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How to kill sand spurs

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If you live in Florida, especially near the beach, then you know how easily sand spurs can find places to grow, in sidewalk cracks or in children's play areas.

In their more benevolent living form the spurs are intended by mother nature merely to allow the offspring to hitch a ride. After death when their dried up husks fall to the ground the spurs are especially worrisome since they may become contaminated with animal feces and e-coli that can be introduced beneath the skin and into the blood stream. Serious and unwanted infection can result in addition to the pain.

Best to vent your anger at the sand spur plant and its offspring for your child being stabbed rather than at your child or another human being. This is best accomplished by dealing with the spurs while they are alive and still attached to the plant.

 
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Step 1: The tools

Picture of The tools
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You will need the following tools:

Needed for all methods:

1.) good pair of garden gloves (rose checker gloves work best)
2.) pair of garden scissors
3.) brown paper bag

Also needed per method that is selected:

Method I

4.) Box of Borax

Method II

4.) charcoal starter
5.) 100' to 300' outdoor extention cord

Method III

4.) Dutch hoe

ned1039 months ago
I'm not sure if anyone is still following this post or not. But I recently learned that adding lime to your soil will kill the sandspurs. They don't like sweet soil. Lime is good to add to your grass anyway. I just pull my sandspurs, root and all, as I see them. I have very few in my sandy dirt Florida lawn. I also have 3 or 4 different kinds of grass growing. St. Augustine/Floratam, Bahia and centipede. the latter is my favorite since it grows out not up and is accustomed to the sandy dirt. Well, hope this helps some.
Rocck ned1035 months ago

ned103, I have to do the same thing ... just pull them out roots and all! I carry around with me a 5 gallon bucket on the hunt for these pesky weeds! Your advice to apply lime sounds effective and affordable! Will give it a go! Thanks again!

jadurham59 months ago
All I can tell you is how to pick them off your shoes without hurting yourself. My mom, God rest her soul, and I dearly miss, found that if you lick your fingers before you pick them, they won't hurt!
Rocck jadurham55 months ago

Thanks jadurham5! What a great tip from your mom! I have to pull these weeds by hand every year and will certainly remember your mom's advice!

where do I find a dutch hoe in Florida?
try the corner near the boarder of orlando... i think i saw some there. or maybe they were swedish.. well either way foriegn prostitutes are great
home depot
Generally this can be found as most garden centers, hardware or farm supply stores.
http://www.answers.com/dutch+hoe&r=67

AKA as as scuffle or stirrup hoe.
I use a collapsible 24' x 4' x4' chicken wire pen. Plain wire loosely rapped at the corners allow it to be fold and moved into hard to reach corners or set in various weedy spots, like right up to the flower beds. My three white Peking Geese do the rest. Two things to keep in mind. They need water ( 5gal bucket ), and some shade if it is going to be a hot sunny day. What they don't eat, they walk it down. and no plant likes that, and that will kill most of them. Resist the temptation to feed them, as this will offset the natural " find it and eat it ". You can tell when they are finished eating all their going to eat. Time to move on. After you move the " corral " to it's new location, wash all that natural fertilizer into the soil, and pull up or remove what they wouldn't eat. If you don't have geese, ducks will do ( use water pan ) or chickens ( requires top ). Ducks and geese are easy to train to the corral. Chickens need to be baited in. I have used this method for so many years, I can't remember when. Good luck to everyone.
thoes friggin hurt
8bit4 years ago
Where in FL do you live because I live in Jacksonville!
static6 years ago
Anyone have any experience in using preemergent chemical to control sand burrs? Here in Western Kansas dry land growing anything that will choke them out is a pipe dream. Other water sources are too precious to use for irrigation for this purpose. I heat that geese are death on them, but that would mean fencing to keep the geese out of what I don't want them uprooting. Thanks...
maker12 static6 years ago
plse put away th DDT.
Derin maker125 years ago
:P *dumps 55 gal drumful of ddt on maker12*
maker12 Derin5 years ago
xd *dumps 90 gal drum of sticky polymer on Derinsleep*
Derin maker125 years ago
daily discussion topic?
smarterthanu (author)  static6 years ago
Depending on the total size of the area you want to control a movable fence enclosing a smaller manageable area may work out very well with geese. Borax over large area and in high concentration will however render the soil permanently infertile and is suitable in high concentration only for small crevices and cracks. Other chemicals may likewise not differentiate and be unsuitable as well.
Derin5 years ago
I used to get lots of sand spurs at school,but since I had thick clothing,they would never penetrate the skin
chuckr446 years ago
Pouring boiling water also does a good job of killing the roots. And it does not leave a toxic residue, and it only affects a localized area, say 8 inches in diameter.
dchall87 years ago
I'm an organic gardener so I'm going to suggest an organic solution. Around here we get the same plant. It is a symptom of poor soil - hence the name SAND spurs. Sand makes a poor soil until it gets some fertility into it. This plant is easily choked out by healthy grass, for instance the St Augustine grown all across the south. If you simply cover the sand spurs with flats of St Augustine grass and fertilize the grass with an organic fertilizer, the sand spurs usually will not return. Even if you don't do anything to pick up the existing spurs (seeds), the seeds have a lot of trouble sprouting in the shade of the grass. This remedy does depend on keeping the St Augustine well watered and tall. Periodic applications of organic fertilizer will keep the grass and soil healthy enough to keep the sand spurs out. Never use commercial fungicides, including baking soda, any sulfur or sulfates. Even healthy requires a few tens of thousands of species of fungi to keep the soil and plants healthy. If you don't want to spring the cash for bagged organic fertilizer, find one you like and read the ingredients. You'll find the following materials in the bag: corn meal, corn gluten meal, soy, milo, alfalfa, cottonseed meal, and a few other protein based ground up grains. What I do is go to a feed store and buy ordinary corn meal, alfalfa pellets, or soy bean meal and use that. The cost is just about 1/6 the cost of the commercially bagged organic fertilizer. Use at the rate of 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. That is roughly 10 kg per 100 square meters for you out of towners. Or if you don't have a feed store nearby, look at the ingredients on dog or cat food and compare to organic fertilizer. They are nearly identical - identical enough that you can use dog food for fertilizer.
maker12 dchall86 years ago
20 mule team borax is non toxic
The Earth is flat.
its not
dchall8 maker126 years ago
The dose makes the poison. Boron is a biological necessity in plants in small quantities; however, if you just dump it on the soil, you will have a sterile soil.
smarterthanu (author)  dchall87 years ago
After our dog died we had almost a full 40 lb bag of dry chunky dog food that was left out in the garage. To keep rodents and insects out of it we put it in a large plastic container that had a lid. When it began to turn moldy we did just what you are saying with the moldy part and mixed the chunks with soil and used it to fertilize our garden. The rest we gave to the chickens. Our sand spur problem, however, is not in the yard but in all the concrete cracks and areas covered with river or lime rock that have accumulated mostly sand but some soil, which requires the rock to be removed every five years so the soil can be removed and the rocks washed and returned to the area with a new liner. The only way we have found to keep the rock areas and sidewalk cracks free of weeds is to use the Borax method. We have already replaced one rock filled area with Bromeliads but the other rock filled areas are in the direct sun so the Bromeliads do not hold water very long or reach a dark green color and provide a habitat for little tree frogs that chirp/talk like little chickens.
Well if they're in the cracks the borax will definitely throw the soil chemistry toward the uninhabitable side without the use of more toxic chemicals. Nice job! I've heard those frogs down in Mexico and Venezuela. I thought they were crickets. I never did see one, though.
smarterthanu (author)  dchall87 years ago
I've only seen them once or twice but the lizards come out every once and awhile too. Until we heard the frogs chirping the Bromeliads just made a nice green area. Now out main interest in the area is to hear the frogs chirp.
And by the way, the presence of both frogs and lizards is an indication of a healthy environment.
smarterthanu (author)  dchall87 years ago
We are in the process of converting our lawn to Xeriscaping buy various methods with rocky paths to a variety of sitting areas. The areas nearest the Bromeliads and the creatures they host are the most popular.
maker126 years ago
a soldering iron is better for way #2
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