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 Post subject: Sticker/burr filled lawn
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:25 am 
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I live in Texas near Fort worth. We just moved into a rental house and have two young children. The grass is cover in burrs. It's everywhere! How do I get rid of them? I have read about getting a reminant of carpet and dragging it across the grown and than adding a corn gluten meal in February, and than tilling the ground fetlizing and composting?

I also heard the only way to get rid of them is burning the lawn and resoding...which is the best/cheapest way to do it?

We live in a duplex so do I have to make sure my neighbors do this as well to avoid the seeds blowing to my lawn?

I don't want o pay to resod a house I won't be in more than two years..any help appreciated.

Hanah


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:47 am 
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Do yourself a favor...Go buy some pre-emergent for grassy weeds(usually contains baylan or some other grassy weed pre-emergent). This is available at all the home centers. Apply that product on or around March 15 for summer weeds(sandbur is a summer weed). This will greatly reduce the amount of plants germinating.

Next, buy some Greenlight MSMA and apply directly to the growing sandburs. This is a post-emergent, so the plants will have to be growing actively.

With the combination of a pre-emergent and post-emergent, you should have a sandbur free yard this summer.

Good Luck...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:21 am 
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Do I apply the green light now or in March?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Location: Frisco, Tejas
RL032203 wrote:
Do I apply the green light now or in March?

You don't apply it at all.

MSMA is one of the more toxic chemicals in the chemical program. methinx Realguru is what we call a troll int he forum world, someone who tries to provoke a negative response.

You would not put your hand in MSMA, why put it on the lawn you might walk barefoot on? the 'A' is MSMA is arsenic.

Using such compounds very sparingly when no other compound works is a discussion for another time but the plant you are talking about is easy to kill off. Cut it down, spot spray it with vinegar (I use the 22% acetic acid strength, get it at Lowes for around $13/gallon). Put that in a tank sprayer and spray the freshly chopped back and spray right on the leftover leaves and exposed chopped stem. I'm guessing you are talking about something like Thistle???

Getting the grass healthy will choke a lot of these out. I'm not an anti-chemical zealot by any means but I think anyone can recognize that the least toxic effective control is always desirable.

People don't come here looking for the right poison, they come here looking for a safer way to do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Thank you for your help on this. No I have some that are like buried under the grass itself. You can't even see them until you step. And they are everywhere under the grass. How do you pull out tons of them if you can't see them?

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Last edited by RL032203 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:25 am 
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Location: Frisco, Tejas
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Even if you kill them off right now the dry ones are going to be a bit of a nuisance for a while. When my wife and i bought a new house three years ago we had by far the worst yard on the entire street - crappy sod over left over building sand that was completely taken over by weeds.

I scalped, spread a load of compost, used the natural ferts and by the end of the season (me moved just as the grass was coming back in Spring) it looked really good but was still 'weedy'. After three years, I have almost no weeds because I keep the grass short until the worst heat of July/Aug and that REALLY thickens it up to the point where other weeds (grass is a weed) can't compete with the grass.

Is that St Aug? if so, it is very aggressive and will choke other things out once it takes off. If the other stuff grows lower than the St Aug then the grass will outcompete it for light and nutrients and it should improve quite a bit.

Assuming that your weed there comes back from seed, the corn gluten meal treatment would help considerably, your grass comes back from the roots and is not affected. CGM is also a nice organic fertilizer with a lot of Nitrogen (protein).
I'd use that and something like Milorganite (Cheap, at lowes and home depot, lots of iron and sulfur which your lawn needs and it GREENS it) and use a mulching mower. You will build up the soil and the grass will get much better pretty quickly.

BTW - if that is St. Aug I believe MSMA would kill it just as it would kill crabgrass.

Final thought: If there is any time when the burr producing weed is actively growing but the grass is still dormant then that is the time to spot treat with vinegar. The more of it you get rid of that way, the less can go to seed (produce those burrs) later.

It takes a little while but think of it as a goal, not a chore :-) Hope that helps some.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:00 am 
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So do I put the corn gluten on now or in March?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:30 pm 
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Location: Frisco, Tejas
RL032203 wrote:
So do I put the corn gluten on now or in March?


March for sure, now won't hurt. There hasn't been much sprouting with the weather in the teens but the 15 day forecast has rain then sun and 60's so weeds will be over that like a duck on a bug :-)

Nice thing with CGM - if you use too much or use it at a time when there are not many weeds sprouting anyway it just becomes good fertilizer and improves your soil quality. Last Spring I had a day when it looked like someone had aerated my whole front yard - had spread CGM around a few days before and the worms were having a picnic, birds came for worms, akuna-matata and I had about 10000 1/2" diameter holes. My yard also used to be heavily compacted - sod had a half inch of red clay, that was laid over sand - now it is light and well mixed down to the depth of about 6-8" and the clay beneath that has lots of worm holes.

I'm a big believer in feeding the worms, let them feed the grass.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:32 pm 
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Thanks again for your help ill call around local feed stores and see what i can get.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:35 am 
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Garden Troll???

I am simply telling you how to control your sandburs. I had a child walk through a patch and we had to take him to the hospital to get them all removed. He was in pain for days...I know your dilema...

A little MSMA is not going to hurt you and will have little effect on the environment. Just follow the instructions and spot spray with it. Don't spray it all over the place. Also, use a pump sprayer because it tends to drift and you don't want to hurt any of your other plants. However, the 22 percent vinegar, which is a petroleum derivative, will harm you and the enviroment. It is nasty stuff. I know, for a fact, that the vinegar sold in Lowe's is a petroleum derivative vinegar. It is sold to them by AG organics and is not a good alternative to a proven chemical.

I am all about natural and organic solutions. But, you are not going to control your problem with more toxic alternatives that claim to be organic.

The corn gluten solution could be a viable alternative. However, the timing is going to have to be almost perfect and you need to find a corn gluten that is soluble. Do not use the pellet or granular form. You would want to apply it in early May because the window is much smaller on it versus a chemical pre-emergent. Sandbur will germinate when the soil temp is around 70 degrees. Keep in mind that the corn gluten is coming from genetically altered corn(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food) and again, to me anyway, doesn't constitute a natural or organic solution.

I don't appreciate being call a troll for trying to help this person. This is all an experiment on alternatives and I personally don't see a gain in reaching this goal by going natural. This person needs help and talking them into spending a ton of money on junk that doesn't work and is not natural is not the right thing to do. That is my opinion and I am entitled to it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Real - Apologies for mislabeling your good intentions. Sometimes we get new posters who like to have some fun suggesting chemicals here instead of more natural methods just to get people stirred up.

Methane Arsonates kill St Augustine so that isn't a great option regardless of whether you find it unobjectionable from a toxicity standpoint. MSMA is also a carcinogen, period. There is some argument about how carcinogenic it is but as someone who is dumb enough to go barefoot out in the yard I don't want to step on it. I've stepped on thorns, burrs and unpleasant thorny things and I have undergone cancer surgeries. Burrs hurt less, promise. In my opinion, the cure is worse than the disease in this instance. The general purpose of this forum is to manage problems without resorting to toxic chemicals and if a chemical must be used, finding the least toxic choice. MSMA doesn't fit that too well. I got a little kneejerk about that after cancer. I don't mean to be overzealous in discouraging the use of ALL chemicals but if you don't absolutely have to use one, why would you?

Re-reading the first post this is a temporary fix since nobody wants to invest too heavily in property they wont' be keeping for too long.

How about.... a thorough scalping before things green up this Spring? You can take a St Aug lawn, or a Bermuda one pretty much to the ground, lawn vac the clippings and set them aside to compost out of sight. This would get the existing burrs up and hopefully your yard will improve quite a bit this summer and choke them out. If not, it will be a while before the burrs reform and that should save your feet. A mechanical solution might be simplest and most cost effective.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Thank you both for your ideas, what is a scalping exactly? Does that mean tilling the ground?

yes its just a temporary solution so I don't want to spend to much money. I just want to be able to let my kids run the backyard with sprinklers and a pool and not have to hold a 2 yr old down to pull out burrs from his feet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:24 pm 
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Location: Frisco, Tejas
Scalping means cutting the grass and weeds down pretty much to the ground but not tilling it up. Neither chemicals nor natural 'cures' are going to get rid of the dry burrs already there - they have to be removed. You can do this with your mower or hire it done - landscape crews usually charge twice what they charge for a regular cutting to do it.

Spreading some compost around over the area when the grass starts coming back can help too, it's soft and will help rot any leftover burrs.

Whatever you cut and bag, pile it up somewhere out of sight and let it rot, by fall it will be nicely decomposed and you can use it as a free soil amendment.

...and watch for fireants with the 2 year old.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:18 pm 
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yes i know about the fireants we use orange oil for that


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