Go to a section?





Are there organic options for managing "sticker bur" grass on a 10-acre field?

Answer: Depending on how extensive this weed is on your land, here are some possibilities: 1) Mow, vacuum, mow. This is to pick up the burs and get them off the pasture. The source I found suggested that a wood chipper is equipped with a vacuum to suction up leaves. You will still have seeds in the soil, but if you get the burs off, you are preventing a lot of next year’s seedlings. Ten acres is a lot of land to do this on, but if you have scouted and found particular patches, this may help. I think there is a tractor-mounted implement meant to do this; someone in my reading hinted that they had invented a tool and it would be available soon, too.2) Burn. This will actually encourage germination, but if you burn and then later treat with a pre-emergent herbicide, then perhaps that will help.3) Mow at a tall height and fertilize to encourage competing plants.4) Dig/pull/burn plants. Several experts have suggested that staying vigilant and removing the plants by hand is the best way to control them. Wear thick, sturdy gloves and be careful. Take the plants off the pasture and destroy them later; don’t let them lay in the field if there are burs on them, or the seed will be there for next chance.5) Graze. If you have animals, grazing is a good option. The plant is palatable when small. But once the burs are out, the animals won’t graze them. Note that all of these control methods should be integrated and repeated.Nothing is going to work if you just do it once. The seeds are just waiting for their opportunity. You have to see this as an ongoing battle that will be won with patience and persistence. For more information on weed management, consult the ATTRA publication Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms