How to Get Rid of Stickers or Sand Burrs
Stickers Are My Enemy! If you have stickers or sand burrs in your yard I’m sure you feel my pain. And when I say feel my pain, I mean it literally. I had had a little piece of the sticker embedded in my hand for months before it finally stopped hurting and went away. When we first moved onto our acreage we noticed a lot of stickers. There were so many other projects to take care of that we didn’t even worry about them the first year. In year two we realized that we had a severe problem that we needed to take care of before it got worse.
Since our lawnmower didn’t have a bagger on it, we were spreading sticker seeds everywhere each time we mowed. That combined with the fact that we weren’t treating the stickers with any weedkiller caused an increase in the population every year. I didn’t want to spray any chemicals, so we resorted to pulling them. This method worked well in the areas that had bermudagrass. The healthy bermuda has been effective in keeping the stickers out. Unfortunately, we don’t have grass on most of our property and the stickers and weeds are winning the fight.
The Sticker Battle Plan
- Pull them out at the roots – This works well if you have sporadic sticker plants
- Burn the entire plant – Worked OK, however, we noticed that they came back bigger the 2nd year
- Spray with chemicals – Worked the best but the tradeoff is that you are using chemicals
- Pick up seed heads that have fallen off of the plant – A must to avoid re-germination
Plan #1 PULLING
I used to go out every morning for about 2 hours to pull stickers. It was effective but time-consuming. I realized there was no way that I would ever win the battle against the stickers. I would only recommend choosing this method if you have a small area of stickers and if you pull them as soon as you begin to see them produce seeds. Below is an affiliate link to the tool that I use to save my back from having to bend over.
Plan #2 BURNING
We have burned the entire plant for two years in a row. The first year we spot burned in early summer and they didn’t come back for the rest of the year. We thought that was going to be the way to get rid of them without having to use chemical weed killer. However, the next year they came back and seemed to be bigger.
We heard from several people that it takes seven years to completely kill off so we thought we would continue to burn them every year for seven years. The problem with that plan was that in year two we burned the stickers and all of the weeds and grass surrounding them. With nothing to compete with the stickers came back with a vengeance in year three!
In hindsight, I think that adding some grass seed after we burned the area would have been a better plan. Then there would have been some healthy vegetation to choke out the stickers the next year.
Plan #3 SPRAYING
Spraying chemicals is the least appealing method to me, but we had to try it. We tried Round-Up and it worked ok, but we have an extensive area that is affected. Our neighbor used Pastora last year and said he didn’t have ANY stickers this year. So I reluctantly decided to use it this year. We don’t have any chickens or bees on our acreage right now so I figured if we were going to try it this would be the time to do it.
Although the label says that there are no grazing restrictions I don’t think that I can recommend using this product if you have any grazing animals that will come into contact with the sprayed area. But if you are treating an area that you can keep animals off of this seems to have worked like it said it would. Pastora is a potent chemical. You need to read all of the restrictions and directions to decide if it can and should be used on your property. You can read the Pastora label here.
We purchased a bagger for our zero turn mower last year and have been bagging most of the stickers rather than scattering them. Two weeks ago we mowed the area closest to the house. Then sprayed the Pastora according to the directions. We were amazed that we didn’t see any stickers re-growing. The label said that you could apply it again in 2 weeks so we repeated the process yesterday.
A few weeks later we did see a few places that the stickers were starting to grow, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that the second application will take care of them. If this works, then we will have won the battle (on the front 5 acres). The stickers aren’t as thick as this on the back 5 acres because we don’t mow it as often so we haven’t spread them as much. We also didn’t burn out there so the stickers are competing with the field grass. We will be preparing that area for a fall planting of wildflowers soon.
Plan #4 REMOVING SEEDS
To break the cycle, we needed to pick up the seeds that have dropped over the years. Our first attempt was very successful. We had an 8’x10′ shag rug that we chained to the Mule and drug around. It picked up thousands of stickers!!! Next, we got some old carpet and tried to pick up more. It was a tightly woven house carpet and we picked up about four stickers. Too bad we couldn’t travel back to the 70’s and pick up some shag carpet.
We came across The Sticker Picker during our research online to find out how other people have had success. It is the most wonderful invention! We were able to fill 3 sleeves with stickers in 1 afternoon. Visit their website www.thestickerpicker.net for more information and to find a distributor near you (I am not affiliated with this company and will not receive any monetary compensation). They have two sizes to fit your need. We got the medium with replacement sleeves.
Me vs. Stickers
I feel like I have won the battle but probably not the war. But I know that it will be a fight to their death because I am NOT giving up. I have learned some valuable information over the last several years so I feel like I am better equipped to get rid of the stickers. The key is to stop the spreading of the seeds and to provide healthy grass or wildflowers to choke the stickers out. I’ll keep you updated on the progress and give you more in-depth information about each method we used.