I live in Rockport TX on 2-1/2 acres. The yard around the house has a nice thick lawn but the rest of the acreage is a mix of weeds and sand burrs. This year we've aggressively started trying to get rid of the burrs. We are pulling the plant and applying MSMA in case any root was left. We realize it will take years to rid the area especially in this manner. Several yrs ago I purchased a spread from a guy that I applied in Feb and again months later, and it worked, but didn't keep the name (dumb) and the gentleman is no longer around. Do you have any suggestions? We don't want to kill all the vegetation. Thanks
Aransas County Texas
Sandbur is a "sticky one" to control-you will need to take multiple approaches. Digging them out, as you are doing, is good, especially at this time of year. You can also spot spray with MSMA or glyphosate (such as Roundup) when the weeds are actively growing. Using a pre-emergent herbicide to keep the seeds of the sandbur from germinating is key to controlling sandburs with herbicides (and is probably what you purchased from the gentleman you mentioned).
Several are listed below-select one and follow the label carefully. It is likely too late to apply it this year (because they are probably done germinating for the season), but you would want to apply it by March 1st (no earlier than Feb 15) to prevent the seeds from germinating in the spring. Apply again as the label directs, about 6 weeks later-but depends on the product selected. It is very important to irrigate (or arrange for rain!) after the application for it to be effective.
It might not seem like it now, but you will be able to get this pesky weed under control if you are able to keep with the schedule of digging out or spot spraying weeds you see and applying pre-emergent.
Pre-emergent Herbicides Labeled for Sandbur (grassbur) Control
Listed by Brand Name (Common Chemical Name) and Company Name
1) PreM (Pendimethalin) Lesco; 2) Amaze Grass & Weed Preventor (Benefin/Oryzalin) Green Light; 3) Surflan, A.S. (Oryzalin) Southern Ag.; 4) Weed & Grass Preventer (Oryzalin); 5) Lilly Miller Weed Stoppere (Oryzalin) Lawn & Garden Products
FYI-The scientific name for a very common sandbur is Cenchrus echinatus