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  • Writer's pictureJen Haynes

Be on the Lookout for Longspine Sandbur

The Boundary Invasive Species Society needs your help! Longspine sandbur is an annual grass that has taken a foot hold in Christina Lake and in 2017 a patch was found in Rock Creek. Has it spread to the communities in between? If you think you have found longspine sandbur we want to know. We need a detailed location of where you have found it so that we can verify it and add it to our database. A photo would also be great! It could be anywhere in the Boundary. It will most likely be found along roadsides and trails. Check your socks and footwear for burs, the burs will also stick into tires and check your pets as well. If you find these sharp burs, please throw them in the garbage. We do not want this grass spreading! Longspine sandbur (Cenchrus longispinus) is native to the subtropical regions of North America but it is not native to Canada. Sandbur can grow up to 0.7 m tall but the plants in the Boundary are more in the 15 to 30 cm tall range. The easiest way to identify longspine sandbur is by the burs. They are extremely sharp and spiky. None of the other grasses will have burs on them. Longspine sandbur can poke through flip flops and damage bicycle tires. If this grass spreads and gets into yards, grasslands, rangelands or hay fields it will cause major problems. If the sandbur contaminates animal feed it can cause ulcers in the animals’ mouths. It is not something that animals prefer to eat so if it starts to outcompete other grasses there will be less food for the wildlife to eat. Treatments have been done on the sandbur with herbicide as well as hand pulling in Christina Lake. There is only found a small patch of it in Rock Creek, so it is controlled with hand pulling. It is easy to pull out and the herbicide treatments are also effective. To report longspine sandbur or any other invasive plants as well as to ask questions you can contact the Boundary Invasive Species Society at, 250-446-2232, on Facebook and

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