How to Get Rid of Stickers or Sand Burrs

How To Get Rid Of Stickers - Acre Life
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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

  1. Pull them out at the roots – This works well if you have sporadic sticker plants
  2. Burn the entire plant – Worked OK, however, we noticed that they came back bigger the 2nd year
  3. Spray with chemicals – Worked the best but the tradeoff is that you are using chemicals
  4. Pick up seed heads that have fallen off of the plant – A must to avoid re-germination


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.

Worth Garden Stand-Up Weeder and Root Removal Tool – Ergonomic Weed Puller with A 33” Tall Handle and Foot Pedal – Easy Weed Grabber Made from Rust-Resistant Steel – 3 Year Warranty


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.


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.


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 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.

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By Stephanie

I am so glad that you are visiting Acre Life. I am a city girl who recently moved to the country and am trying to figure out how to build our dream acreage. I hope that you will join me on this journey and follow my progress. I'll let you know what works and what doesn't so that you don't have to make the same mistakes that I do.


  1. Hi there, thanks for the article. I’m in Central Queensland, Australia and looking around the internet to get rid of these horrific prickly foot spikes! They stick to my dog, hurt like hell, and are just plain nasty. I’m going to try a combination of your suggestions, starting with spot burning. Thanks so much.

    1. The trick is pre-emergent seed killer twice a year in late summer in my climate zone in California. Before the rains germinate seeds. Then any stragglers that get later rain, will be killed before the ground warms and rain germinated. The old stickers are going to still be troublesome for feet, shoes and pets until they get stuck to something.

  2. I’ve used MSMA to effectively kill the plants but does it render the grassbur–which is the actual seed–ineffective so that it can’t germinate?

  3. Thank you for all of your insight we are definitely going to purchase a sticker picker for our 5ac. Is there an animal we could pasture that eats stickers? Also how important is it to pull the sticker plant from its root? If this is the only way to have success, how do you identify what is a sticker plant when the burs have not grown yet? Do both male and female plants have burs? I assume you need to pull both sexes to have success.
    Thank you for your post
    Edisto S.C.

  4. Thanks for this information. It has become imposible for my children to have fun without getting stikies. I purchased the roller can’t wait to use it.

  5. Thank you! I’m a city girl moving to the country too. Our new place is covered in stickers. That was the only thing I didn’t like about it. It’s 2 acres, so I’m hoping it’s doable.

    1. I’m so excited for you Cortney! I think you will love it in the country. 2 acres is definitely doable to get rid of your stickers. Start this year and don’t let up. I would suggest starting with the grass closest to your house and then work your way out. If you can pull them before they drop their heads you will have less next year. Just keep repeating and I promise you will start to see results. Good luck!!!

  6. We have an abundance of grass burrs on out approx 3+ acre area around our country home.
    We are thinking about getting a pull behind grass catcher to see if this will collect the burrs.
    Have you ever used this or know anyone who has?

    Thank you

    1. We were actually talking about getting one of those this year also. I think it will work great especially if you mow often and can pick up the burrs while they are still green. I was out pulling what was left in the chicken run yesterday and the burrs are purple now and stating to fall off of the stems. We will have to mow one last time and then pick up what we can with the sticker picker. Good luck! If you get a grass catcher let me know how it does.

      1. The stickers or sand burrs thrive in the heat and dry soil because they have no competition from other vegetation. If you have grass in the same area, keep it watered so that the grass can choke out the sticker growth. Also keep the area cut short so that the stickers don’t have a chance to go to seed. And if they do go to seed try to pull the entire plant before you mow or you will scatter the seeds.

  7. I’m so glad that I helped. This year we have had the fewest number of stickers in the 7 years that we have lived here and I know that it is because the sticker picker has eliminated so many of the seeds from producing new plants. Good luck and congrats on your new house!

  8. This was an incredibly helpful article! We are about to close on a house that has these nasty grass burrs in the back yard. I’m worried about our dog getting them in his feet, so I’ve been obsessively researching how to get rid of them. I see post after post about how to get rid of the plant, but not the actual burrs. I just showed my husband the link for the sticker picker! We will definitely be ordering one. It’s going to be way cheaper than my original (panicked) suggestion of tearing up the whole yard and putting sod down…

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