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Take care of spurweed now!

Nashville, Ark. – Spurweed is a tiny winter annual with parsley-like leaves that grows close to the soil line. It may also be called stickers or burweed. Spurweed will germinate in the fall and winter and remains small. It normally will go unnoticed until the plant matures. White flowers will bloom in late winter. As the temperatures increase in the spring, the pollinated flowers begin to set fruit. The fruiting structures look like small rosette buttons developing in the leaf axils. In mid to late spring, the seed in the fruit structure develops spines that become sharp when the fruit dries out.

Spurweed can be prevented by maintaining a healthy turf. Healthy turf competes for water, nutrients, and space. A healthy turf can be encouraged by fertility, irrigation, and mowing height. It will act as a physical barrier, choking out many opportunistic weeds. If you have warm-season grass (like bermudagrass or zoysiagrass), it may help to use the highest cutting setting for the last cut of the season in the fall. This will ensure a thick canopy is present over winter.

Treating your yard

If the spurweed is already present in your lawn, it is critical to control it before the fruiting structure develops in the spring. The best time to apply herbicides for spurweed control is in the winter months of December, January, and February. The best option for homeowners to control spurweed is a post-emergence application of one of the various two and three-way mixes of 2,4-D, dicamba, and MCPP. One of the most common trade names for herbicides in this category is Trimec. These products may be used on tall fescue, fall overseeded bermudagrass in which the overseeded cool-season grass has been mowed four to five times, and non-overseeded bermudagrass. The post-emergence herbicides should be applied on a sunny day when the air temperature is at least 55 degrees. Spurweed should be evaluated two to three weeks later. If the control is not acceptable, you may make additional applications. Always read the label to make sure the formulation and percentage of chemicals are appropriate for your lawn.

For more information, you can contact the Howard County Extension office at 870-845-7517 or find helpful fact sheets on our website at The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

By Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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