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Burweed (Image 1), also known as Lawn Burweed, Spurweed and Stickerweed, is a flat growing, frilly, broadleaf weed. It is almost pretty, forming thick green mats in spring. The bur that forms in the summer as it dries out is what becomes the problem (Images 3, 4, 5).
Burweed is a low growing, freely branched winter annual. It has opposite, sparsely hairy leaves that are twice divided into narrow segments or lobes (Image 2).
This is a winter annual that germinates throughout the fall months as temperatures turn cool. It remains small during the cold winter months. As temperatures warm up in the spring, it grows rapidly forming spine tipped burs in the leaf axils (Images 2 then 3 ). The seed is contained within the hooked bur (Image 5).
Note the green on the map of distribution (Image 6).
Burweed control is challenging because once we see the burs, it’s too late. The seeds have been made and can stay around for quite awhile. A two prong approach works best, with the first application as a preventative applied in early October or November. The second application should be made early in the spring, December through March, when the weeds are small and actively growing.
Preventive products: Princep liquid herbidide or ferti•lome® Broadleaf Weed Control with Gallery, which is some of the longest lasting preventers and can be used on most types of turf. Hi-Yield® Turf & Ornamental or ferti•lome® Winterizer & Weed Preventer II are other options. You may notice the labels don’t specifically say Burweed, but if you investigate online, many universities call these out by name.
Post-emergent products: When temperatures are cool and on the right turf, ferti•lome® Weed Free Zone is best. In warmer temps, ferti•lome® Weed Out is the choice, adding Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker to improve effectiveness. Repeat as needed.