How To Kill Sand Spurs The Easy Way

Sand spurs are surely one of the most annoying things you can have in your garden or lawn. They not only ruin the look and feel of your place, but they also are a “pain in the ass” whenever they stick to your skin.

You’ll be surprised to feel something prick on your feet or legs, only to find that it’s just these pesky sand spurs. What’s worse is that they’re quite difficult to remove, and painful too! With these being said, it makes perfect sense for you to not only remove them from your garden but to kill them for good.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to kill sand spurs in the easiest and best way.

What you will need

1. Garden gloves

The first thing you need to prepare is garden gloves. You need this to protect your hands from getting pricked by the sharp thorns of sand spurs. The thicker the gloves, the better they are.

Just make sure that your hands are comfortable inside it, and you wouldn’t feel hindered in movement. It should be breathable and should let air flow through inside of it. The last thing you want to experience is to get cuts and have bleeding hands.

2. Mower with clippings catcher

what is the best way to kill sand spurs

You’re going to need a mower that has its own clippings catcher to trim and cut off the growing sand spurs. The clippings catcher is important because this is the one that will catch the trimmed sand spurs.

If they are left on the ground, there’s a possibility that they may re-grow and cause further havoc later on.

3. Fertilizers and herbicides

You also need to prepare nitrogen fertilizer because this will increase the nitrogen levels in the soil. Sand spurs don’t like high-nitrogen soils because these easily cool down and dampen.

Meanwhile, it’s also important for you to have herbicides such as corn gluten meal and a post-emergent. These are pretty effective in stopping sand spur growth because of their chemical composition.

Step-by-step process of killing sand spurs

Step #1: Remove them

The first thing you need to kill them off is to remove them simply. Though it isn’t the most effective way, it still is a necessary first step to get you going later on. What you’re going to do is to remove them by hand. Wear thick gardening or work gloves when pulling them out. This will protect your hand from getting pricked by the sharp spines.

Though hand pulling is effective in dealing with small sand spur patches, it isn’t recommended when you’ll be taking on huge spur-infested places. If you’re going to work on a big area, it’s best if you use a mow that has a built-in clippings catcher. This will catch the mowed sand spurs that might otherwise fall to the ground and re-grow again.

Step #2: Maintain a regular mowing and watering routine

how to get rid of sand spurs without killing grass

What you need to do next is to do prevention tasks. The best way to get rid of these sand spurs is to prevent them from growing. You can do this by making sure that you strictly follow a mowing and watering routine. You need to mow your grass weekly or even daily, depending on its growth speed.

Make sure that your grass doesn’t grow taller than 4 inches. Regularly watering your grass will also cool its temperature down. Sand spurs thrive in hot and dry places. For sure, they won’t bother growing in the damp and cool grass.

It’s through this that you can ensure your grass will stay healthy and strong. Not only does this stop sand spurs from growing, but this also reduces the tendency for other weeds to grow.

Step #3: Fertilize your lawn

Fertilizers are necessary if you want to ensure that sand spurs don’t grow back later on. These sand spurs thrive in low-nitrogen soil, which is why increasing the soil’s nitrogen content is an effective way to get rid of these pesky weeds.

Apply a pound of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of land. It’s best if you apply them during the spring season because this is the usual time sand spurs grow. You can also do follow-up fertilization when the fall months start.

Another cool trick is to lay down a layer of organic mulch on the weeds to prevent it from further germinating.

Step #4: Use corn gluten meal herbicide

A corn gluten meal is a type of herbicide that is very effective in controlling the growth of sand spurs. It’s best to apply this during the summer months because sand spurs start to grow when the temperature reaches around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

This herbicide also contains 10% nitrogen, making them ideal to kill off any traces of sand spur seeds. This will be enough to get rid of sand spurs in your place permanently. Just be sure to not apply this on the soil where you’ve placed other plant seeds because this would also kill them off.

You can use a rotary spreader to spread the herbicide meal evenly. The ideal amount is 20 pounds of corn gluten meal for every 1,000 square feet of land.

Step #5: Finalize by spraying a Post-Emergent Herbicide

how to get rid of sand spurs naturally

Now if sand spurs still manage to grow despite doing all of the steps mentioned, the last option you can resort to is using a Post-Emergent Herbicide. This is a very strong herbicide that kills off sand spurs of all ages and sizes.

They may either still be growing and just have germinated, or they might be the fallen parts cut off by a mower. Just be extra careful in using this. When you’re applying it, make sure that you are away from other plants as it might contaminate them and, in turn, also kill them off.


Killing sand spurs isn’t difficult. You just need to keep safe and follow all of the steps carefully. If you do, there’s no doubt that you’ll get rid of these pesky weeds that are surely irritating whenever they suddenly prick your skin when you’re just peacefully walking through your garden or lawn.

Share this with your family and friends, so they’ll also learn something from it. You can also tell us what you think by writing in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

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Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

2 thoughts on “How To Kill Sand Spurs The Easy Way”

  1. My back yard is about half an acre and is covered in sand spurs. I tried to spray them this spring with herbicide as they came up, but in many areas they are embedded with other weeds and grass and were hard to see.

    Now it is almost fall and it seems like they have seeded out overnight. I had to mow yesterday but didn’t have a bagger to catch the clippings.

    At this point, what can I do other than continue to mow them low so they don’t seed anymore? Do I have to wait until next year to attack them as there are surely plenty of burs out there waiting to germinate next year?


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