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Stinging Grass

By Lara DeHaven

We call this stinging grass.

If you don’t know what stinging grass is, then consider yourself lucky.  Stinging grass is a light green plant that grows with grass.  It has tiny bristles that “sting” your skin.  It has to be a nettle of some sort.

The sting can leave red welps on your skin.  It also hurts for a long time.  If you get really get into a bunch of stinging grass, it can hurt for a full 24 hours.

Unfortunately, this pest of a plant is encroaching on to our property.  It is mainly in the backyard and is trying to take hold on the perimeter of our garden.  I have reached down to harvest an onion only to jump back in pain.  Stinging grass is not fun.

Through trial and error, we have discovered that pouring white vinegar on the affected area helps to alleviate the pain.

I do not want to use herbicides in our yard with all of our animals.  I also do not want to use them around my garden.  But, I do want to fight this evil plant.

Our sheep would eat it, but it kept coming back.  I always wondered how she was immune to the sting.

Does anyone know how to get rid of stinging grass?  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Another angle.

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27 Responses to “Stinging Grass”

  1. Marjorie

    What you are describing sounds like stinging nettle. OUCH! It does hurt when you get into it or even just barely brush against it. Try just pouring some hot water on it? This will kill it, but will probably also kill the grass around it as well.

  2. I’m sorry for your plight, Lara. We have thorny amaranth that is just as impossible. Have you tried digging it up to get the roots? Or, maybe digging up as much as you can and then pouring salt on it.
    Good fortune,

  3. Beverly

    No ideas on how to get rid of the weed – but when the kids get into it we use some essential oils called Purification on it and the stinging goes away (same with bug bites and such) – also, when there is a stinging plant, one of God’s erasers is usually nearby.. is their some Plantian nearby? If so , crush the plantain and put it on the sting and it will go away.

  4. Leann

    Not sure how to get rid of the grass either…maybe pour detergent on it??? but ammonia on the affected area will take out the sting…

  5. Jo Hoeppner

    I stumbled on your website tonight while searching for an answer to this very question. The stuff seemed to take over our back yard this winter and short of digging up the entire back yard, we’re at a loss as to what to do. My hubby even sprayed a small patch of it with Round-Up just to see what would happen, because everything else we had tried failed. As for internet searches…no help! The majority of the results say to harvest the leaves (with leather gloves of course) and steep them to make a “delicious tea.” Ick!

    Love your site and can’t wait to start nosing around in it.

  6. Vera

    If what you describe as stinging grass is in fact stinging nettles, then you can harvest the leaves to cook them for spring greens and just cook as you would cook spinach. My family ate it when I was a child as the first greens in the spring.

  7. Liz

    My 5 year old calls it “itchy grass”. Oh I hate it.
    My grandfather used to burn it. He would simply start a small grassfire and burn up the weeds.
    Or the good old fashioned way of digging them up.

  8. Looks like you’ve got nettles. I had a patch that I used to harvest. They’re sweeter than spinach. We put one of our pigs in there and she ate them all plus the roots too. Now I need to find myself another patch to harvest!

  9. You can try applying a high strength vinegar to the plants to kill them. This is what we do to avoid using herbicides. Not your usual vinegar strength for the table (5-7%), but one more for pickling near 20%. It is an acid, so do be careful!

  10. Ken

    We used to call that Bull Nettle, I think. Lot of it in East Texas.

  11. Jeff

    Lit gasoline works. Down here we have bull nettle. Prettiest little white flower but the stuff stings worse than an ant bite. Turns out, that’s exactly what’s in the needles – ant toxin.

  12. Monica Buchtien

    My husband and I were picking some oak trees out at a tree farm and although I had long sleeves on and had just put gloves on, it found it’s way between the two. It immediately started stinging, welts appeared shortly after, then went away as well as the stinging but not till after about 3 hours. But then it began to ache all the way down my wrist and hand and actually feels like arthritis in my joints. The reason I went on line to find out about this “stinging grass” is because I have a high tolerance of pain and I don’t like to complain. But this stuff first stings and then hurts like ****.

  13. Lara DeHaven

    Oh, Monica! It sounds like you really got into the stinging grass good. As my grandma would say, “Bless your heart.” I am always surprised how intense the pain and the duration of the discomfort when I am “stung.” Thank you for telling us your story.

  14. The best way to remove from skin is with soap and warm water if a person has been affected ALOT.Have them take a full bath.

  15. Tracy

    Oh thank you soooo very much for this article! I have an exact same picture of this lovely little devil on my cell trying to find out what it is exactly. I live in Katy, TX and have never encountered this before. I got into it today, not realizing how bad it was. I thought I’d quick pluck a few weeds while the dogs were out to make good use of my time outside. Bad idea!! I am burning all the way down to my elbow. Water makes it burn more! I am allergic to ants and have similar pain sensations to that as this weed sting. Thankfully I took Benedryl as soon as I got back in side the house, but I still hurt! What a horrible weed. Definitely a creation from the devil himself! Ouch!!

  16. Linda

    Stinging grass is not Bull Nettle. It grows in the grass, and looks a lot like parsley, but a lighter green. The stinging part is a bit tough to get over, but it is the tingling and numb feeling where this stuff touches. You can wash with warm water and soap, dry and apply Absorine Jr or a Benedryl stick for bites from bugs that itche.

    And unlike me, wear gloves!

  17. Nina

    Does anyone know how to kill this stinging grass without killing the rest of everything else? I sprayed weed killer last year and almost lost my crapemurtle (bad speller) mytle trees. Please help me.

  18. Tina

    Well I was a victim today of the bull nettle….. I went out to pickk some green onions from my little garden and I jerked my hand back fast, thought the snakes were out…..ouch, on the inside of my thumb and hand I had a welp that started swelling up. I thought I was snake bit but there was no snake, I only touched a baby bull nettle but Baby it sure hurt… It has been 3 hrs already and I have took benadryl because I’m allergic to everything and dont take chances, it is still raging on like on fire, my thumb swoll up and My husband came in after checking out where I had been and said yep, bull nettles, so I looked it up and yep, picture perfect little demon, so he is out tryng to de-demon my garden now…. So much for those onions I was trying to get…. I did immediately wash it with warm soapy water then I applied vinegar and then benadryl cream as well as two pills, so I’m a bit foggy headed, but the pain keeps coming back in waves….when will it stop

  19. Lara DeHaven

    I am so sorry. If I get into it bad, it can take 24 hours before it stops stinging painfully. Sometimes I even experience the red welps and some numbness and tingling. It is some mean stuff. It sounds like you have done everything possible for relief. Now you unfortunately just have to wait it out. I hope that your husband is successful in extracting it from your garden and yard.

  20. Corey

    Yep! Darn stuff got me twice so far this spring break and i’m raging mad at the the little green devil. Haven’t found a perfect solution for the pain, numbness, stinging, or tingling, but i do know it is very uncomfortable to bare. I was told as a kid by my Aunt to pee on it and it would take the pain away. Never tried that remedy because it just didn’t sound right. I have two acres full of this evil grass and can’t stand it. Hopefully i can try a few things i’ve read on here and get rid of this green devilish grass. Oh, How funny, my wife just come in saying she stepped on some bees out in the yard. I told her “welcome to my world and they weren’t bees It was stinging grass, and now you have to go pee on your feet to stop the stinging”…… LOL….. Thanks to all for the tips……

  21. Tammy

    My husband had a run-in with stinging weed today. I have lived in South East Texas my whole life. Some people say that it is Bull nettle. Thats a bunch of bull. Two totally different plants. I have had experience with both and the stinging weed is the worst. We have tried lots of remedies and it seems that alcohol works for us but it must be applied immediately. Keep alcohol hand sanitizer with you while doing anything in East Texas.

  22. Misty Harrelson

    I just stepped in some stinging grass today while putting bird seed in my bird feeder and I thought for sure a snake had bitten me! I looked down but all I saw was grass and a dandelion plant and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was goin on! I made it to the house and my husband told me I must have stepped in the “stinging grass”. I had never heard of such until he told me we had some. He told me he had stepped in it when he was a kid. I told him thanks for letting me know we had it in our yard!! :)

  23. Amy

    I got into some yesterday and rubbing alcohol did not help so I used some Preparation H and it seemed to help best so far. Last time I got in stinging grass it was painful for four days and my lips were numb.

  24. Nina

    It’s not bull nettle, I grew up in east Texas, then got property in southeast Texas, there was no bull nettle or stinging grass. Then we bought some hay, and bam Stinging grass , and this stuff is much worse than bull nettle (stinging nettle) , the vinegar poured directly on the plant on a hot sunny day kills it.. Only problem is the stuff spreads so quick, lots of vinegar .. But if you do get stung I think the alcohol works pretty good, although I’m happy to see more natural treatments for ‘the bite’

  25. angie

    We live in texas and have stinging grass bad. I was told you have to pull it up young. The older it gets it starts reseeding it self. It is a hard row to hoe so to speak but i have found it is true. As far as the sting hairspray or white pasty toothpaste works great (on ant bites to). Hope this helps

  26. Cindy Preis

    We are near Austin and have tons of the stuff. My son also called it “itchy grass” because it itches so badly after the fire goes away. We have found that applying tape to the area immediately (before washing off) works really well. We keep it handy in the truck and garage just for this. Four acres and it isn’t an obvious plant. We try to remember to wear shoes when in the garden. Hope this helps.


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