Burdock (Arctium minus) may have been the inspiration for the first hook-and-loop fastener, but this lowly weed has plagued gardens for eons. This biennial weed produces large showy leaves the first year and then returns with gusto, sending up a 6-foot branched stalk covered with burrs the following year. The trick to getting rid of it, of course, is to eradicate it in its first year to prevent its seed-filled burrs from ever seeing the the light of day. Start your efforts in early spring, while the burdocks are still small.
Grasp the stalk of the burdock near the soil level and pull slowly and evenly to remove the long root from soil. If the root breaks, use a shovel or spade to dig down to the bottom of the root and remove it. The root often pulls free of the soil easily when the soil is wet. Burdock roots may reach 1 to 2 feet long.
Spray the first year rosettes of foliage with a ready-to-use herbicide containing 2,4-D in spring when the plants are young. Watch for new growth and repeat the application, if necessary. New growth may appear from the roots, but with repeated applications of herbicides are effective against burdock.
Mow or cut the burdock plants to the soil level frequently. This reduces the number and size of leaves on burdock plants. Keeping the plant from bolting and producing seeds eliminates problems with new plants sprouting in new areas of your lawn.