How To Get Rid Of Sandspurs In Coastal Areas

The summer season is an exciting time for enjoying nature’s gifts, but sandspurs are rarely considered one of them! I find that they can be a nightmare when the dog brings them into the house or when they send a painful sensation up your leg! I’m sure you’ll agree that we’re better off without them, so how do you get rid of sandspurs in coastal areas?

You can get rid of sandspurs in coastal areas by using pre-emergent herbicides that prevent sandspur seeds from germinating before summer. You can mix or buy a vinegar solution to kill sandspurs or hire weeding services. Step on a carpet and wipe sandspurs with a dog brush into a trashcan.

Getting rid of sandspurs is not as difficult as you may think – it only takes a little planning. We’ll look at different solutions that can fit any schedule, lifestyle, and timeframe. They involve getting professional help, mixing some beneficial home solutions,  or applying some elbow grease to get the job done.

How To Get Rid Of Sandspurs In Coastal Areas

Sandspurs are infamous for causing uneasy amounts of pain when we least expect it – you could probably call them nature’s legos. Sure, they might act as a powerful deterrent for keeping pets and kids out of specific areas, but surely the ends don’t justify the means?

During summer, they are usually a burden, get stuck in our pet’s fur, and make their way inside our homes because of it. The good news is that there are multiple methods for managing them. Some methods are more suitable for larger areas, while others work well if there’s a small area of sandspur growth.   

Sandspur Prevention Is Better Than Sandspur Cure

The most effective method for removing sandspurs is administering a herbicide to prevent them from growing. In addition to soil moisture, air and soil temperature influence the productive process of plants, in this case, sandspurs.

If they remain unattended, they will continue to draw nutrients from the soil and produce substantial seeds. The elements, particularly the wind, will carry those seeds to other areas and make removing sandspurs even harder.    

Applying herbicide to the soil will hinder its growth and drastically reduce the number of sandspurs. It’s also important to note that sandspurs are an annual plant, but they germinate seasonally. It will germinate from seed, grow, and produce fruit, all in a single season and before and during the summer.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you use the pre-emergent herbicide on the soil before the seeds can germinate – dealing with the source of the problem rather than trying to manage to symptoms doesn’t make sense, right?

Pre-emergence herbicides have labeled recommendations to include that help the effectiveness of the herbicide. Furthermore, the herbicides are extra-effective with irrigation or rainfall, so look at the weather report to see when you can expect some rain.

Remember, it’s essential for the chemical barrier from the herbicide to be in the soil before the seeds can germinate. Once the leaves start to show, it will entirely nullify the effects of the herbicide – so plan carefully!

What Type Of Herbicide Should You Use?

It’s wise to contact your county extension office to know which herbicide is best for removing your sandspurs. You may have St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass, or centipede grass – double-check so you don’t harm your grass! The grass is not the same in every area, meaning the herbicide you use on your grass may potentially wipe out your grass, plants, and flowers.

Although you may not be a botanist, your location will reveal a lot about your type of grass. Lawn grasses, like landscaping plants and flowers, have climatic constraints. Your grass must suit your grass-growing environment to withstand winters and summers.

Cool-season grasses are the most prevalent perennial lawn grasses in the northern portion of the United States. Their name comes from growing at their fastest during the chilly fall and spring seasons. In frigid northern regions, these popular lawn grasses thrive, but in hot southern lawns, they die away.

Warm-season grasses, which peak in growth during the hot summer months, are common lawn grasses in the country’s southern half. Northern lawns’ chilly temperatures lead these grasses to perish throughout the winter.

If your lawn grass lives year after year, you can identify it as cool or warm-season grass. Your lawn may also include cool or warm-season grasses in the transition zone, which is the area where northern and southern grasses meet.

Where Can You Get Pre-Emergence Herbicide?

Pre-emergence herbicide is not hard to find and is accessible at big box stores and your local garden centers. Remember to adhere to the herbicide labels because they should indicate whether it is safe for certain grasses. If not, resort to asking your local county office.  

Here is a list of active ingredients safe for use on common grass types like St. Augustine, centipede,  Bermuda, and Bahiagrass,  provided you utilized them according to their labels.

  • Benefin & Trifluarlin
  • Oryzalin
  • Prodiamine
  • Bensulide
  • Pendimethalin

Sandspur seeds do not all germinate at the same time so consider reapplying the herbicide six to nine weeks after the first application.

Again, herbicides may damage or kill nearby plants, flowers, and shrubs, so ensure that you read the labels carefully and adhere to the precautions. After all, the last thing you want is to have the herbicide make its way to your flower or vegetable garden!

Are Pre-emergence Herbicides Safe For Kids And Pets?

Most weed killers, herbicides, and fertilizers for lawns and gardens contain artificial chemicals, some of which are harmful to both living things and the environment. Even if a product is declared safe for sale and usage on a residential lawn, it is unlikely to be safe to touch or swallow by mistake.

Toxic chemicals remain in the environment, and many degrade into other harmful elements.

When children or pets play on a lawn treated with harsh chemicals, they can absorb the chemicals when it gets on their hands & paws and then their lips or eyes. Cats and dogs may pick it up and lick the weed killer clean off their paws. As a result, most commercial lawn weed killers are not suitable for use with children and pets.

The wise thing to do is prohibit your children and pets from going onto the lawn for 24 – 48 hours to give the chemicals time to seep into the soil. Even solutions that contain vinegar and soap can irritate sensitive areas of the body and cause discomfort.

A Carpet And Dog Brush Work Is A Viable Remedy

Perhaps one of the cheapest and safest methods for removing sandspurs in a small area lies with a square piece of carpet and a dog brush. These items are available at the $1 store, so it doesn’t get any cheaper than this! Ensure that the carpet square has a rubber back and that the dog brush has bristles on one side and standard wiring on the other.

To start removing sandspurs, place the carpet on the area of sandspurs that you want to remove. Afterward, walk around on the rug – don’t be shy to put some weight into it and smush the carpet into the ground. Your weight will cause the carpet to press into the sandspurs on the ground and cause them to stick to the carpet side of your carpet square. 

After stepping on the carpet for about five minutes, you can pick it up, take it to the trash can, and use the brush to dispose of them. You can repeat this process as many times as you want to remove all the sandspurs. This method also helps to reduce the seed bank, meaning there will be fewer germinating sandspurs for next year.

Furthermore, this method also works well if you want to remove pesky goat heads.

Hire A Weeding Service To Keep Your Lawn Healthy

When we’re on our grind at work and have to balance keeping a tidy house and making a school rehearsal, the lawn can quickly become our last priority. Some people may have a bad back and can’t do garden work. Hiring a weeding service is an ideal choice for keeping your grass healthy and reducing the growth of sandspurs. 

Of course, weeding services do cost money, but considering that a clean, green, and sandspur-free lawn will give you peace of mind and increase the value of your property, it can be a no-brainer.

Weeding services help by providing excellent grass health by picking weeds by hand or with weed-removal instruments like hoes, forks, or weed extractors. Although a straightforward service for removing weeds from garden beds and lawns, rates vary based on how deep-rooted the weeds are, whether or not weed spray is necessary, and the type of weed spray used.

Watering, trimming, weeding, pruning, mulching, cutting, fertilizing, and clearing garden trash is all available services to keep your lawn healthy and prevent sandspur growth. Seeding is also an available maintenance option. Furthermore, these weeding services respond to a change in season, the stormy aftermath of mother nature, or regular care.

While regularly mowing your yard is sure to hinder sandspur growth, you must do so by using a clippings catcher if you wish to cut your own lawn. It will enable you to catch sandspur seeds and dispose of them, reducing the overall seed bank and the number of germinating seeds.

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Use A Strong Vinegar Spray Solution To Kill Sandspurs

If you didn’t already know, vinegar is an excellent choice for getting rid of sandspurs – it’s safe, highly effective, and natural. Vinegar is also a perfect option for people that don’t like the idea of using harmful herbicides. However, the vinegar you have in your pantry won’t make the cut for usage on sandspurs because not all vinegar is the same.

Vinegar’s high acidity levels make it possible to kill sandspurs by drying them out. Typically, household vinegar consists of 5 percent acidity, making it ineffective for killing weeds.

Home Mix Vinegar Solution

It’s entirely possible to make a home-mix vinegar solution capable of drying out sandspurs and other plants, making it easy to pull out and remove altogether. Although this is a home-mix recipe, we won’t want to use household vinegar because its 5 percent acidity level makes it an ineffective weed killer.

Here’s what you’ll need to start mixing your solution:

  • Look for vinegar with an acidity level of at least 30 percent. (Even at this level, it’s still safe to use).
  • Table, Rock, Water-softener salt
  • Dishwashing soap
  • A transparent mixing container. (You can mix the solution in a pump sprayer, but a transparent container makes mixing easier).

It’s optimal to make enough for about half a gallon of weed-killing solution:

  • Pour eight cups of vinegar into a container.
  • Add three tablespoons of salt.
  • Pour one tablespoon of dishwashing soap into the mixture, although you can add a little more. (It will help the mixture stick to the leaves, providing better results).
  • Stir the mixture

Before spraying sandspurs, remember that this solution will kill anything you spray – including your grass, flowers, and vegetables. Consequently, this method is not flawless and may not suit every situation.

Furthermore, this method works very quickly, drying weeds within hours of applying the solution. After 24 hours, the weeds will have dried completely. If you keep at it, they will wither and allow you to pull them out effortlessly.

Store-Bought Vinegar Product

There are some excellent store-bought vinegar solutions if you want to forgo mixing your own home solution. They work equally well and come in spray-ready bottles for easy accessibility.


While administering a pre-emergence herbicide to the soil is the most effective solution because it prevents sandspurs from germinating, it doesn’t come without its chemical dangers. Removing sandspurs after they germinate is less effective and slower, but it may be safer. Thus, consider using both methods to combat them before and after they grow for the best results.