It may seem a bit early for lawncare, but grassy sandburs must be controlled before seeds germinate, according to Robert Torres of the Pratt County Noxious Weed Department.
Right about late June and into July people start calling my office asking me, "How do I get rid of those stickers in my grass?"
Well, at that point it is too late, all you can do is keep them mowed and try to keep the seeds from maturing.
As director of noxious weeds in Pratt County, I would like to remind everyone that now is the time to control grassy sandburs. Though grass sandburs are not declared noxious weeds by the state, we all know they are very a obnoxious, frustrating, irritating and even painful problem.
To control grassy sandbur, the grass with stickers sticking up on stems, we need to act now. Grassy sandbur is an annual weed, which means it reproduces by seed each year. Other grasses which are perennials, grow back each year from the roots. To control grass sandburs from growing, one must stop the seed from germinating.
To keep grassy sandburs out of the lawn, driveway, the back 40, wherever, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil early in spring, before the seeds germinate. A pre-emergent herbicide will kill the newly germinated seed and keep the plant from growing. A pre-emergent herbicide will not harm your annual grasses, such as early season Kentucky Blue Grass or various species of rye grass. It will not harm annual warm season grasses such as buffalo grass or Bermuda grass. It will however, prevent the growth of any seed, so don't plan on planting a flower or vegetable garden, because the pre-emergent herbicide will stop those seeds from germinating. When applying that pre-emergent herbicide watch the wind and do not let the herbicide drift to areas you plan on planting seeds.
For more information on controlling grass sandburs visit http://www.ford.k-state.edu/news/controlling-grassy-sandburs.html. This will explain further how to control the germination of the seed, thus preventing the growth of the plant. The article written by Ward Upham, Extension Associate, will also recommend various pre-emergent herbicides hi research has found beneficial in controlling grass sandburs.
As with any pre-ermergent herbicide, the idea is to get the herbicide into the soil before the seeds germinate, so we all need to get our pre-emergent applied before or about April 15. Visit a local co-op, discuss the application of the herbicide, get the herbicide, and then on a warm, no-windy day, apply it to areas where grassy sandburs are not wanted. Reapplication in year two may prove beneficial in controlling those dormant seeds in the seed bed.
For more information feel free to contact, me, Robert Torres, Pratt County Noxious Weed, at (620) 672-4127, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.