Q: I have sandspurs growing all over my yard. How do I get rid of them? The seeds are sticking on the fur of my dogs and when I pet them, I get stuck.
A: It is difficult to control any weed once it has reached the mature stages of producing flowers and seeds. Right now, removing the seed heads would be beneficial. If you have a bag attachment to your mower you can gather the seed heads while mowing to reduce the chance they will produce more weeds next year.
We do not recommend putting weed killer on lawns this time of year as the chemicals can stress or even kill the grass you wish to protect. The best management practice is to have a healthy lawn which means watering, mowing and fertilizing properly. If you have areas where the grass had died then the weeds have an opportunity to thrive.
A pre-emergent herbicide can be used to reduce the likelihood of seeds from the sandspur to germinate next year. This pre-emergent herbicide should be applied in the late winter or early spring. Look at the local garden centers for products used to control crabgrass and you will probably notice they are also used to manage sandspur. Please follow the directions on the label and apply at the appropriate time of year – late summer is too late. Painting glyphosate (Round-up) on the green leaves of the sandspur now will destroy the plant, too, but not necessarily the seed. Do not spray glyphosate as this chemical kills everything green – good grass as well.