I don’t know about you, but I am fighting some bothersome winter weeds this season. In high traffic areas around my barn, I have developed a lawn burweed (Soliva sessilis) issue. Lawn burweed, also called spurweed, is a low growing winter annual that produces little stickers that stick to boots, shoes, hooves, bare feet and paws. The burs are the seed, so traffic through these weeds can spread it around your property. Where the grass is growing well in the pastures, it is not a problem. However, in high traffic areas where the grass is thinner, it gets a foothold and hangs on to be an annoyance each year.
The solution to this problem is a timely herbicide application containing dicamba and 2-4,D. Application needs to be made prior to the lawn burweed going to seed (before the burs are present). This application will also help rid you of other problem winter weeds as well. If this weed is a problem in your lawn, contact your county’s horticulture agent as there are more options for control in your lawn.
Another weed that is a problem for me around the barn is fireweed (Urtica chamaedryoides). It also likes to invade open areas where grass isn’t growing. I specifically fight it around my compost pile. It likes the nutrient rich environment where few other plants grow. Fireweed is a winter annual with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves and stems have stinging hairs that possess a toxin. This toxin causes a severe reaction in many cases. Horse are known to feed on it and develop symptoms such as weight loss, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. For humans, it produces a localized reaction similar to an insect sting and can be quite painful.
An herbicide application containing triclopyr is a good solution to this problem weed. GrazonNext HL is another option. Once again, timing of the application should be before the plant flowers and seeds out.