Combating Stickers in Your Grass

Stickers, Spurweed, Sticker Grass, Bindi Weed: no matter what you call it, Soliva Sessilis is a nuisance. If you have walked barefoot through a yard with these weeds or worn your shoes into a house with carpet after tromping through the territory of this weed, you are sure to know exactly what this is. The tiny, flat, sharp seeds- a.k.a. sitckers- are not only annoying but painful to the barefoot individual and can make it hard to enjoy your yard in the spring and summer time. If you are looking for a solution to this pain in the foot, read on to learn how to manage this weed.

 

Soliva Sessilis is a broadleaf annual in the Daisy family that grows during the winter months. As the plant matures, it grows small yellow flowers and produces flat seeds with sharp points. These seeds grow in seed heads and hold 5-10 seeds per head, while each plant can host 1-10 (or more) seed heads. Get a yard full of these plants, and it can become near impossible to walk through your yard without encountering these seeds.

 

If you are wanting to get ahead of the production of these seeds, or “stickers,” then the good news is that you still have time! Winter is the best time to work on management of these weeds since they are in the production stage, and the seeds have yet to grow and mature. Meaning that if you can kill these weeds before the seeds can even develop, then you are one step closer to a sticker free yard in the spring.

 

To kill these weeds, you can use a labeled herbicide typically from December through February as most summer grasses are dormant during these months and therefore will not be harmed by the herbicide, according to LSU AgCenter. Periodically check your yard through these months to ensure new growth is not happening and spray a second application if needed.

 

Of course, the best practice would be to prevent this weed before emergence. After you spray this winter to kill the existing plants, you should continue to work through the rest of the seasons to completely get ahead for the next year. Weeds seem like they will do anything to survive, but believe it or not, weeds like Soliva Sessilis require perfect conditions to survive. These weeds thrive in worn down, patchy and bare grass areas. They love the sun and dry conditions.  

 

One of the biggest competitions for this weed is a healthy turf grass. As turf grass grows and thrives, it will begin to choke out this weed. So as you go through the Spring and Summer months, focus on nurturing your grass.

 

  • Grow your grass.

Work towards getting your grass to fill in. Weeds like their own space. Don’t leave room for these weeds to be able to take root.

 

  • Water often.

Sticker weeds do not like water!!! Watering your yard will not cause them to grow more, but instead do the opposite. They thrive in dry conditions, so keeping your yard watered well will essentially drown them out. Watering also will help your turf grass grow and as discussed above, will provide more competitive conditions for the weeds. Consider installing a sprinkler system so you can have your yard watered regularly on schedule.

 

  • Mow correctly.

Be sure not to cut your grass too short which creates several ways for weeds to be more competitive. Too short of a grass canopy can allow for weeds to emerge. Also, depending on your grass type, cutting it too short can cause it to become damaged and kill off your grass in patches which will open space for weeds to develop.

 

Consider having a professional maintain your yard to ensure it is cut at the correct length. (Folks in North Louisiana, call Fairy Yardfathers to get on their schedule.) Be sure to let them know you are dealing with stickers so they will know to cut the blades at the correct height.

 

The issue continues with existing seeds. Since these seeds can lie dormant before conditions are met for germination, that means you can kill all the weeds in your yard, but any seeds produced in the past could still be present in the soil and your feet can still feel their presence. While most people choose to let time and nature have its way while continuing to deal with the nuisance of the stickers, there are ways to get these stickers out of your yard faster and some get pretty creative.

  • Bag your yard clippings as you mow

  • Pass over your yard with a fleece wrapped weighted roller

  • Wrap fleece around your shoes and walk through your yard

  • Press large styrofoam blocks from shipping packages over sticker areas

  • Throw cotton balls on the ground and rake them up

No matter what, just know you don’t have to deal with the nuisance of these weeds and can have a beautiful, sticker free yard to enjoy. Begin management now and continue to nourish your yard throughout the year and soon enough you will have a beautiful and sticker free yard! Look into hiring a professional to help you get the best care for your lawn that you can get and you will be able to manage these weeds in the most convenient way possible.

 

Do you have a tried and true method that isn’t mentioned above? Drop a comment below and share your ideas!! We love to hear the ideas of our followers!

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