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How to Get Rid of Sandspurs

Sand spurs, also known as sand burs are some of the most annoying types of weeds. A sand spur can grow in small areas without much water, shade or sunshine. The spurs that you come across are produced when the plant has reached full maturity and is beginning to die.

In a bid to continue its legacy, the plant manages to spread its seed in the form of burs. These burs have a special outer covering with tiny hooks on it that allow it to easily get attached to the fur, the skin or even the clothes of people. In this manner, the seeds are spread with ease and new sand spurs will begin to sprout if the circumstances are favorable to them.

On the other hand, sand spurs pose a problem as the spurs on the seed are extremely painful to deal with. The hooks can easily dig into skin, drawing blood and giving painful scratches. Moreover, these spurs can also be contaminated by various bacterium including salmonella and E-coli. This increases the chances of a person getting an infection or falling ill because of the sand spur, particularly if it breaks your skin.

Furthermore, in many places, the sand spur has been noted as an invasive species and active measures are in place to reduce and remove the plant. Its hardy nature and ability to recover from setbacks has given it the upper hand over native plants. Moreover, it does not contribute to the wellbeing of the local ecosystem in any manner so it is a good idea to get rid of the plants as soon as possible.

Get the Right Tools

To effectively get rid of the sand spur, you need to very careful in removing and getting rid of it. Like other weeds, this is a hardy plant to get rid of and if even one spur is left in place, it can come back very easily. For this reason, you will have to put in some hard work and you’re going to need some heavy duty tools such as the following ones:

  • Garden Scissors – Make sure they’re easy to re-sharpen as their edges can get blunt with ease and you will end up spending a lot of time and energy on working with blunt tools.

  • Thick Garden Gloves – While you’re paying attention to the thickness, also try to ensure that they cover your hands at least up to your forearm. This can keep your hands safe from spurs even if you roll up your sleeves. Otherwise, wear your hardiest shirt and keep your sleeves rolled down.

  • Thick Paper Bag – You’ll need this to store all the spurs you can find. When you’re cutting the sand spur, it will also release the spurs freely as any movement can cause the ripe spurs to detach with ease. Gather them all into the paper bag for proper disposal.

  • Borax Powder or Other Weed Killer – You’re going to need this to kill the plant. While Borax powder can work wonders for you it’s a bit complicated to use. If you don’t use the right amount, it can have the opposite affect and make the weed begin to sprout more. If you’re not up to the guesswork, just get pesticide or other weed killer which is going to get the job done straight away.

  • Garden Hoe and Rake – You will need this to chop up the roots of the sand spur to ensure that it is well and truly dead and make it easier for it to decompose.

  • Fertilizer Bag – Sometimes, the quality of the soil can be responsible for favoring the growth of roots and plants such as the sand spur. With the help of more fertilizer, you can restore the pH balance and overall condition of your soil.

How to Go About It

First of all, wear the gloves and make sure to never take them off while you are handling sand spurs. Now make a round of the yard or another area where the sand spur is sprouting and pick up as many spurs as you can see.

Place them in the brown paper bag. Once you have collected all the stray spurs, take the gardening scissors and clip the spurs off the plant. Be careful to hold the bag under the plant to catch the spurs as you clip them.

Once this is done, you can either chop up the entire plant or you can pull it out. If you have removed the plant, add it to your brown paper bag. Sprinkle the area where the sandspur was with a liberal amount of weed killer. Now use the garden hoe to work up the soil to mix the weed killer in the soil and chop up any existing roots.

Remove all plants in this manner and gather them up in the brown paper bag. Now, take the brown bag and place it on your BBQ pit and set it on fire. Your work isn’t done though. Use the rake to work up all the soil in your yard and add the fertilizer to it. Keep an eye on your yard for the next few weeks and observe all plants which sprout up. If the sandspur isn’t back, you’re in the clear.

Get the Professionals On Board

If all this sounds like too much work, you can easily get some professionals on board to do the heavy lifting for you. They can also be more knowledgeable about this and can help you get rid of sand spurs in the best way possible.

Remove Sand Spurs Using Herbicides

One of the quickest and most effective ways to eliminate sand spurs is the use of herbicides. We recommend using a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring (around March) and a herbicide at the end of September as fall approaches. Some pre-emergent we carry that can work on sand spurs are Prodiamine 65 WDG (Barricade Herbicide) and Oryzalin Pre Emergent Herbicide. For post-emergent control we recommend MSMA Target 6 Plus Herbicide 2.5 Gallon.


We hope this article has helped you to decide how to take action against the painful eyesores known as sand spurs. For more helpful lawn care advice, we are always available to talk to online at 800-479-6583, by email at askapro@solutionsstores.com or via live chat on our website.


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