Killing sandspurs!

karen_florida(9)May 18, 2009

My kingdom for a camera! I don't have one, but I'll describe this the best I can:

I'm looking for a way to get rid of a weed we always called sandspurs when I was a kid. I tried Googling this, but the "sandspurs" in the pictures aren't the same kind in my yard.

What Google calls sandspurs are that type that has a an inch-or-so-long prickly burr on a stalk, like a stiff little caterpillar on a stick, or a prickly little cob of corn.

The kind in my yard is the one that has star-shaped spurs, that come on the end of a stalk just like a "flower" of spurs. At the end of the stalk are flower-like structures with radiating spokes, and at the end of each spoke of the little wheel or flower or whatever is a nasty little burr where the "petals" of the flower ought to be.

I'm trying to find out what the actual name of that kind of sandspur is, so I can work on finding ways to kill it.

I've been pulling and pulling and PULLING them, but it turns out that every single clump of what looked like grass a month ago is actually one of these darn weeds!

Can you guys help?

Thank you very much for any advice you might have.

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Is this what you are calling sand spurs?

If so, I'm kinda confused because I'm used to only seeing them here late summer through winter.

Anyway, I've only ever managed to get rid of them by smothering and improving the soil. In other words, I cover the area with cardboard and create a lasagna type garden which will improve the soil and let me avoid mowing while smothering out the weeds and painful sand spurs. So far they don't seem to have re-appeared anywhere that I have smothered them out but I've only lived in this house a couple years. There was one big section of my side yard that had them bad a couple of summers ago so I smothered that with cardboard and wood chips, there is now grass comming up in patches but no sand spurs so far. Another place I smothered them has been a garden for two winters and one summer and now a spring season and the sand spurs haven't come back there either. The other areas that I smothered them and it was really bad late last summer, has only been covered over since fall and I wouldn't expect to see them trying to come back till late summer so I don't know if improving the soil there has helped.

Now if you can't turn the whole area into a lasagna garden and want to keep it as lawn, I've heard that improving the soil should help keep them from comming back next year. I don't know if that works very well though as we are not to my sand spur season yet and the part of the front yard that I only spread mushroom compost on will have to wait and see if it worked.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 5:14PM
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Like tclynx said, your soil is poor.

Plant more and throw down as much organic matter as possible.
oak leaves, pine needles, coffee grounds etc & you'll have less of those sandspurs and fire ants too. The sand spurs are natural to these parts without organic matter. I dealt with the same problem when I first moved in here. You can do it!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 5:48PM
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try: Cenchrus incertus or field sandbur
OR Cenchrus echinatus/southern sandbur

I was think that these were sedges but that is not the case. Anyway the names should help.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 5:49PM
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we called em stickers (West Palm Beach) and had contests on who could run barefoot through a vacant yard of em lol.

I have them in my yard because we don't weed/feed, just pull them continually. They will continue seeding from past seeds left in ground and may take years to clear out. Just try to get them before they set seeds (stickers).

When it doesn't rain for a week I use round-up.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 9:01PM
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The besy way to get rid of the many varieties of sandspurs
is LOVE. Water them and fertilise them and they will go away
all on their own. It may take a season or 2 but they will go away with water and fert. The purple ones are the worst.
Behind the beach dunes grow the best spurs in the world. When we were kids we used to throw friends/enemies rainbow
$25 flip flops into the vacant lots. If you were not careful
retreving your flip flops you might hit a patch of stining nettles. Give me spurs anyday. Kids are mean.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:20AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I think that's right - ever since I started mowing w/ a mulching mower & steadily improving the soil in my sandy yard, sandspurs have disappeared.They do not like organic matter, seemingly. Same thing happened w/ the fire ants = )

& @ 1st, I was pulling every clump I came across - & the runners can be very long, so I learned to follow them out to the end & pull the entire clump w/o leaving anything behind - especially the seedheads.After a few years, I had no more spurs & haven't seen (or stepped on) any in decades.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:51PM
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Please help. I had new sod put in and for awhile there were not many sand spurs. That was 2 years ago. I keep my lawn fertilized and watered. I now have a yard full of sand spurs and do not know how to get rid of them. I have called every lawn service and they can not help. I also looked on the USF lawn extension program and nothing there to help. i have been digging them out but that will take an army!!
I cannot even let my grandchildren go play in the yard!!!
Please help!! Any suggestion or tried and true tricks will be most appreciated. thanks, jazzelise

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Preemerge and use 26- 0- 0 or about, do early b4 grass gets going..then in winter plant turnip seeds...the soil is void of nitrogen...turnip pull nitrogen from the atmsphr naturally. U will c major improvements
Also find a feed store and put or corn gluten...n early spring

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:34PM
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Maybe this will help.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to get rid of sandspurs

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 2:55PM
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