No, we’re not talking about a fun children’s toy. Grass stickers are a colloquial term for grass that has thorns or other sticky portions on it. If you can learn to identify types of grass stickers, you can make your life far less annoying.
Types of grass stickers: There are many varieties of weeds that are considered grass stickers, in that they stick to clothing and pet hair. Some are tall and easy to identify while others are short and harder to see.
What are grass stickers?
Grass stickers are forms of weeds that have rough textures to them and tiny thorns that easily cling to clothes and hair. While they can be annoying for people, as they will stick to clothes and shoes, they can be painful to animals, as they can easily stick to hair and fur.
There are many varieties of plants that can be classified as grass stickers. The majority exist in wild areas, such as parks and meadows, but their seeds can be transported all over, so you can end up with grass stickers in your own garden.
What’s the use of grass stickers?
While grass stickers are not usually welcome in your garden, they are simply plants that have the unfortunate characteristic of sticking to your clothes and your pets. Many grass stickers have flowers that attract pollinators, so they serve an important ecological purpose.
How to identify grass stickers
Grass stickers have rough textures and small thorns on them, which is why they are able to stick to clothes and hair so easily. These thorns are often very small, so you might not notice them until they are too late.
The problem with grass stickers is you don’t often notice you are walking through them until you get home. Then, you may discover plenty of unwanted passengers on your clothes and socks.
Types of Grass Stickers
Yellow Vine Stickers
As you can gather from their name, yellow vine stickers are yellow in color. The seed pods have a round shape to them but at each edge is a sharp point.
Unfortunately, their shape and texture make these grass stickers optimal for attaching to clothes and pets. Untangling them can prove to be very difficult.
Thistles are attractive plants thanks to their indigo flowers. Indeed, many home gardens feature thistles and if viewed from a distance, they are gorgeous.
However, many species of thistles will take over your whole garden, so if you really want to plant them, be prepared. They are more common in wilderness situations.
The tall height of thistles makes them easy to spot, which is important if you are out on a walk and the surrounding grass is tall. The leaves are similar to dandelion leaves but are thicker and have a coarser texture.
This plant is easy to spot thanks to its large leaves that look like spears. At first glance, it can look like a type of lettuce but the foliage is much tougher and has prickly spines on both sides of the leaves.
The burrs on the burdock are rough and extremely irritating if they come into contact with your skin. Newer burrs are especially rough, although more mature ones can take on a softer feel as they age.
Grown in the summer, cockleburr can reach heights of up to 6 feet tall, which is good as it will help you identify it. The plant grows very fast and in just one summer it can take over your whole garden, so the earlier you can spot it, the better.
Unfortunately, cockleburr is not just annoying. It is also toxic if livestock ingests it, so if you have a farm, you need to remove it immediately. To identify cockleburr, look for large leaves that are similar to a squash plant and small, green flowers.
Also known as a cat’s head, this weed has leaves that come from a central point and flowers that resemble stars. Pollinators are especially attracted to goat head weed, so look for bees and butterflies in the area.
If you look closely at the seeds on this plant, you will notice a number of spikes as well as a few prongs. These often resemble a goat’s head, hence the name.
Similar to dill and fennel, lawn burrweed has foliage that looks a little lacey, but don’t be fooled by its texture. This invasive plant grows low to the ground, so it can be overlooked if you have a lot of other weeds in the area.
Lawn burrweed prefers shady areas that have moist soil, so look for darker areas around the base of sheds and trees. If it grows into grassy areas, it can be hard to control it.
Even though pollinators love stickseed, you should avoid it in your own garden. Also known as beggar’s lice, it has small blue flowers and very hairy leaves that will quickly irritate your skin.
Stickseed is most common in wild settings, such as pastures and fields. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and even if you don’t see it while walking, once you get home you will find tons of burrs sticking to your clothing.
How To Get Rid of Grass Stickers
Nobody really likes to weed but it is the most effective method for getting rid of unwanted plants. Hand weeding allows you to control what goes and what stays, which is especially important if you have other plants in the area that you want to keep.
If you decide to hand weed any grass stickers, be sure to wear a solid pair of work gloves. Long sleeves are also recommended so your skin doesn’t come into contact with the abrasive plants.
It’s easier to remove any type of weed by hand if the soil is moist. Drought-like conditions will encourage weeds to grow their roots deeper, making it harder to take them all up.
Try to wait until after it has rained for a few days to remove the weeds. Use a sharp trowel or a screwdriver to dig alongside the roots.
Once you have your weeds, place them in a plastic bag and throw them in your garbage. Do not put grass stickers in your compost as their seeds can be easily transferred to other parts of your garden.
If you want a natural method of weed control, you can try using white vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar will slowly spread from the tops of the plants to the roots, although this will not be automatic.
For the best results, use a spray bottle of vinegar and thoroughly coat the weed’s leaves. The method works best if all the cells are covered with vinegar as it will damage this outer layer and then cause the plant to dry up.
The one issue with white vinegar is that it will kill other plants it touches. Therefore, it might not be the best weed remedy if your grass stickers are surrounded by grass.
Another organic herbicide option is using salt. When applied to live objects, salt will absorb moisture, leaving your weeds to dry out. Salted plants are also prevented from absorbing nutrients from the soil, which will result in them slowly dying.
For short-term use, salt is effective when battling grass stickers. However, for long-term use, it can build up in your soil and cause irreparable damage.
Do not use salt if you have other plants nearby or if you plan on planting more diverse plants in the near future.
A simple but effective method of removing grass stickers is by pouring boiling water over the unwanted plants. It might not work for all weeds but it will damage them, leading to their demise.
Using boiling water is best if your weeds are solitary as it can be hard to focus the water on just the offending plant. Pour a pot or two of boiling water and by the next day, your grass stickers will either be weakened or dying.
There are many reasons not to use a herbicide, most notably the declining bee population. However, if you have exhausted your resources and can’t get the pesky grass stickers out, then a chemical herbicide may be your only option.
You can apply the herbicide yourself or hire a company to do it. Be sure to clear the area of children and pets and inform your neighbors as the wind can carry herbicides to other areas.
What kind of stickers are in my yard?
To know what kind of grass stickers you have, look closely at the leaves and seed pods. We’ve provided descriptions of common grass stickers in the above section, so you may be able to match what you find to these.
If you’re still unsure, take a picture with your phone. There are many plant identifier apps that you can download that will tell you exactly what kind of stickers you have.
Grass stickers are incredibly annoying, especially as they can get tangled up in your pet’s fur. If you can learn to identify them and try some home remedies to remove them, you can make your yard a more hospitable place.