush carpet that leaves no room for stickers to take root. Mow high and water deeply to encourage deep roots and vigorous turfgrass.

With some TLC, your lawn transforms into a dense, robust barrier against stubborn weeds.

Handling Grassbur Weeds

Handling Grassbur Weeds
You’ll want to focus on using pre-emergent herbicide, as it’s the most effective way to prevent grassbur weeds. Also, be sure to water your lawn regularly and mow it shorter, keeping it well-hydrated after applying any herbicide to maximize its effectiveness.

Using pre- and post-emergent products properly while avoiding MSMA on St. Augustine grass are other tips for successfully killing sticker weeds.

Pre-emergent Herbicide is Most Effective

You’d best apply that pre-emergent herbicide before them stickers get too established if you really wanna nip ’em in the bud.

  • Scout your lawn in early fall for them first green sprouts.
  • Lay down pre-emergence when the soil’s just right – not too hot, not too cold.
  • Reapply every 6-8 weeks until winter to ward off new crops.
  • Come next spring, do it again before the soil starts warming.

With pre-emergent herbicide, you’ll choke out them sticker weeds before they get going.

Water Lawn Regularly and Mow Shorter

Keep your lawn well-watered and trim the blades often to choke out those prickly pests. A well-watered green carpet resists invaders. Precisely cut turf crowds the combat zone, denying room for foes to take root.

Thus armed, you claim command, wielding the weapons that vanquish. Victory shall be yours.

Keep Lawn Watered After Applying Herbicide

Your lawn thirsts for life after the herbicide, so quench its thirst to ensure the treatment works. Active ingredients like dithiopyr require moisture to effectively disrupt the reproductive structures of mature weeds.

Keep the lawn consistently damp for several days post-application. This allows time for the herbicide to fully penetrate pest weeds. Consistent moisture also encourages healthy turfgrass growth to crowd out undesired plants.

Use Pre/post-emergent Properly

Apply both pre- and post-emergent herbicides at the right time of year according to package directions; research shows that using them together can eliminate up to 95% of grassbur weeds. To ensure maximum effectiveness, carefully read product labels and follow instructions for preemergence products like crabgrass preventer in early spring and post-emergent herbicides like Weed B Gon in summer.

Avoid Using MSMA on St. Augustine Grass

You’d best avoid MSMA on St. Augustine because it will damage the grass. Control products with MSMA kill everything green they touch, harming your lawn’s leaf blades and runners. Seek safer organic options or alternate chemicals that target just the weed. Using a product that destroys all plant tissue instead of individual sticker plants counterproductively damages the entire lawn you’re aiming to protect.

Maintain lawn health and your home’s curb appeal by selecting weed control judiciously.

What Are Stickers in Grass?

What Are Stickers in Grass
When dealing with sticker weeds, you’ll want to identify the culprit first. Common grassy burr weeds include burweed, lawn burrs, field sandbur, and the dreaded yellow vine stickers. Knowing which sticker weed has invaded will help determine the best removal method.

Identifying Different Types of Sticker Weeds

Man, those annoying stickers invading your lawn are the worst. Here are 5 common types to watch for:

  1. Grassbur – Spiky circular pods on spreading plants. Worst summer offender.
  2. Sandbur – Sharp, egg-shaped burs emerge before grassbur.
  3. Caltrop – Distinctive 4-pronged spiny seed pods.
  4. Goathead – 2-inch clusters of sharp, single-spine stickers.
  5. Puncturevine – Small yellow seed pods with sharp spikes.

Spot treating weeds as they appear and applying pre-emergent herbicides tailored to local weather are key prevention measures.

Yellow Vine Stickers

When spotting the bright yellow flowers of trailing vine stickers, act quickly like a cheetah chasing prey before they take over your lawn. Applying a pre-emergence herbicide in early spring when soil temperatures reach 65°F prevents yellow sticker vine seeds from germinating.

Mature plants can be controlled by spot spraying with post-emergence herbicides containing dicamba, 2,4-D, or Celsius WG. Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn is key to preventing infestations of this aggressive warm-season annual weed.


Course burweed spreads fast, so apply pre-emergent herbicide by April 1st. Once germinated, burweed is hard to kill. Spray young weeds in spring with post-emergent killers containing metsulfuron, keeping your lawn wet.

For mature weeds, cut the grass short and bag clippings before using a propane torch or boiling water. Keep applying pre-emergent in the fall to prevent future infestations of this stubborn sticker.

Lawn Burs

You’re going to have to square up against those pesky lawn burrs if you want a prickle-free yard, pal. Arm yourself with pre-emergent herbicides to nip those stubborn stickers in the bud before they take root.

Once established, it’s an uphill battle – mow often, pull by hand, and spot spray herbicides to gain control. With persistence and prevention, your lawn can shake those painful burs for good.

Field Sandburs Sticker

Step carefully after being outside, ’cause those pesky field sandburs can cling to shoes and clothes before you realize it.

  • Mow often
  • Fertilize in spring
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide
  • Use post-emergent weed control
  • Maintain a thick, healthy lawn

Controlling those pesky field sandburs takes some elbow grease, but you can reclaim a prickle-free yard with consistent mowing, fertilizing, and herbicide applications. Stay vigilant to keep ahead of the weed game. A lush lawn is the best defense against sticker invaders trying to stick it to you.

Burr Stickers

Keep those burrs from grabbing your clothes like a bloodhound on the scent by using pre-emergent herbicides before they take root. When those burr stickers poke through your carefree summer lawn, fight back with preemergence products like Halts and Crab-Ex.

Drop those herbicides in early spring to choke off burr weeds before they grab hold.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of damage can sticker weeds do to my lawn?

You’ll get annoying stickers in your shoes and all over your lawn. They’ll take over and choke out the grass, leaving bare spots for more weeds to move in.

When is the best time to apply pre-emergent herbicide for sticker weeds?

Apply pre-emergent herbicide in early fall, before sticker weeds germinate. The soil should be 52-72°F, so aim for application by April 1 in North Texas. This prevents new sticker weeds from emerging next season. Then inspect monthly and pull by hand or spot treat to stop existing weeds from going to seed.

How long does it take for post-emergent herbicides to kill existing sticker weeds?

After spraying post-emergent herbicide, you’ll start seeing results in 7-10 days as the sticker weeds yellow and wilt away. Though it takes patience, this organic method gives you safe, effective control without harmful chemicals.

Within two weeks, your lawn will be sticker-free if you apply according to the label.

Will using a weed torch or boiling water kill the roots of sticker weeds?

A weed torch or boiling water sears sticker weeds above ground, but like a hydra, their roots remain untouched to sprout anew.

Are organic herbicides effective for controlling sticker weeds?

Well butter my biscuits – organic herbicides like vinegar or soap-based ones can zap small sticker weeds, but they lack the kick to deliver a knockout punch once stickers take root and toughen up. For bigger infestations, it’s best to use chemical herbicides that pack more of a wallop.


Fighting those frustratingly prickly sticker weeds takes perseverance and proper prevention. Persist in pulling small patches by hand. Preemptively apply pre-emergent herbicide before burrs blossom. Post-emergent sprays such as Weed B Gon can knock out budding stickers. Maintaining a lush, lively lawn limits future stickers’ spread.

Though eliminating deep-rooted stickers demands dedication, defending your lawn from their tenacious takeover is totally possible if you proactively practice proven prevention techniques. How to kill sticker weeds requires patience and planning, but you can prevail over patches and prevent their pesky persistence.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.