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Barefootin'

Posted by Leekle2ManE Lade Lake, FL 9a (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 16, 12 at 11:41

As the title suggests, I am a huge fan of going barefoot, especially in my own yard. The problem is: sandspurs. When I moved into my house two years ago, sandspurs were everywhere. I did my research and found out that the best way to control them was to basically choke them out. Since they despise competition, a healthy lawn was the way to get rid of them. In the two years, I have managed to put a fair sized dent in the sandspur population in my yard and much of my yard has grass to keep it from coming back (in theory).

I still wander my yard on a weekly basis, pulling up any sandpurs I see. And in the past two weeks, it seems like I have been pulling up more and more. My 'lawn' is a thick mix of St. Augustine and Bermuda and other 'weeds'. By all rights, from what I had learned, the sandspurs should be having a hard time growing as there is tons of competition and almost no bare spots in the yard for them to get a footing. But here they are, growing like mad through the grass, even through the thick Bermuda 'carpets'.

I have pretty much sworn off most herbicides/fertilizers after Mother Nature played her hand this spring and completely showed me up in lawn care (her rains do SO much more good for a lawn than fertilizers could ever do). I will, however, be applying an organic weed'n'feed this fall and next spring that is supposed to help control crabgrass. BUT, I would almost be willing to nuke my entire yard if it meant being rid of sandspurs for good. Has anyone found a good cure for this annoying weed/grass other than perseverance?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Barefootin'

I lived in West Palm for 5 years and also tackled sand spurs. When I first encountered them, I couldn't believe nature could be so mean. St. Augustine is not much competition for them. The best way to combat them is to mow the lawn short during the cooler months, and allow it to get real tall during the wet summer. When you lower the mower blades in Oct., the seed stalks get cut because they have been reaching for the light.


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RE: Barefootin'

Thank you for that suggestion. I mow my yard at 3" currently. Adding another inch for the remainder of the summer shouldn't hurt too much.


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RE: Barefootin'

Well, last week I set my blade to 4". This week, I have unexpected fruit. It is both fortunate and unfortunate however. Thanks to the sandspurs trying to growing upward through the grass, they are a lot easier to spot and pull. However, I have learned that I had not put nearly as large a dent in their population as I had thought. The jerks appear to have been spreading under the bermuda and then rising upward. Really stealth-like and sneaky. But they didn't adapt their tactics too well to the new mower height and now I'm seeing them.

However, I have been mulling over this idea of letting them grow upward and then mowing low in October. Won't this just spread the seeds around the yard more? Or does this tactic require the use of a bagger mower to collect the seeds as they're cut? If so, I may have to borrow someone's since mine is a mulching deck.


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RE: Barefootin'

Don't let them go to seed! One year to seed, 7 years to weed. If your grass is thick enough, and not sparse, you can alternate the mowing. Or mow low every other week, skipping a week. The thing is to allow them to put their energy into flowers and then whack them. They will starve.


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RE: Barefootin'

By 'seeds' I mean the briars. Are the briars the flowers? Well, I guess they would have to be. I have found them in various stages from just emerging from their 'sleeve' of grass to fully extended, but I have never seen anything else that looks like a flower. At which point do they become viable seeds?


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