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Sandbur control

How to Remove Sandbur From Your Lawn

Sandbur is one of the more annoying weeds that can emerge onto lawns pasturelands. If you have Sandbur on your lawn, you’re going to want to get rid of it as soon as you can because it could become troublesome to get rid of it. Sandbur control in lawns can be complicated, but luckily we have professional herbicides and pre-emergents that work.

Sandbur is a common invasive weed in dry, sandy soils and patchy lawns. What is perhaps the worst feature of the sandbur is the seedpod produced by the plant that can stick to clothing and pet fur and prick skin.

If you want to remove sandbur from your lawn, you first should do your research about this plant and find out what makes it thrive and what its strength and weaknesses are so you can use that knowledge to your advantage.

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn we will not only share with you the steps and methods of approaching Sandbur, we’ll also show you the best products to tackle this prickly invasive species and take your lawn back.

Browse our expert recommended products for sandbur control below and scroll further down to learn more about sandbur and view our easy-to-follow Solutions 4 step process on how to permanently remove sandbur from your yard.

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How To Get Rid of Sandbur: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step 1: Identification - First, are you completely sure that the unwanted vegetation that is growing on your lawn is actually sandbur? It is important to properly ID the plant you want to be removed because herbicide selections depend upon what type of grass or weed you have growing. Sandbur can be mistaken with a number of other frustrating grassy weeds. Being able to confirm the ID of the weed will help you to do the proper research regarding the plant and what cultural practices and chemical control options work best against it. If you mistakenly ID your weed as sandbur when it isn't, you may end up wasting time and money purchasing and applying chemical products that will not work against the weed on your lawn. This will set you up to be frustrated and disappointed with the results.


There are different species of sandbur but perhaps the most common of them all are field sandbur, longspine sandbur and southern sandbur. While these species have slight differences in their characteristics, what they all share are seed heads or fruit which are very spiny and are very painful because these spines are share enough to prick the skin. Trust us when we say you wouldn't want you or your kids to run across your lawn barefoot if sandbur is present because you'll be in for a world of hurt. Sandbur also commonly grow in sandy, low-fertility sites that go through a lot of stress or drought.


If you are not sure whether the weed on your lawn is sandbur or not, send a photo to us at identification@solutionsstores.com and we will properly ID the plant for you as well as give you the proper product recommendations and tips on how to kill goosegrass.


Step 2: Inspection - Once you have properly identified the grass as sandbur, you will need to inspect your lawn to see how big of an invasion you have. You wouldn’t want to do a full-blown chemical application if you only have a small outbreak as manually pulling them out should suffice. For a larger infestation it would be wiser to engage in chemical control.

As stated in step one, sandbur often rears its ugly, spiky seedheads in areas that are going through drought or thinning or are not getting the proper nutrition and attention the turf needs to survive and thrive.  With this being the case you may want to focus your inspection around those type of areas as these are where sandbur is typically found.

Determine the size of the infestation and where it is concentrated and then you can move onto step 3 and equip yourself for chemical treatments.


Step 3: Control -  Since sandbur is a Sandbur is an annual to a short-lived perennial, depending on the time of the year it is, you could be either using a pre-emergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide to keep the weed under control. The best time of the year to lay out a pre-emergent Prodiamine 65 WDG (Barricade Herbicide) or Oryzalin Pre Emergent Herbicide is in the early spring around February or March. You may have to do another pre-emergent application just before summer weather arrives such as around May. 


If sandbur has already had a breakthrough and emerged onto your lawn, there are a number of post-emergent options you can use to eliminate this problematic weed. MSMA Target 6 Plus Herbicide 2.5 Gallon was a widely used option for sandbur control but since it is now a restricted use herbicide, not everyone can purchase it so aside from this we recommend either Image Herbicide which contains the active ingredient imazapic and Pastora Herbicide. Use a pump sprayer for the most precise spray pattern and try your best not to get the product on your desired grass. Followup applications may be necessary after 7 to 10 days if the sandbur is being particularly stubborn and persistent.


Step 4: Prevention - Once you have gotten rid of the sandbur from your lawn, you will need to adapt some lawn maintenance practices which ensure that sandbur doesn't make a return. Integrated pest management is the best strategy for preventing sandbur. Some of the practices involve getting a good basic soil tests, correcting nutrient deficiencies, correcting drought stress via regular watering and proper irrigation and also selecting a grass that would be competitive on your lawn. By implementing these tips and applying pre-emergent at the right time of the year, you won't have a problem with sandbur any longer on your property.


Not the Weed Problem You Have? Check Out Our Other Weeds On Our Grassy Weed Control Page.

Learn More About Sandbur

Sandbur (Cenchrus spp.) is a grassy annual weed that is also commonly known as burgrass. It is quite a notorious invasive weed that is actually registered in 46 states as a noxious weed, so it's doesn't have many friends around the country. The plant is part of the Poaceae family and actually looks like normal grass earlier in the year before maturing into the noxious plant we all know and hate. By August, it bears burs which detach and carry seed. These are what prick us and make homeowners realize that it isn’t just a normal grass but actually an insidious weed that needs to be removed.

Sandbur is most common in the southern part of the United States, and in some western states like in Washington DC and Northern California. Perennial sandbur, which is the species of sandbur that overwinters, have been discovered in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico and can make for a quite difficult task to manage.

Although sandburs are versatile enough to growing in a nearly every type of soil, they thrive the most in regions that are dry and sandy, which is why they get their name. The weed germinates in spring, and continues through summer and fall, until the first frost kills it off.

Getting rid of sandbur is a arduous task that, if you are up for it, requires knowledge, diligence and a lot of patience. We have seen the most success in managing sandbur when cultural, biological and chemical methods are combined and there is a regular lawn maintenance schedule that is kept up with. However even with implementing all of this, it may take several years to bring a problem under control. Yes, it's that stubborn and prickly (literally).

A healthy competitive stand of grass (such as bermudagrass) is one of the best methods of managing sandbur, so carrying out a good nutrient program is essential to keep your selected grass vibrant and vigorous so it's well equipped to choke out any sandbur seeds that want to grow.

Another method that has proved to work against emerged sandbur is fire. A planned burn of sandbur weeds has shown to be effective because the fire can annihilate the outer seed capsule that houses the sandbur seed and aid in a more uniform germination of seedling sandburs. If you don't want to go through that, properly timed herbicide applications can "burn" this weed chemically and tackle the problem but we stress that timing is key if you wish to be successful in ridding your property of sandbur.

How To Effectively Control Sandbur

Recommended Pre and Post-emergent herbicides: Oxadiazon 2G Pre-Emergent Herbicide (Ronstar), MSMA Target 6 Plus, Imazapyr 4 SL Herbicide(Generic version of Image Herbicide which has the same active ingredient) Glyphosate 4 Plus Weed Killer Concentrate


The best way to eliminate sandbur is with a pre-emergent herbicide. Pre-emergent products kill the plant before it emerges from the soil, when it is a lot more susceptible to chemical applications. The best time to apply the product is before the soil temperature reaches 52 degrees Fahrenheit around March. A second application should be laid out in June.

If sandbur is already present on your lawn, you’ll have to use a post-emergent herbicide. We recommend MSMA but since this is a restricted use herbicide, an effective alternative is glyphosate or Roundup. Post-emergence control is most effective when the plants are young and small as they are more vulnerable during this time. These are applied when ambient temperatures are at least 75 degrees. As weeds mature, they become more difficult to kill and will begin to produce new seed. Post-emergent products also should be applied when no rain is expected and the sandburs are vigorously growing, in the spring and early summer.

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials

Sandbur Control Tips and Recommendations

  • Want your herbicide application to pack a better punch? Mix your selected weed killer with a  surfactant. This will help the herbicide to stick better to the plant so you see the best results.

  • Remember that the label is the law! Please read the manufacturer’s label carefully and follow directions. Application rates vary depending on the type of herbicide you are using so make sure you don’t overmix.

  • Wear long sleeved pants and clothing when using herbicides. Protect your eyes, skin, mouth and nose by wearing protective safety equipment any time you handle herbicide chemicals.

  • Want to learn more detailed ways of applying herbicides? Browse our knowledge base or view our informative How-To Videos available to view anytime.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying

For more detailed information on controlling Sandbur on your lawn and to get specialized free advice for your lawn, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

Additional Resources On Sandbur Control

[PDF] Field Sandbur Control for Lawns - University of Missouri Extension


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