Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board
This web site will help you identify & control noxious weed with information and photographs to aid you.

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Burs on late season plantsLongspine seedling. Notice the bur that it grew from still attached to the root on the right.Spreading, prostrate habit of older plantsBurs are just forming on this mid-season plant

Longspine sandbur (Cenchrus longispinus) is a summer annual grass that begins to germinate anywhere from late May to early July, weather dependent.  Seeds will then continue to germinate up to frost, especially with each new rain fall.  It forms a very spiny bur late in July or August and it is usually not until this bur is formed that the plant is identified.  This weed has the potential to spread extremely fast because the bur it produces almost leaps onto anything passing through or near the plant and holds on until it is knocked off.  It is a lover of very sandy soils and does not do well when faced with a good stand of grass or other thick vegetation.  We have found the weed in rights-of-ways (railroad and vehicle), flower gardens, newer lawns, orchards, fields and along many ORV trails and other pathways.  

Working with private landowners, Public Works, WA DOT, NPS and BNSF Railroad the past several years has greatly reduced the amount of sandbur in the county.  This is the time to be extra careful not to overlook a property that may be on the outskirts of the areas we have been treating.  It certainly would be a shame to see sandbur move back into areas that it has been eliminated from because of a property we weren't aware of or because a landowner ignores the problem.  Please contact us if you have the weed or you have seen it on a roadside or favorite swimming beach.

Until further notice, we are offering 100% of the materials and labor needed to control longspine sandbur.  Control methods will vary as necessary from site to site.  Landowners will have to agree to allow us access to the property multiple times during a growing season in order to perform surveys and pre-, post-treatment activities. 

Longspine sandbur is relatively easy to control, once you have identified it.  If you do not wish to participate in our cost share program, you can choose to control the weeds with your shovel, hoe, gloved hands or over the counter grass killing herbicides.  Or you can hire your own contractor to come in and spray or otherwise control the weed for you.  Proper and timely identification of the plants is critical.  Because sandbur is a grass, it tends to look very much like many of the other grasses you might find on the same site and it is not until the prickly burs have formed that the plant is easily identified.  Once the burs are on, the plants need to be removed from the site (dug and bagged or burned) to prevent the seeds from maturing and remaining on site.  Grass killing herbicides may not stop seed from maturing in plants that have burs, but if they are caught just as they are starting to produce burs, we believe the majority of the seeds will not mature.  It is important to be able to distinguish longspine sandbur from other grasses you may have on site because you donít want to kill your desirable, competitive vegetation-ultimately the best means of keeping the sandbur at bay.  We are happy to come out and help with identification questions during the season-just give us a call.
Last Edit: March 25, 2015

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