How to Kill Sticker Burr Weeds

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Things You'll Need

  • Lawn mower

  • Rake

  • Garden sprayer

  • Pre-emergent herbicide containing MSMA or DSMA

  • Post-emergent herbicide containing MSMA or DSMA

  • Broadcast spreader

  • General-purpose fertilizer-herbicide combination

Sticker burr weeds, also known as sand burrs or field sand burrs, occur in lawns, fields, parks and in other cultivated areas. The burrs' sharp spines can inflict pain if stepped on or handled. They easily stick to clothing and socks. Each burr contains one to three seeds within its spiky covering. A warm-season annual, the plant grows from spring until frost. The best way to control sticker burr weeds is early in the plant's life cycle before it begins to produce seeds. Work to achieve control in the spring and early summer months prior to the weed's germination, when the plant is still young.

Step 1

Mow the lawn and remove all lawn clippings in the early spring. Rake up all the leaves and remove them from the lawn.

Step 2

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide that contains MSMA or DSMA two to four weeks before the weeds emerge. Follow the directions on the label for application ratios and mixing instructions. Irrigate the lawn after application of the herbicide.

Step 3

Spray with post-emergent herbicides that contain MSMA or DSMA after the sticker burr weeds have emerged (follow the directions on the packaging). Spray the weeds on a calm day with very little wind.

Step 4

Spread a fertilizer-herbicide combination onto the lawn when the sticker burr weeds first appear. Choose a fertilizer-herbicide combination that will successfully kill crabgrass to also help kill sticker burr weeds, too. A fertilizer-herbicide combination helps to strengthen the lawn and also kill the weeds while the weeds are still young. Use a broadcast spreader to apply the granules, following the directions on the packaging. Water thoroughly after application.


Maintain a dense turf through regular fertilizing and watering to help prevent sticker burr weeds, according to the New Mexico State University.

Apply herbicides containing MSMA or DSMA when the daytime temperature is over 75 degrees Fahrenheit for the best success the New Mexico State University further states on its website.


Avoid using a fertilizer-herbicide combination for follow-up summer lawn care or the lawn may suffer an herbicide overdose and be damaged, according to the Texas A&M University.

Do not use herbicides that contain MSMA on St. Augustine turf grass.

references & resources

Kimberly Sharpe

Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.