Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

Do you love walking barefoot on lush, green grass? This pleasant experience has turned into a sticky situation with the presence of lawn burweed in many Polk County lawns.

Lawn burweed is a winter annual that germinates throughout thin turf in the fall months as temperatures cool. As temperatures warm in the early spring, lawn burweed begins rapid growth and begins to form spine-tipped burs in the leaf axils. The seed is contained within the hooked bur.

There are two ways to try and control the growth of lawn burweed — cultural and chemical.

Cultural Control

- Maintain a healthy, dense lawn by fertilizing and liming according to soil test results

- Mow at proper height and frequency

Chemical Control

Post emergence control — the key factor to controlling lawn burweed is to apply a post emergence herbicide during the winter months of December, January and February. The weed is smaller and easier to control during this time of year.

Control is not impossible in April and May, but the spines have already formed by this time. A three-way herbicide may be used on Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and tall fescue.

The active ingredients of a three-way herbicide typically include the following three broad leaf weed killers: 2, 4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop (MCPP). Herbicides containing 2, 4-D should be applied at a reduced rate on St. Augustine grass and Centipede grass to prevent damage to lawns.

Pre-emergence Control — Isoxaben is a pre-emergence herbicide for control of lawn burweed, as well as many winter broadleaf weeds in Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass and tall fescue.

Read and follow label directions carefully. Apply Isoxaben in late September to early October before the winter weeds germinate. Do not reseed or overseed within 60 days of application, and do not apply to newly seeded lawns until the lawn has been mowed three times.

If you have any questions regarding burweed or other lawn problems, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

Recommended for you