By: Scott Eckert, County Extension Agent, Horticulture
A grass with stickers! That may be the easiest way to describe Sandbur. Sandbur is a warm-season annual grass weed that produces sharp, spiny burs. It is difficult to control and hard to recognize before the burs form. There is no satisfactory control after the burs form except hand removal.
Sandbur germinates a few weeks after crabgrass but to be safe, a pre-emergence herbicide should be applied at the normal time for crabgrass. Only a few pre-emergence herbicides are labeled for sandbur. Special label rates or repeat applications, or both, must be used for sandbur control. Pendimethalin (Scott?s Halts), Surflan, and XL are the best choices for preventative sandbur control. Note that Surflan and XL cannot be used on Kentucky bluegrass. These products must be watered in within 3 days after application using 1/2 inch of water or more.
Sandbur also can be controlled in the seedling stage of growth. Professional lawn care companies have access to other post-emergence products that are very effective on
sandbur. No product will make the burs disappear once they have formed. Burs formed in previous years remain on the soil surface, creating a nuisance. Again, hand removal is the