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How to Get Rid of Stickers (Burweed) in Your Yard: 6 Tips

burweed plant

Spring has finally arrived and you’re walking in your yard when you notice or feel prickly little burrs sticking to you. Colloquially known as stickers, these are the seeds of the burweed plant that plagues yards all over the US. The South is especially rife with these guys, who run rampant all over ditches, meadows, forests, and lawns.

If you want to get rid of these annoying stickers from your yard, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s check out the best ways to get rid of stickers from your lawn this year.

garden flower divider

What Is Burweed?

Burweed is a winter annual plant that seeds in fall and grows into a prickly menace over the cooler months. Those unfamiliar with their appearance might not even notice them at this time. When spring comes and warms things up, burweed produces small bur-like fruit, which are the stickers we all love to hate.

Burweed stickers don’t just exist to annoy you and stick to your shoes, legs, or pants, they act as the seed envoys of the burweed plant, and their purpose is to transfer from the plant to a carrier. Be it a bird, mammal, or human, the sticker will eventually fall off later and seed a new plant.

The 6 Tips to Get Rid of Stickers

1. Pretreat the Yard with Herbicide

Although harmful to the environment, chemical herbicides are undisputedly effective at controlling burweed growth. You can’t get rid of stickers once they’ve grown from burweed, so you’ll have to do this in the fall when the plants are germinating. This kills the plants before they can grow into sticker nests. Pretreat with a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall for best results—winter and spring are too late.

spraying herbicide from the nozzle
Image Credit: Kritchai7752, Shutterstock

2. Choke Out Burweed by Fertilizing Grass

Another preemptive way to strike at burweed is to fertilize your lawn with compost or fertilizer with high nitrogen content. Grass loves nitrogen and with enough watering will grow thick enough to disallow burweed and other weeds a spot to germinate.

If your lawn is patchy and sad looking, replacing the grass with a thicker turf is a viable option too. This method is good for your lawn but isn’t foolproof against stickers.

3. Mow the Lawn

Why yes, getting rid of stickers can be as easy as just mowing the grass like usual, but there’s a catch: you’ll need a lawnmower with a grass catcher or bag attachment.

Traditional lawnmowers spit out the grass, while grass catchers literally catch the lawn clippings to keep your lawn neat. The former just spits burweed stickers back out onto your grass, so get the latter to literally mow away your sticker problem.

Make absolutely sure you dispose of the bag’s contents well away from your home to prevent the stickers from finding their way back onto the lawn.

man mowing his frontyard
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

4. Manual Removal

This is the most time and energy-intensive way to get rid of stickers, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to remove all of the stickers. You can pick small patches by hand, preferably wearing gardening gloves to protect your hands from the prickly stickers. That’s a really inefficient way of doing things, though.

Larger patches of burweed can be dealt with by dragging an old blanket across the lawn. Nearly any type of material will work given the stickers’ hooked burrs, but wool works especially well in our experience. There’s no special need to go out and get a wool blanket for this, so just use whatever’s on hand that you don’t use regularly.

5. Torch the Burweed

A more nuclear response to burweed stickers is to literally torch the lawn. This may not always be an option if you want to keep the grass, but it’s 100% effective at getting rid of those pesky stickers.

Handheld pen torches can work for small patches, but larger infestations of burweed call for a propane torch. If you were planning to re-turf your lawn anyway, torching is a great way to control large burweed populations beforehand.

Blowtorch with flame on grey background
Image Credit: F29, Shutterstock

6. Gentle Household Chemicals

Baking soda and vinegar can be effective at combatting burweed but can’t do anything to rid you of the stickers. Baking soda pulls the moisture from the burweed’s roots, which kills the plant. To use it, sprinkle baking soda over the plant and water it immediately so it gets absorbed by the burweed’s roots. While not as bad as herbicides, baking soda can still harm nearby plants, so use it sparingly.

Vinegar is a bit harsher than baking soda but just as deadly for burweed. Fill a spray bottle with a 1:1 ratio of white or apple cider vinegar with water and apply directly to burweed leaves with the stream nozzle setting. You want to really get those leaves saturated so they absorb the vinegar, which kills the plant.

Vinegar needs to be reapplied daily until the plant is fully dead. Vinegar is cheap, so it can be very effective if you have the patience to keep spraying the weeds.

garden flower divider


Burweed stickers are a serious spring annoyance, but there are plenty of ways to take care of them. Manual removal is the hardest method but is free, while torch removal is foolproof but destructive. Tailor your burweed removal method to fit your lawn and unique needs.

Featured Image Credit: Adriana Sulugiuc, Shutterstock


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