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How to Get Rid of SpurgeHow to Get Rid of Spurge

A common type of weed that often springs up in lawns are a family of plants known as spurge. Spurge can be a particularly irritating plant not only because of its stubbornness when trying to remove it from your lawn, but because it is known to be a skin irritant when one comes in contact with its milky sap. Spurge is a fast growing annual summer weed which grows low to the ground and can quickly become a problem on lawns because of how rapidly they spread once present. The earlier you catch this weed growing in your lawn or garden, the more effective it will be to control spurge.

Spurge Background Information

Spurges is the common name given to a large and diverse genus of plants known as Euphorbia which includes perennial desirable plants as well as invasive annual weeds which commonly grow on the lawns of homeowners.  There are many different types and species of spurge but we’ll only be covering the main types of spurge that grow on lawns and make themselves an ugly sight in yards. Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata), petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus) and creeping spurge (Euphorbia serpens) are three such types of spurge but there is also Hyssop Spurge, Roundleaf and garden spurge that can become a nuisance on landscapes.

Spotted spurge is usually the most common type of spurge of them all on homeowner lawns and are the ones that we get the most calls about. Spotted spurge is darkish green with red stems which grows low to the ground in a carpet-like fashion. They tend to grow outwards from the center in a rough wagon wheel shape. The leaves typically are oval shaped with a red speckle in the middle, hence the name spotted spurge.

Spotted spurge is a hairy plant and within the leaves lies a milky sap known as “latex” which is basically the spurges defense mechanism against plant-eating animals and insects because it serves as a deterrent. When humans come into contact with spurge and come into contact with the latex within, it can irritate the skin. When contacted by any of the mucous membranes like the eyes, mouth and nose, extremely painful inflammation occurs. This is why spurge should be taken care of swiftly when on lawns where children and pets frolic and play. After germinating in mid-spring, the plant's green flowers bloom from June up until September.

How To Control Spurge

If you have only a small outbreak of spurge on your lawn, we recommend hand pulling it and making sure to get the entire taproot. However, Spurge on lawns are known to spread quickly  throughout weak areas of turf and can produce several thousand seeds per plant. Although spurge weeds are summer annual, seeds from later in the season may sprout the following spring after lying dormant during winter temperatures. Early detection and treatment of spurge is essentially to eliminating this pesky weed as seed production begins 5 weeks after germination.

There are several ways to control spurge with herbicides, both pre-emergent and post-emergent. No matter what type of herbicide you use, there is a likelihood that it well take more than one application as these plants tend to be persistent, coming back annually.

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Recommended Pre-Emergents for Spurge Control

An early attack with a pre-emergent herbicide is an important step to control spurge, especially spurge problems have been prevalent on your lawn. Pre-emergents will prevent seed on your lawn from growing, thus neutralizing them.

  • Timing is key when using pre-emergents. Quite often landowners don’t realize they have spurge until they’ve popped up from the soil. However if you are proactive, you can halt spurge before they grow. Most pre-emergents are meant to be applied right before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees in the spring, so the product is present in the soil once seeds begin to germinate. Spurge begins to germinate when the ground reaches about 60 degrees.

  • Read label very carefully and apply only according to the instructions given.

Recommended Post-Emergents For Spurge Control:

When Spurge have already sprouted and have grown on your lawn, a post-emergent herbicide like the ones recommended above work best. It is ideal to spray the spurge when they are young as they can be a bit more difficult to control when they have matured as they are more resistant to weed killing applications.

Please use the products according to their specific instructions on the label as each product may have certain intricacies which differ from the others.The most effective time to apply herbicides is mid- to late June when the true flowers begin to appear but the bracts have still not grown. The second spray application should be made early to mid-September when fall regrowth is underway but before a killing frost occurs.

For more information on controlling Spurge on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at
askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

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