Stickers, Piquants, burweed, the list goes on and on with names that most people call this lawn pest that will poke or stick uncovered feet later this spring and summer. The weed most folks are talking about is called , lawn burweed, and is also called, spurweed, and stickerweed. This is a winter annual, and a member of the aster family. This weed will usually germinate in the early fall months, and remains very small, and inconspicuous in the lawn over the winter. As temperatures warm in the spring, it begins a period of very rapid growth, flowering, and forming a small spur or spine in the leaf axil junction. The trick to eliminating the spiny sticker problem is to control the weed before the spur is formed. If you wait to control the weed after the spur is formed, you will kill the plant, but the spiny sticker will still be there waiting for unsuspecting bare feet or hands.
To control this weed in St. Augustine grass lawns, and in bermuda grass lawns, (that have not been overseeded with a cool season grass) several herbicides are recommended. The ideal time to apply is from December to March, preferably on days with temperatures of 60 degrees F. or warmer. The earlier in the season you apply , usually the easier this weed is to control.
Two applications are usually necessary, make the second application about 10 days after the first. Always be cautious with these herbicides, even at these low rates. Do not apply around the dripline of trees, and do not use in flowerbeds. As temperatures warm up, and other plants are coming out of dormancy, be aware of and prevent drift of spray to off-target plants, and be especially cautious around vegetable gardens, and fruit trees.
If more information is needed or you have any questions please contact our office of the La. Cooperative Extension Service, a division of the LSU AgCenter, at 230 Court St., in Ville Platte, or call us at (337) 363-5646.
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