Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

As days get longer and yards start to green up, more and more residents will be walking through their yards doing outdoor tasks. It is awesome when people can be outside and enjoying their lawns, however the sticky weed is starting to come up and may damper your party.

Lawn burweed is a winter annual that starts rearing its ugly head in the spring when turf is thin and partially dormant still. As temperatures warm in the early spring, lawn burweed begins rapid growth and begins to form spine-tipped burs in the leaf axils.

If you are not much on chemicals in your yard, the best way to keep burweed at bay is to maintain a healthy, dense lawn that is fertilized and limed according to soil test results. Keep your lawn mowed short so that any other weeds are also kept short and then only the preferred grass will grow.

On the other hand, there is a chemical control that works a little better.

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 broadleaf 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.

Reference for this article came from retired extension agent Ricky Ensley.

For more information about taking care of your lawn, contact Polk County Extension located at 225 Main Street, Cedartown, Georgia. Phone (770) 749-2142 for email

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

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