Sandbur, sandspur, buffelgrass, burr grass or sticker. Whatever you call it, the plant is pure evil. In case you missed my previous post about my battle with the sticker plants invading our acreage, you can read about it here. When I say battle, I mean a relentless, pull out all the weapons, battle.
Unfortunately, this battle hasn’t ended in success YET. But I am not giving up until they are ALL gone.
My number one mode of defense is to pull the plant out by the root. I know, it doesn’t sound fun or glamorous but it has to be done. You have to prevent those seeds from dropping onto the ground and becoming next year’s enemy.
That brings me to defense plan number two. Pick up as many of the fallen seeds as possible before they have a chance to bury themselves into the ground. The plan is to prevent the plant from multiplying rather than trying to kill it once it surfaces.
We have a VERY large area of infestation and I can’t possibly pull all of them. So defense plan number three is to keep the area mowed. Easier said than done on ten acres. So I have decided to concentrate on smaller areas until all of the sandburs are gone. The front, back, and side yard are almost completely sandbur free. Now I am concentrating on the area immediately behind the fenced back yard to the back of the chicken coop. I would eventually like to move the fence back farther to allow Bear more space to run. That area is where I pull the sandburs and it is only mowed with the bagger on and only after I have made sure that there are no sandburs on the tires.
We are spraying a pre-emergent and post-emergent weed killer in the spring and fall and will continue with that plan every year. However, I do not believe that this is the way to eradicate the sandbur plant. Remove it any way you can!
Life Cycle of a Sand Burr
The plants come up in the spring with all of the other new growth. This is the ideal time to begin to pull them before the burrs sprout. That’s not as easy as you would think. You have to know how to identify the plant without the obvious show of the prickly sandbur. If you’ve dealt with them long enough you will probably be about to find them.
The spikey burrs, stickers, or whatever you call them will begin to emerge in the hot summer months. When this occurs it is important to keep the area mowed often to prevent the burrs from multiplying and being scattered. In the summer the sand burrs are green and stay connected to the plant until they are disturbed. Even then they cling to the plant pretty well.
In early fall the sand burrs are ready to spread their spikes and leave the plant. That is where I’m at now with my enemy. I know it’s time to take serious action when I walk through them and my pants and shoes are covered. This is a critical time in the battle!!! Remove as many spikey seeds as you can from your yard now so that they can’t grow in the spring.
Status of the War
I really thought I was ready to take a victory lap at the beginning of summer. I went out once a week and pulled five to ten plants and that was it! But then it happened. It rained, and rained, and rained some more. I got busy and stopped going out to pull the few plants that popped up. It seemed like overnight they were everywhere. It was hot, I had other things to do, and many more excuses that I wish I hadn’t made.
But I won’t give up. This past weekend (the first weekend in October) I mowed the area with a bagger attached. I was careful not to bring sand burrs from other very overrun areas of the yard. Next weekend I will go over everything with the Sticker Picker and pick up any of the fallen burrs.
I have heard from several of the “wise” neighbors that the sand burrs have a seven-year cycle and this is our sixth year in this house. So I am feeling confident that I will be taking that victory lap very soon.
Let me know how your battle is going by commenting below. If we can all share our knowledge maybe we can get the upper hand on this cunning warrior.