Lawn burweed is painful to bare feet 05-21-07
Your Extension Experts
Turfgrass Extension Specialist/Weed Scientist/Weed Control-Turf and Ornamentals
Lawn burweed is painful to bare feet
Warm weather has arrived now and many of us are kicking off our shoes and walking across our lawns barefooted only to be painfully reminded that we did not do a very good job controlling lawn burweed (Soliva pterosperma). It is also commonly called spurweed and sticker weed.
This winter annual germinates and emerges in the fall. Once it has matured in late spring, it will produce clusters of seeds with tiny spines that can pierce delicate skin of tender feet, knees, hands are other parts of the body that come in contact with it.
This small dainty weed has freely branched prostrate growing leaves that somewhat resemble a miniature carrot leaf. The leaves are opposite along stems and have doubly serrated narrow blades. The flowers are mostly inconspicuous and are nestled down in the leaf axis until the small button shaped seed clusters with needle sharp spine tips mature.
The most effective method of controlling lawn burweed is to apply a pre-emergence herbicide in late summer or early fall prior to emergence. Post-emergent herbicides can also be effective, but need to be applied by early spring before the seed clusters develop. Applying post-emergent herbicides now will kill the existing plants for a more aesthetic looking lawn, but, unfortunately, those mature seed clusters will still be there through this summer to remind you to put your shoes back on or suffer the consequences.
Published May 21, 2007
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org