The Oklahoma Grass Burr… How To Get Rid Of Them
Whether you're from Oklahoma or not, some people say you're not an Okie until you've experienced Head Country BBQ or had the cheese fries at Eskimo Joe's... but I think it's fair to say you're not an Okie until you've caught one of these stickers somewhere on your body.
The technical term is "sandbur," but they've been called a million different things depending on which part of Oklahoma you're standing in. In SWOK, we typically call them grass burrs. Older generations might call them goat heads. My grandma just called them stickers, and if you walk around enough, they'll find you.
Sandbur's aren't the type of weedy assault grass you'd expect to find in your suburban lawn, but I've had them grow in my pristinely manicured lawn before too. When you have winds like ours, it's only natural that the tiny seeds spread far and wide into every corner of the state... but they're really easy to get rid of.
The various Oklahoma social media pages will fill up a few times each year with people asking what the best way to get rid of these is, and there are a million technically correct responses that get tossed around.
MSMA - AKA - Organic arsenic. This is the standard educated response to questions about grass burrs. It's readily available, acceptably cheap, and it will kill everything except bermudagrass... but it will kill everything except bermudagrass, including you and the family pet if you don't understand basic chemistry and take serious PPE precautions using it.
Will MSMA get rid of grass burrs? Yes, but it's one of those beyond overkill responses.
Glyphosate is the other most common response. You know it as Roundup. It will kill grass burrs with ease as well as anything else that is green. This is also overkill for a couple of stickers.
There are a handful of other lawncare chemicals aimed at taking out these weeds, but you actually don't have to spend any money on the actual solution to the problem. We've just become a society that believes money solves all issues, and we're conditioned to spend. It's sad, really.
The latest round of "How do I get rid of these" questions had a new insane solution put forth... Someone actually recommended that you pull a little section of towel or carpet behind your mower to collect these stickers. While I suppose that's acceptable if you let them linger on long enough to fall off the plant, this is terrible advice.
The stickers are the seed pods of the plant. When they dry out and separate from the stalk, they open up and blow around in the wind, spreading those seeds far and wide. If you drag them behind the mower, you're just sowing next season's crop of these devil weeds.
This is what happens when people trust long-winded replies on social media... because look at that paragraph of a response, they obviously know what they're talking about...
If stickers pop up in your yard, the solution is simple. Pick it.
The roots of this plant are very shallow, and they won't grow back as they're not a rhizome type of weed, but you have to do with when the stickers are green and young. If they've dried out and turned brown, the seeds are already there to grow next year... in which case, you'll pick 'em again then.
It's important to note, do not mow these weeds. You'll only spread them far and wide across your lawn making for a headache next year. Just pick them and toss them away.
How simple is that? No mixing chemicals or fabricating some kludged together makeshift carpet/towel sticker cultivator, just pick the weed you want to rid your yard of. Trust me on this. This is the way.