Question of the Week: October 19, 2017

“Neil, how can I eliminate grassburs? They’re awful this year.”

I don’t have good news for people who are asking this question. Those burs are next year’s seed crop, so it’s already way too late to worry about dealing with them this year. There is nothing you can do about them now.

Photo: Grassbur populations are rampant this year and people are certainly complaining about them!

The truth is, we have almost no way of eliminating existing grassbur (aka “sandbur” or “stickerbur”) plants. When MSMA went away seven or eight years ago, so did our one product to get rid of existing weed grasses within our bermuda lawns.

Prevention is your key…
If you want to live life without any more grassburs, your secret is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide before their seeds start to sprout in the spring. These are mostly granular products that home gardeners apply with a fertilizer spreader.

The pre-emergents provide about 100 days of protection, and since our growing season is much longer than that, a second “booster shot” application is needed later on.

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Your simplified details…
Follow these steps and you should make drastic reductions in your population of grassburs, crabgrass and other annual, warm-season, grassy weeds.

Products from which you can choose include Team, Dimension, Balan and Halts.

Timing will vary with where you are in the state. You can determine it yourself. Find the average date for the last killing freeze in your area. Apply the pre-emergent granules two weeks prior to that date.

As examples, in South Texas that might be the last two weeks of February. In North Central Texas it would be the first two weeks of March.

Repeat that application 90 days (3 months) later. Both treatments are absolutely required. If you miss either one, you will definitely have grassburs and crabgrass back again.

Watch e-gardens for updates in late winter. If the weather is unusually warm or unseasonably cold as treatment time approaches, it might cause a shift in application dates. I will keep you notified here and on my Facebook page.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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