Sticker burrs are an annual grassy weed, often found in lawns, fields, and parks. Also known as grass burrs and sand burrs, these weeds produce sharp, spiky burrs that attach themselves to anything they touch. The burrs can be painful to step on and are difficult to remove from clothing, hair, and animal fur. Killing the weed is the best way to prevent it from spreading and taking over your lawn.
However, remedies that use products like bleach, salt, and baking soda can harm nearby plants and alter the pH of the soil until they leach out, which — in the case of salt — could be quite a long time. Be careful about how and where you apply them.
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Do not place discarded weeds in a compost pile because the seeds sprout in the decomposing material.
1. Weed by Hand
Pull the weeds up by hand. Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands as you grasp the weed at the base of the plant and pull up. Discard the weeds in the garbage or burn them in a fire pit to prevent the seeds from spreading.
2. Install a Barrier
Place a barrier around the plant. Although you can buy barriers in commerce, you can also make your own. For example, cut off the bottom and top portions of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle and place it over the sticker burr plant before spraying it with weed killer. This will keep the product from spreading to the rest of your garden or lawn.
3. Use Baking Soda
Apply baking soda at the base of the sticker burr plant. The sodium in the baking soda draws moisture out of the plant and dehydrates it. Use the baking soda on the sticker burr at least once a week until the plant dies.
4. Sprinkle Salt
Sprinkle salt on the leaves and base of the plant. The salt adds an even stronger dose of sodium to the soil than the baking soda. The sticker burr will rapidly be dehydrated.
5. Use Bleach
Pour undiluted bleach on the sticker burr plant. A few days after applying the bleach, pull the plant out of the ground. The bleach in the soil prevents the plant from growing back but can also impact the growth of other plants, so exercise caution.
6. Try Borax Powder
Sprinkle borax powder on the base of the plant. Borax powder supplies the weed with an excessive amount of boron, a natural plant micronutrient. In large amounts, boron damages and kills the weed.
7. Apply Vinegar to the Plant
Pour undiluted white or apple cider vinegar on the plant. Vinegar contains acetic acid which draws moisture from the plant and dehydrates it.
8. Bring on the Vodka
Mix 1 ounce of vodka, two drops of liquid soap, and 2 cups of water together. Pour the mixture on the leaves of the sticker burr plant when the sun is at its highest point in the day. The sunshine, striking the alcohol, breaks down the waxy covering on the leaves and dehydrates the plant.
9. Scald With Boiling Water
Pour boiling water on the plant. The boiling water kills the plant quickly without leaving behind any chemicals in the soil.