Field sandburs, also known as sticker burs or grassburs, can be a pesky problem for those in San Antonio, Texas. These prickly weeds are especially prevalent in our region and can quickly take over your lawn if left unchecked. Understanding the lifecycle of sandburs is crucial in effectively managing and preventing them.


In San Antonio, sandburs typically germinate in the spring around March or April, continue to germinate throughout the summer months, and can even germinate into early fall. To prevent sandburs from taking root in your lawn, it is recommended to start by applying pre-emergent products in late winter or early spring (mid Feb – Mid March), before the seeds have a chance to sprout.


Preventing Sticker Burs (Grass Burs) with Pre-Emergent Weed Control

You also MUST make TWO MORE follow up applications throughout the year.

Pre-emergent products options for preventing sticker burs in spring and summer include:

The schedule goes as follows:

  • First application of spring pre-emergent should be applied mid Feb – mid March
  • Second application of spring pre-emergent occurs 90 days later. (It’s worth noting that if you miss the first application, don’t bother with the second one; it won’t do anything.)
  • Third application is when you apply your pre-emergent again in the early fall (mid August – mid September). (Choose Fertilome Broadleaf Control with Gallery in the fall as this product controls both broadleaf weeds and sticker burs.)

These three applications throughout the year should be sufficient preventive control for sticker burs (grass burs) in home landscapes. Make sure to REALLY water it in well. You don’t want to wash away the product, but you want to make sure it’s sufficiently watered in. As always, read your label thoroughly, there are always exceptions as to where you can use the products.


Pre-emergent weed control is absolutely key if you’ve struggled with sticker burs in the past and you’ve never taken steps to prevent them. Besides, there are a plethora of other weeds that will rear up if they have the opportunity. You can prevent them too.


Controlling Current Sticker Burs (Grass Burs)


If you already have sandburs in your turf, there are few products available commercially that will be effective and/or that won’t harm your turf.

One product available in local garden centers, like Rainbow Gardens, is Image Kills Nutsedge and it can be used on home lawns for spot treatments, but with caution. There is a bold warning on the label that states Do Not Use On St. Augustine Grass For Winter Weed Control. And like other post emergents, applying when temperatures are blazing, could cause damage to turf. So we would definitley advise reading the entire label and all it’s warnings and disclaimers. Believe us when we say that the best control is still prevention with pre-emergent.

Mowing and bagging seedheads is another form of control, so that the seeds don’t drop and germinate. Dragging old pieces of carpet, or fleece across areas with sticker burs can also help get rid of the prickly seedheads as they will attach to the textiles which can then be thrown away. (Anyone who has ever has sticker burs tangled in their shoelaces knows how easily they attach to fibers!) And lastly and most painful, is pulling the weeds manually. You’ll need to make sure to get the entire root so that there is no regrowth of the plant.

Weed seed heads

The main take away is that when it comes to sticker burs it’s best to concentrate on consistent applications of pre-emergent and the overall health of your lawn.

Learn this: A well maintained lawn is your best defense to even developing a problem with sticker burs, or any other weed, in the first place. Consistency is key when it comes to controlling weeds. This means, keeping your lawn fertilized, mowed, and irrigated properly are some pretty easy tasks to do and they contribute to a lush lawn that is healthy enough to choke out unwanted weeds.

Best of luck!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy