how to get rid of stickers in the lawn
Tips & Tricks

How to Get Rid of Stickers in the Yard

Sticker weeds, commonly called “stickers,” are winter weeds that grow annually and low to the ground. Their leaves are sparsely hairy and divided twice into narrow lobes or segments, while the flowers are difficult to see. The plant’s fruits are in the leaf axils. 

Sticker weeds are often a nuisance because they have sharp spines that can cause injury when touched. The prickly spines also allow the fruit to stick easily to hair and clothing, hence the popular name “sticker weed.” It’s best to understand that the popular name refers to a few species of plant that produce prickly stickers. 

Various sticker weed species wreak havoc amongst homeowners. While each species grows differently, they produce prickly fruit that sticks to hair and clothing and is a nuisance to try and remove. 

Here are some reasons why your yard has so many stickers and possible remedies for getting rid of them:

Why Does My Yard Have so Many Stickers

Burweed is the most common type of sticker weed that you’ll encounter in your yard. It blends very easily with your yard, and it might not have visible flowers on them. Therefore, it’s possible not to see them unless you get very close. 

Burweed germinates during the early fall and dies in the spring. The seeds become stickers as the burweed starts to die off. They are not only annoying but also painful when stepped on. 

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Getting rid of burweed in your yard might seem complicated; however, it’s doable. Additionally, you must know about them before devising a plan to eliminate them. Here are some facts about stickers:

  • Stickers don’t like a healthy lawn because, in a healthy lawn, they have to fight or compete with other weeds to survive for nutrition.
  • They hate water
  • The stickers’ seeds are the main culprits, and your pet might help the seed to spread all over your lawn; therefore, you must control the spread.
  • If the stickers are in the primary stage, you can pick them easily because their roots don’t go deep enough to make them hard. 

Remedies for Stickers in the Yard

Here are some remedies to help you get rid of stickers in the yard:

Use Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Using pre-emergent herbicides is effective in battling stickers as they sprout. However, it’s best to understand that herbicides can only be successful if used correctly. For example, before using a pre-emergent herbicide, it’s best to understand when the sticker weed species tend to sprout. 

For instance, most burweed plants are cool weather sprouts; therefore, it’s best to treat your lawn before they emerge. A good time for this is towards the end of the warm season, usually in late summer or early fall. 

Apply MSMA for Stickers

MSMA works best in eradicating stickers. You can apply it as directed; however, the best time to apply MSMA for stickers is between May and July.

However, it’s best to understand that MSMA is not eco-friendly and can harm your pets or kids. Nevertheless, getting rid of stickers is a tough job that requires extraordinary measures. Therefore, you can apply MSMA when you’re away for a few days. 

Mow the Lawn and Bag Your Grass

You can easily control stickers by mowing your lawn super short. Therefore, your lawnmower’s height adjustment should be only a few notches. 

It would help if you also had a bag on your mower because mowing without one will spread more stickers in your yard. If you have the bag in place, you can mow your lawn for at least three days in the first week. 

Although mowing your lawn can eliminate stickers, it’s also advisable to use some treatment to kill off any roots the weeds might have left behind. 

Manually Rake or Pick the Stickers Up

If you didn’t use pre-emergent herbicides to eliminate the stickers, you could manually rake or pick up the stickers as you see them. However, it’s best to ensure that you’re wearing protective gloves because the stickers might hurt to the touch without the gloves.

If you use this method to eliminate stickers, you should also pair it with another method because it’s easy to overlook some burweed plants accidentally. 

Use Post-Emergent Herbicides

Unlike pre-emergent herbicides, post-emergent herbicides kill weeds that have already grown. Therefore, when treating weeds with a post-emergent herbicide, it’s best to be cautious only to treat the affected area because failure to do so could lead to the death of your grass along with the weeds. 

Tips for Using Herbicides

Using herbicides might be the fastest way to kill stickers in the yard. However, it’s best to understand that many commercial herbicides use a mixture of chemicals; therefore, it’s best to follow usage instructions and safety directions closely. Following safety instructions will ensure you don’t hurt yourself or ingest harmful chemicals during use. 

Here are some important safety tips to consider when using herbicides:

Read the Product Label

Reading and familiarizing yourself with the product label is always best before using any herbicide. The product label lists all ingredients used in the chemical mixture and any safety warnings you should be aware of. 

In many cases, there will also be specific instructions on the label for using the product safely and effectively. 

Wear Protective Gear

When using herbicides, you’re coming into close contact with a mixture of chemicals that might be harmful if ingested or splashed on the skin. Therefore, ensure that you wear protective clothing such as goggles, pants, long sleeves, gloves, and anything else that can protect you from the substances. 

Close Off the Lawn for 24 to 48 Hours After Spraying

It’s best to section off your lawn for one to two days after spraying it. Doing so gives the herbicide time to work undisturbed and prevents humans and pets from possibly coming into contact with the chemicals used. 

Walking through your lawn while the herbicide is still fresh can cause you to develop breathing complications or other heart problems. 

Will Burning Your Yard Get Rid of Stickers?

Burning stickers kills the roots, so they don’t grow back. So instead, you can burn small sticker patches using a hand torch. Here’s how to go about it:

  • First, wet the grass around the stickers patches so they’re less likely to burn.
  • Put on safety glasses and work gloves before you start working. Then, you can use a propane hand torch to have the most control. 
  • Turn on the torch and point the flame at stickers. 
  • Burn the plant down to the roots, so it doesn’t grow back in.
  • Keep your hose nearby to extinguish the flame as soon as you finish.
  • You can also try pouring boiling water on a small patch of stickers to kill the plants, but be careful because it could kill nearby plants or grass. 

Will Vinegar Kill Stickers?

You can choose vinegar if you want to kill stickers without using herbicides. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a rake or shovel to scoop up loose burweeds and stickers that you can easily remove. Once done, dispose of the burweeds in the trash.
  • Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. 
  • Spray the vinegar heavily over the stickers. It’s best to focus directly on the stickers because the vinegar can sometimes kill off the surrounding grass with which it comes in contact. 
  • Repeat the application daily until the burrs and stickers are killed off. Then, you can collect the dead stickers with a rake and shovel and discard them. 

Burweeds and other sticker plants are a nuisance to most homeowners. They have sharp spines that can cause injury when touched and are also a pain to remove from hair and clothing. 

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As annoying as they might be, the elimination tips above will help you eliminate stickers in the yard.