Coastal Sandspur (Cenchrus spinifex)

Sandspurs! UGH! What a pain! A pain in the heel, foot, ankle. A pain in the cat, cat and other cat. A pain when you step on one in the house because it came in on the sole of a shoe or the cat, cat or other cat. And a BIG pain to try to get rid of them growing in the yard!

Sandspur 2The variety we have in our yard is Coastly Sandspur (Cenchrus spinifex Cav.) and is also known as Fieldspur, Common Sandspur or Spiny Burrgrass. It is a US Native and there is a particular song bird that eats the seeds (Pyrrhuloxia or Desert Cardinal.) Well, I would certainly welcome a flock of those birds to come a eat as many seeds as they could in my yard. Take your pick, front or back yard. Free. No Charge. I don’t think they know how many of these dang spurs are in our yard, let alone in the State of Texas.

I recently mentioned a “weed” that I welcome to grow in our yard, this WEED is not one of them. I do not welcome this at all. There are no barefoot days. There are no sandal days. Those are completely unheard of in our yard. Sandspurs are considered a noxious weed. I consider it, not only noxious, but OBNOXIOUS too.

Sandspur 1Oh, I have had some people tell me, “just frequently mow your yard to keep the plant from producing seeds.” I have tried that. Put the mower on the lowest possible setting which took everything down to within an 1″ of its life. I mowed every week, sometimes twice.  The darn plant just stopped sending its seed heads straight up…. it now sent them out horizontal and right at ground level. Hmmm, that didn’t work. I think they even produced more spurs that were sticking their tongues out at me!

Are you plagued with sandspurs? How do you handle them?

Sincerely, Emily

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8 Responses to Coastal Sandspur (Cenchrus spinifex)

  1. Nancy Davis says:

    Hi Emily, I am not bothered by them here where we live now but when we went to AZ for the winter poor Coco use to get them in her feet when we went for a walk. Ouch!! Nancy

  2. Lemongrass says:

    I am not sure if what I have is Sandspur, but here in the Caribbean we have something similar. Although not as painful as what you have, when one steps on it. I have to find the name. It does grow as a grass and has a lovely flower. Trying pouring a little salt water to the roots to get rid of it..

    • Hi Lemongrass. There is no pretty flower with this sandspur. We have an acre of land and these things are everywhere and they spread so easily. I have spent a lot of time digging them out of pathways so we aren’t tracking them back and forth and transferring the seeds to other spots. I have used vinegar to kill a type of thistle that we are also fighting and that has worked great. For me, it is hard to tell the sandspur from other grass-like weeds until it starts to produce the spur. I have not heard of using salt water to get rid of things.

  3. Oh, those don’t look pleasant at all! 😦 I wish you luck and success in your fight against them.

  4. Clara says:

    Hey Emily! Have you tried spraying the obnoxious weeds with Vinegar? It’s amazing for weed control. We have Hawthorne shoots coming up all over the yard and the vinegar worked on them really well. I need to spray it around our raised beds next. The dousing of rain we got revived all the old seeds that had been dormant all spring. When you use it, just be careful with the over spray if it’s growing next to something you want to keep. The vinegar will kill what ever you spray it on.

    Good Luck. 🙂

    • We have used vinegar on some particularly nasty thistle that is taking over and it has worked well. I definitely could use it on the sandspur, but half of my battle is that it is hard for me to identify in with a few other grassy weeds until it puts on the actual sandspur. Using the vinegar spray would be so much easier than hand digging, like I normally do. I try hard to get them when the sandspur is fresh and green so it stays on the plant when I dig it. If it has started turning golden or has dried all the way, it is too late. As soon as you touch the plant those seeds scatter. the vinegar don’t work on the hackberry tree seedlings, those things are indestructible. I love using vinegar to control weeds, it is great!

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