I'm fighting a losing battle with these plants (pictured). No idea what they are called, but I always just call them "stickers".


I tried pulling them with the sticker pods intact and disposing of them to prevent them from spreading as much as possible, but that hasn't been effective. I'm thinking about applying a herbicide whenever I see a patch of them, but I'm thinking that by the time they have the seed pods developed it might be too late to do any good because the next generation is on the way.

My question is this: Will spraying herbicides (such as RoundUp) "kill" the sticker seed pods and prevent them from germinating in addition to killing the plant they are attached to?

  • 1
    Those look like sand burrs. For tackweed, we used a scorched earth technique: roundup to kill everything, water until the seeds sprouted, roundup to kill everything, again and again, until the tackweed quit coming up. Then we planted with what we wanted. Oct 8, 2012 at 19:48
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    Some versions of Roundup contain a pre-emergent herbicide, but glyphosate itself is strictly post-emergent. Apr 20, 2018 at 4:13

3 Answers 3


Round Up is a herbicide which kill 'through the green'. The best time to apply is when the plant is growing strongly, the soil is damp, and the weather reasonably fair and not windy. Spray all stems till run off. Repeat applications might be necessary, but if you treat the plant before it flowers and sets seed, then it won't flower and set seed. Once the seeds are formed, Round up will not have any effect on them.

A word about Round Up - try to find glyphosate instead. This is the active ingredient in Round Up without the other surfactants and ingredients which have an impact on the environment. Glyphosate bought as a generic is cheaper, and when mixing it with water to spray or apply by can, adding a dash of washing up liquid helps it to penetrate plant tissues.

  • The trouble is, the plant looks so similar to the grass around it, I have a hard time spotting it before it seeds.
    – JohnFx
    Oct 6, 2012 at 17:24
  • Have you tried digging it out, specially at this stage with the seeds in place?
    – Bamboo
    Oct 6, 2012 at 17:56

@Bamboo-spray until runoff?? That's the exact problem even chemical users can agree on.

It's just as effective to pull them up, which isn't nearly as "easy" but does the work better without poisoning you, the plants you want to keep, wildlife, the soil, etc. A pair of strong, thick gloves and some long sleeves is cheaper and about 1000% times safer than what they're selling you. Plus, it's not going to stop them from coming back next year and the year after.

  • Ever fight a Trumpet vine? duckduckgo.com/… Even with Roundup and borax it took 5 to 6 years to kill off the last little shoot coming up from that 40 foot root system. Apr 20, 2018 at 4:17
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    I'm not that worried about it poisoning me as I am not a plant, and it is a herbicide.
    – JohnFx
    Apr 20, 2018 at 16:34
  • @JohnFx Some herbicides can prove nasty to humans. Read the labels. Most act by inhibiting some enzyme or other, which you as an animal may share. I expected EPA to have a nice page on this stuff, but they seem to be in a bit of a tizzy at the moment: fws.gov/invasives/staffTrainingModule/methods/chemical/… Their "Read more about herbicide risk assessments:" section now contains refs only to Pesticides, which are a whole different ball of wax. There's a lot of woo out there on herbicides nowadays, but it's not all completely without merit. Apr 21, 2018 at 2:06

I had the exact same problem as you are describing! A sticker INFESTATION! It got so bad at one point that I couldn't walk around inside my house without shoes on because I my bare feet would find them in the carpet! Really annoying.

I would pull the stems as I saw them pop up and I burned them in a burn barrel. It was tedious and seemed never ending so for the rest of that year I just mowed and bagged my yard clippings. Not fun either but pretty effective.

Then middle to end of February apply a pre-emergent (make sure you cover all of your yard) then make sure you reapply pre-emergent 3 months later for a total of 3 times.

My 1st year doing this it was amazing seeing how good it worked but I procrastinated applying the 2nd dose on time and they came back. If you apply when you are supposed to you will defeat these stickers! Also throughout all my research trying to figure this out myself I learned that these stickers are a sign of your lawn crying out for help and fertilzer is a big help. Fertilize Fertilize Fertilize. I went through A LOT of trial and error before I found what worked for me! I wrote this because I understand everything that comes along with this problem and hope this will help you to fix your problem quicker than I did! Give it a try!

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