Skip Richter, based in Houston, is a popular speaker for garden clubs, Master Gardener programs, and other gardening events across Texas. He has...Full Bio


Controlling sticky weed and sticker burrs

One broadleaf weed that runs rampant in March and April is sticky weed, also known as Velcro weed or sticky willy. 

It’s very easy to control with a simple broadleaf weed killer - when you add surfactant.

Interestingly, it’s often misidentified as sticker burrs, but it’s far from it. In fact, if you do nothing to sticky weed, it will burn away naturally once our high temperatures are in the 80s and 90s.  

Photo: Randy Lemmon /

Another name for sticky weed is its botanical name, Galium aparine. No matter what you call it, though, you've probably rubbed up against it if you do any kind of yard work or gardening. It’s an annual whose seeds germinate in the cool, wet weather of late winter and early spring. Then, it grows rapidly into swirly, sticky stems of green that glue themselves to your fence, your pets, and your socks. 

Before you run to the store to stock up on products listed in my tip sheet on Broadleaf Weed control, know that it is very easy to just pull out of landscapes and lawns, roots and all.  

So now that we’ve covered sticky weed, here’s my tip sheet on what’s needed to control sticker burrs and burr grass. Or whatever you want to call this insidious weed. The big difference with sticker burrs is that it’s more of a grassy weed - none of the broadleaf weed controls will work. Also, controlling sticker burrs calls for changing some cultural practices for a full year. 

By the way, if you said, “a what?” when I referenced using a surfactant above, you should read my article “All About Surfactants.”

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