Last Updated on March 10, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Does your garden or landscape project have a spurge weed problem, and you are not quite sure how to deal with it?
Then this is the article for you, as we will try and clarify all you need to know about how to get rid of spurge and how to prevent it.
Info About Spurge Weeds
Euphorbia maculata — which is also called spotted spurge — is an invasive summer weed with characteristic leaves. Its dark green leaves with paired leaf axils, tend to take over weak areas of disease on lawns, non-crop sites, vegetable gardens, flower beds, landscape beds, weakened landscape sites, waste ground and sidewalk cracks.
This spurge species grows close to the ground and is fast spreading once it matures, growing in the most challenging conditions.
The fast rate at which this annual weed is able to spread its seeds, makes it quite hard to control once it is established. Over grown spurge also causes fungal diseases and attracts unwanted insects to citrus groves.
Other common species of spurge weeds native to the United States, include petty spurge (E. peplus — has a green flower), creeping spurge (E. serpens), prostrate spurge weed plants, leafy spurge (grows up to three feet tall), nodding spurge (Euphorbia nutans) etc. There are many more native species. Management is similar for all types of spurge.
Spotted spurge can grow in any condition, but prefers sunlight and warmer conditions above all. This dark green plant grows in a mat-like manner, reaching about 3 feet in diameter. Be aware that these summer annuals contain a milky sap that may pose a toxic threat to your pets.
Methods To Purge Spotted Spurge Weeds
There are a few methods and techniques that you can choose from when you want to kill and control spurge. Some methods to eliminate this annual plant from your garden or lawn include:
- Hand pulling the weeds from the ground
- Using selective herbicides manufactured for spotted spurge plant
- Pre-emergent herbicide treatments
- Post-emergent herbicide treatments
- Natural ways to kill and prevent the weed
Removing Spurge Weed & Weed Seeds By Hand
Pulling spurge weed from the ground — hand weeding — is an effective way to get rid of spurge. It is quite labor-intensive and time-consuming, but if done correctly, will help control the problem at hand.
This is, however, often a temporary solution, because of the uncertainty that the entire root system has been pulled out. If not, its deep root growth will start sprouting again.
Always wear protective clothes such as gloves and a long sleeved shirt when hand weeding. The milky sap that is released by the spurge weed, may end up causing irritation to your skin.
Then go about pulling at the broadleaf weeds. Be sure to pull out the entire tap root from underground, to avoid further spread of the roots.
Tip: It is easier to pull out spurge plants when the soil is wet. Go about this job after irrigation or rainfall.
Never pull at the spurge plant when it has started to produce seeds, as this may cause the spurge seeds produced to drop, spreading this invasive weed all over the place.
Removing them at an early age, as soon as you notice them in your garden, to prevent weed seeds produced from spreading, is crucial.
Important Things To Remember When Weed Pulling
- For the prevention of regrowth of this fast-growing annual summer weed, ensure that the entire main root (taproot) is completely removed from the soil.
- As mentioned above, always wear gloves to avoid skin irritation caused by the plant’s sappy substance.
- Always opt for goggles as well, in order to protect your eyes from the spotted spurge sap, which is not only a skin irritant, but may hurt your eyes as well.
- Ensure that the pulled out weed plant is packed and disposed of correctly, in order to prevent further and future spread of spotted spurge weed plants.
Selective Spurge Weed Herbicides
Selective herbicides for garden spurge are considered one of the best ways to kill spotted spurge plants without damaging other nearby crops. They are an excellent method of spurge weed control, easy to use and fast acting, killing your weed infestation in no time. Herbicides are best used in early summer and relatively cool conditions.
Continue on as we elaborate on what are considered some of the best selective herbicides to use to eliminate spurge and general weed control in gardens.
This product is great to use if you want to control a spurge. As mentioned above, it’s one of the best selective herbicides on the market, designed to be used commercially and residentially on lawns and landscapes.
The active ingredients in this spurge weed killer are fast-acting sulfentrazone, dicamba, triclopyr and 2,4-D. They inhibit the plant from producing chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll, photosynthesis can’t take place and the weed plant dies.
T-Zone is fast acting, showing signs of impact as little as a few hours after application and eradicating all treated weed areas within 7 to 14 days.
Pre-Emergent Herbicide Treatment
A pre – emergence herbicide — bonide weed beater (which is a dry application type) or barricade pre-emergent herbicide, for example — are great if you want to prevent and control spotted spurge.
It should, however, only be used to prevent broadleaf weeds appearing before the dense mat leaf margins start to develop and flower. Use it if you have had a spurge weed issue in your garden before. There are a few other things that need to be considered when using such a product to prevent spurge.
Continue on for tips on the use of pre-emergent herbicide as a complete spurge weed killer.
Things You Should Know Before Using Pre-Emergent Herbicides
- This type of treatment is useless when it comes to killing dormant seeds or already existing broadleaf spurge weed plants. It will also not stop the process of germination from happening, but it will be able to eliminate germinating weed seedlings.This is the reason why pre emergent herbicide application should be done just before the spotted spurge seed germinates.
- The application window for the control of spurge weed would be during spring, just before the garden soil temperatures reach 55 degrees. This way, the herbicide will still be active when weed seedlings start to germinate.
- When purchasing a pre-emergent herbicide, always buy the one that is specifically made for spotted spurge and follow instructions with regard to the rate of application.
Post-Emergent Herbicides Treatment
This type of treatment is great to use to get rid of spotted spurge, that is actively blooming. This type of spurge control is great for mature weeds, but works best on young spurge weed plants. Buy a product that is labeled post-emergent herbicide for spurge — Fahrenheit post-emergent herbicide or Hi-Yield Atrazine (active ingredient atrazine) for example — and use it according to the label instructions. For practical application and the best results, multiple treatments at the correct application rate will be necessary.
Common post-emergent control options include:
This is considered a suitable spurge family killer for post-emergent use. This effective weed control is fast-working and quite effective to use in spurge weed control on mature spotted spurge and other difficult weeds such as the dollar weed.
It is not only the best-spotted spurge weed killer but also happens to work on other types of lawn weeds which are similar to the spotted spurge weed plant.
This product is another suitable post-emergent spotted spurge weed killer to use on existing spurge. It’s labeled to be one of the best post-emergent herbicide spurge weed treatments, and it can, in fact, be used both as a pre- and post-emergent spurge weed treatment.
Killing Spurge Weed Plants Naturally
The best way is normally the natural way and this is no different when it comes to ridding your yard of annoying spurge such as leafy spurge noxious weeds.
We’ll now continue with some great natural ways to prevent and get rid of these weed plants.
Maintaining an Excellent Turf & Thick Lawn for Weed Control
Ground spurge is quite a competitive weed, and it likes to spread and grow in bare spots where there is a lot of space, such as a sparse turf, spreading more aggressively the more space it is allowed, making spurge control challenging.
Prevent this tough weed from emerging on your grass, by keeping it thick, healthy and at an excellent height. Use grass plugs to repair damaged lawn and make sure that you are planting the appropriate grass type for your location. A common type of grass to use is perennial ryegrass.
Be sure to mow the lawn regularly, keeping it at a good mowing height. Grass that is cut too short, will allow sunlight to pass all the way through, providing the weed seedlings with the energy to sprout and grow.
Taller grass encourages deeper root growth of the grass. Water your lawn deeply with clean water, making sure that it receives a minimum of 1 inch of water weekly.
Buy ‘Clean’ Seeds and Plants
When starting a garden or planting new plants and seeds, always make sure that they do not contain weed seedlings. When planting balled and burlapped plants, always ensure that they are free of harmful seeds such as spurge weed seeds.
Pay Attention to Weeds From Borders and Fences
When cultivating greens, it is practical to create an underground barrier around or near the planted shrubs. This way, you avoid intrusions of hidden weed roots from neighboring gardens or vacant yards.
You could make a barrier with bark to keep out a common weed such as prostrate spurge, for example. A chemical barrier will also stop weeds from sprouting.
Practice Proper Weed Seed Disposal
Using dead spotted spurge, creeping spurge or petty spurge weeds for mulching, is one of many ways to dispose of them. If you choose to use this method of disposal, always make sure that the dead seeds are properly dried out by laying them out in the sun over an extended period of time.
Using debris containing seeds of weeds in a compost pile is another way to dispose of weed seeds. But, before they are added to a pile of compost, always make sure that they have been properly killed at a high enough temperature. This temperature level should be above 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
For more information on mulching, have a look at soil solarization for gardens & landscapes.
With the above featured information, you should now be able to successfully prevent, control and get rid of or kill invasive spurge weed plants in your garden, landscaping beds and on your turf or residential lawns.
Select between any of the above recommended methods and product recommendations to get rid of spurge. Namely, manual weed pulling, natural methods, pre- and post-emergent herbicide treatment or selective herbicide for spurge.
Chemical control as weed killers should always be the last option. The use of a chemical for spurge control will leave chemical residues on plants for months.
Whether you find it on sidewalk cracks or in vegetable gardens, always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. If you practice the proper cultivation practices from the start, your garden or lawn will most likely be weed free. If, however, a spurge plant problem still arises, taking over any desirable plants, you know what to do.