For anyone that likes maintaining their yard with lush greenery, stickers can be a pesky issue. Stickers are weeds that compete with the plants we desire in our yard for air, water, and nutrients in the soil.
If you’ve got pets, that’s another issue. Stickers can attach themselves to the fur of your pets and can cause them pain with their spikes. It’s also risky walking in a yard infested with stickers unless you’re looking to get pricked!
Want to know how to keep your yard sticker-free? Read on for 12 useful methods that are easy and almost free.
Where Do These Stickers Come From?
The stickers in our yard are probably coming from Burweed. This plant grows in the winter and dies off during spring. When it dies off, it becomes these tiny stickers that make it difficult for you to walk barefoot in your own yard.
The ideal time to get cracking is when you can still see the Burweed, but most people with full yards probably mistake them for something else, and then it is too late to prevent stickers. Either way, if you couldn’t prevent it, you can still control and get rid of them eventually. Keep reading to figure out how.
12 Ways To Remove And Prevent Stickers From Your Yard
If stickers have infested your lawn, raking is one of the easiest ways to get rid of them. Use a densely-forked rake so that the tiny stickers cannot escape and rake through your entire lawn.
Start with one corner and rake in lines across your entire yard. Then move one step away and rake that line too. If you do this systematically, it’ll be hard to miss a spot. You might have spots that are hard to reach, say under a dock or around trees. You might want to spend some extra time around these spots, to get all the stickers out.
2. Keep your lawn healthy
Stickers don’t seem to like healthy lawns. A healthy lawn proves to be tough competition for these weeds and makes it difficult for them to survive. If their competitor is being well taken care of, they’ll be less likely to survive.
If your lawn is dense, the stickers will find themselves lost among the lush greenery, making it difficult for them to get sunlight. But when it comes to ridding your lawn of stickers, there’s more you need to do than just maintain a healthy lawn.
3. Keeping the lawn mowed
When your lawn is unkempt, there are more chances for stickers to thrive. They will be able to hide better, so if you’re hand-picking them, or even if you’re using a rake, they might be further lower in the grass and you’ll easily miss them.
When you decide to make your yard sticker-free, mowing your lawn should be your first step. Adjust the lawnmower so that it keeps the lawn short to only a few notches. Make sure you attach a bag to the lawnmower so all the shreddings are collected, and don’t fly over to other patches, furthering your sticker problem.
Mowing your lawn also has another advantage. As you cut most of its length away and chuck away the shreddings, you will be expelling a large portion of the stickers that way. The stickers that cling onto the length of the grass will also be cut and will now not be a part of your lawn.
You can throw away this waste, burn it, or leave it in a bag away from the lawn for it to rot.
If you’ve got a sticker problem, regular mowing will really help. As soon as you identify it, mow your lawn every three days for 2 weeks. Your sticker problem should reduce by a good amount as new growth pushes the sticker-infested grass up, which is eventually cut off.
But of course, mowing cannot be the only solution since stickers are not only on our lawns but in bushes too. To protect your flora and fauna as well, try the other tricks.
4. Regular fertilization
The point of this is to fertilize the greens you do want around. By allowing your own plants to flourish with more strength, you make it difficult for weeds like stickers to thrive in the same area.
Fertilize your soil after your herbicide cycle is over (Don’t worry, we’re covering that in the next section). Once every week or every other week, apply fertilizer twice, to minimize the growth of stickers, and eventually get rid of them all.
5. Pre-emergent herbicides
Mix a little bit of herbicide with a gallon of water, about 75% of a cup should do. Mix it and shake the container well for a couple of minutes to get an even mixture. Locate the areas of the soil from where the annoying stickers have emerged.
This shouldn’t be very hard to identify if you have mowed your lawn. When selecting a herbicide, look for something with Pendimethalin. Spray your herbicide mixture into the soil. After 2-3 minutes, water the lawn so that the herbicide can become activated and work its magic.
Some herbicides come in powdered form. And of course, the chemical composition of all herbicides is different. Consult a professional or the shop owner from where you obtain your herbicide to figure out the exact procedure of use.
When using a herbicide that comes in the form of granules, this type prevents stickers from germinating and multiplying. This doesn’t remove stickers but prevents them from increasing in the next cycle. It is an effective way of hindering their growth as you remove them.
The granules only last for 2-3 months, however, so you must keep spreading this herbicide over your yard periodically if your yard hasn’t gotten completely sticker-free.
Pre-emergent herbicides should be used when your soil has thawed. The end of winter or the beginning of spring would be the ideal time. To know whether your soil is ready, stick a soil thermometer into the ground. If the reading is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you can go ahead.
6. Post-emergent herbicides
When using herbicides, you’ve got to ensure that it only kills a particular type of plant. A general herbicide used without care and caution can burn your beautiful lawn and leave you with a patchy yard that’s unpleasant to the eye.
Post-emergent herbicide use is similar to pre-emergent herbicide use, except that different chemicals are at work and you’ll pick either pre-or post-emergent herbicides depending on the weather.
Glyphosate is the chemical you need as a post-emergent herbicide. Mix it with water and spread it across your soil. Add larger droplets in dryer areas, and smaller ones in humid areas. Water up to 2 inches after you have sprayed on the herbicide.
Post-emergent herbicides work best during spring.
7. Regular watering
Stickers find it difficult to spread themselves over dense, healthy, well-watered soil. Irrigate your soil in the morning. This is when it is most receptive to absorbing moisture. It also is the best time to water your lawn since the grass can make use of sunlight the rest of the entire day to grow and flourish.
If you’ve got sprinklers, turn them on once a day. This is the easiest way to control stickers.
8. Uprooting by hand
Yes, as tedious as it sounds, you really can pick out the weeds by hand. Of course, this is easier if the weeds are in their initial stage of growth and your sticker problem has just begun. In the initial stages, you can go around your yard, and pick at the stickers you see.
Again, this is easier when done after your lawn has been mowed. In fact, if you’re going to be using the lawn-mowing technique, we recommend you take a look around and try to pick up any stickers by hand anyway. This just makes sure you’ve taken a much more extensive approach, and you’re tackling your problem hands-on (don’t miss the pun!).
Uprooting by hand can be time-consuming, and is more feasible if your sticker problem is localized to one area of the yard. Grab the stem as close to the root and possible firmly. Shake it around a little bit to loosen up the soil and pull it straight up. You want to pull out the entire root system so that they are completely removed from your yard. This will likely be easier if your soil is a little damp.
Again, make sure you’re chucking them out in a bag that’s well-contained from the rest of your yard so that you’re not uprooting the problem from one area, and encouraging it to take hold in another.
9. Using MSMA
Use this with caution. This post-emergent herbicide is a powerful chemical, very effective at killing weeds. It works best during the months of May, July, and August. But if you decide to use it, schedule it around the time you take a family vacation. Make sure your kids or pets do not come in contact with it because it can be very harmful.
Although it is an effective product, it is not eco-friendly, which is why you should not go crazy with its use. Once in a few years is more than enough. Resort to more natural and organic solutions if your problem isn’t taken care of.
10. White Vinegar
Vinegar is the savior to more household issues than one can count. It’s natural, easily available in every kitchen, and its workings are easily understood and therefore controlled. Vinegar, as we know, is acidic in nature, which makes it difficult for the grass burrs to thrive and multiply.
It can harm your grass too, however, so you have to be extremely careful in its use. You don’t want a patchy yard with burnt bits. To soothe any areas, you can try mixing orange oil with the vinegar before you spray it onto the weeds.
Spraying it on once probably won’t do the trick. Go into it daily until the weeds have completely died off.
11. Driving through with a sticker collector
If you’ve got a yard that is way too big to employ any of the techniques mentioned above, chances are you do own a mini tractor to help you irrigate and fertilize the lawn. We suggest you put it to use. Tie up chains to the tractor and a cloth wrapped around a pipe, attached to the chains.
Drive around the yard and let the cloth pick up your stickers. Of course, some seeds might still remain, but this is an extremely quick way to remove a lot of seeds from your yard within minutes.
12. Control your pets
We’ve established that stickers are the problem. They can get stuck in the fur of your pets, pierce your feet when you walk and make the yard an unsafe space for your kids to play in. But, a part of why you’re finding it difficult to get rid of stickers could actually be because of your pets.
We know through 6th-grade biology that many plants spread their species by having their seeds get stuck on the furs of animals. It’s very possible that while your dogs tumble around in the evening during playtime, they’re taking stickers from one part of the yard and encouraging their growth in other parts.
If your yard is covered in stickers, you might want to consider taking your pets somewhere else to get their daily exercise. Even more, if your yard is only partially infested by these sticker weeds, you definitely want to make sure your pets are not spreading the problem around.
Try out these techniques to control the sticker problem in your yard. Keeping your lawn healthy, regular watering and controlling, and keeping a check on your pets are all preventative techniques, while fertilization, herbicides, uprooting, and using vinegar can be used to actually remove stickers after the infestation has already set in.
Happy picking! May your yard be healthy, green, and sticker-free!