STICKY, STICKERS & STICKING!!!
One of the most predominant broad leaf weeds that runs rampant in the months of February and March is Sticky Weed, otherwise known as Velcro Weed, Sticky Willy, or Bedstraw. The botanical name is Galium aparine. It’s interesting to hear how it’s misinterpreted as Sticker Burrs, when it’s far from it. I address those in another tip sheet as noted below.
If you do any kind of yard work or gardening, you’ve probably rubbed up against this annual whose seeds germinate in the cool wet weather of late winter and then grow rapidly into swirly, sticky stems of green that glue themselves to your fence, your pets and your socks.
No matter what you call it, it’s very easy to control with simple broadleaf weed killers (as long as you add a surfactant). It’s also very easy to pull out of landscapes and lawns, roots and all. The best tool for this is an iron rake. Drag it though a clump of Sticky Weed, twist the rake once to wrap it up, and pull the clump out. You will get large clumps out quickly this way and can bag them up for disposal. Don’t compost this one! It produces thousands of seeds that you don’t want to return to your landscape. Sticky Weed is also limited by weather. In fact, if you do nothing to Sticky Weed it will burn away quite naturally once our high temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. Here is the Broadleaf Weed Control Tip Sheet.
So, now that we’ve defined Sticky Weed/Velcro Weed, and given you some tips on how to control it, let’s address the weed it is mistaken for – Sticker Burrs. Here’s my tip sheet on all things needed to control Sticker Burrs, or whatever you want to call this insidious weed – Sticker Burrs/Burr Grass. The big differences in control for Sticker Burrs versus Sticky Weed, start with the fact that it’s more of a grassy weed, hence none of the broadleaf weed controls will work. The other major difference is that controlling this weed, takes a full year of changing some cultural practices.
But with weed control in mind, coming out of our rough winters I’m covering everything I possibly can, whether it’s sticky weed, sticker burrs or getting the herbicides themselves to actually stick to the weed in question… and that’s with surfactant.
And as noted earlier when I said, “make sure you add a surfactant”, and you may have said “A What?”, then you need to read our tip sheet “All About Surfactants”! If you’re new to using surfactants with herbicides, I always say, “do a test without surfactant, then add some and do another test” and you’ll have something of an Ah-Ha moment when understanding why they are so important to our herbicide practices, when you see it actually sticking to the weed in question.