[Cenchrus incertus M.A. Curtis]
can be a very troublesome weed in warm-season turf species. It is easily
identified by the seedhead, which is a spike of tiny burs that can hurt when
touched. This weed thrives in sandy soils, but can be controlled with certain
herbicides when in the seedling stage.
Seedhead / Flower
spike; burs that occur all along a spike-like seedhead
leaves folded in the bud
fringe of hairs 0.04 inches (1 mm) long, with 0.08 inch (2 mm)
long hairs on each side
Growth Season / Life Cycle
summer annual or perennial weed
Leaf Blade Tip Shape
sharp-pointed; thin, flat, usually not hairy
Leaf Blade Width
0.08 - 0.24 inches (2 - 6 mm) wide
none, but stems decumbent
present; very short
divided by midrib, distinct
flattened; sheath is usually not hairy
Note: Still not
sure this is the right weed? The Turf
& Weed Identification Decision Aid may help. Check the TurfFiles glossary for definitions
of unfamiliar terms.
be a very troublesome weed in warm-season turf species. It is easily identified
by the seedhead, which is a spike of tiny burs. This weed thrives in sandy
soils. Maintaining a dense, vigorous turf is the first step in effective weed
control. Cultural and management practices that enhance turfgrass growth
generally reduce weed competition and encroachment. First, select adapted
turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water
to encourage dense growth.
Sandbur is difficult to control.
Partial control can be achieved preemergence with prodiamine (Barricade) and
other dinitroaniline herbicides. Postemergence control is achieved with repeat
applications of MSMA. However, MSMA may be phased out in 2009.
Tolerant Turfs (1)
Range of Trial Efficacy Values, %
ba, bc, be, bk, c, f, r, sa, z
ba, be, c, f, sa, z
Quali-Pro Oryzalin, Surflan A.S.
ba, be, bk, c, f, r, sa, z
Pendulum, PRE-M, Scott's Turf Builder With Halts
bc, be, bk, f, r, sa, z
Quali-Pro Oxadiazon, Ronstar
Glyphosate Original, Roundup, Touchdown Pro**
bk, f, r, z
Sencor 75 Turf
MSMA (various brands)
be, c, sa, z
For use only
by or under the supervision of a certified applicator, or by commercial
nursery, turf, and landscape personnel.
application to residential lawns.
MSMA may be
phased out in 2009.
No turfgrass in the database is
completely tolerant. Check label to see if chemical can be used at a reduced
rate or during the dormant season on your turfgrass.
excellent control (90 to 100%)
good control (80 to 90%)
fair control (70 to 80%)
Efficacy ratings are based on
herbicide trials performed by weed scientists at North Carolina State University between 1997 and 2007. The number of trials included in the efficacy ratings
is displayed in the next-to-last column. The higher this number, the more
confidence can be placed in the efficacy values. Trials may have involved
sequential applications of one or more chemical. Details of individual trials
(herbicide rates, dates of application, environmental conditions at time of
application, etc) can be viewed on the TurfFiles web site, through the Turf Weed Management
Efficacy ratings for chemicals
lacking trial data are from “Pest
Management Strategic Plan for Turfgrass in the Southern United States,”
summary of a workshop for turf experts from multiple universities held in Griffin, GA in October, 2004 and sponsored by the Southern Region Integrated Pest
Recommendations of specific
chemicals are based upon information on the manufacturer's label and
performance in a limited number of trials. Because environmental conditions
and methods of application may vary widely, performance of the chemical will
not always conform to the safety and pest control standards indicated by
experimental data. The order in which brand names are given is not an
indication of a recommendation or criticism.
Recommendations for the use of
agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to
the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial
products or services does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University or discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Other
brand names may be labeled for use on turfgrasses. Individuals who use
agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use
complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure
to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current
product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your
county's Cooperative Extension agent.
© North Carolina State University. This information sheet was prepared
by Fred Yelverton, Bridget R. Lassiter, Gail G. Wilkerson, Leon Warren, Travis Gannon, Jenifer J. Reynolds, and Gregory S. Buol. Department of Crop
Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, North Carolina State
University. Prepared July 15, 2008. Available on-line at
www.turffiles.ncsu.edu. This publication was made possible through a grant
provided by the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research & Education
(CENTERE) whose purpose is to support worthwhile projects that will benefit
both the private sector and the public, and protect the environment.