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Weed of the Week: Grassbur (Field Sandbur, Sandbur, etc.)

Weed of the Week: Grassbur (Field Sandbur, Sandbur, etc.)

By Vanessa Corriher

Grassbur is a grass weed that is very troublesome in pastures and hay meadows throughout Texas. Most grassburs are easily recognized in the mature stage of growth when the “bur” seed heads become apparent. The bur itself is actually a “capsule” that usually contains from 1 to 3 seeds. We tend to think of the grassbur species as a warm season annual plant. However, many grassburs are classified as perennials because they can survive from one year to the next. The presence of grassburs can be an indication of a weak stand of forage. Grassburs are more tolerant of acidic, low fertility soils than many of our warm season forages. One of the best cultural control measures is to maintain a healthy stand of forage with proper management.


Identifying grassbur is key to chemical control. Unfortunately most can not identify a grassbur until it has produced the bur seed head. Dr. Paul Baumann, Retired Professor & Extension Weed Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, has an excellent publication on grassbur identification.

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