Spurweed is out there now – don’t delay


I thought I’d post a quick note on a nasty weed.This recent warm weather has made many lawn weeds pop. Among them is spurweed (Soliva sessilis)) otherwise known as lawn burweed, stickerweed and sandbur. It is a low growing fine textured plant that eventually develops sharp spines that stick in anything that contacts them.

As of a week ago I had no spurweed in my lawn, but it has now reared its ugly head. This is a tough one to control.  I have often said that once a person sees spurweed it is too late to stop it. That’s a little harsh, because if plants are treated before they go to seed, they can be hit with a post-emergent herbicide followed by a pre-emergent one in the fall. That can help immensely. Repeat treatments will still be necessary, but the earlier this weed is attacked the better long-term success will be.

Primary treatment with a mixture of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP is a good first step. Follow that up with another dose in a few weeks if new plants appear. In the fall, you will probably want to apply a pre-emergent herbicide like isoxaben in October. This will prevent new plants from germinating over the winter.

The biggest problem with spurweed is that seeds can remain dormant in the soil for a long time. That means control is a multi-year process. I’m sorry to be the skunk at the picnic, but this little plant can be a long-term adversary. Stay vigilant!

Newly emerging spurweed

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com). I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.
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2 Responses to Spurweed is out there now – don’t delay

  1. H.P. Williams says:

    What are some brand names to treat Sandbur. Miss you and Roberta.

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