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How to Control Spurgespurge outbreak

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 (particularly spotted spurge) is a summer annual weed that grows best in areas of the lawn that are on the thin side, essentially taking over in those bare spots. Like most other weeds, spurge sets up shop on lawns that are not getting enough TLC, seizing the opportunity of an unhealthy lawn.

Solutions Pest and Lawn is dedicated to serving you with not only supplying the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also we want to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

Doing a little bit of homework regarding the spurge that is invading your lawn can go a long way in getting rid of the invasive plant because you will know what it’s tendencies are and what it doesn't like in order to come up with a winning formula to controlling a weed. Browse our list of recommended herbicide products for spurge control below and scroll further to get expert advuce on dealing with spurge using our patented 4 step process.



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How To Get Rid of Spurge: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification. Before you can proceed with applying herbicides and tackling the nasty looking spurge head on, you have to be sure the type of weed you have is actually spurge and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Proper identification of the weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies are and in what conditions it thrives and also point you in the right direction of which products can best treat that particular weed. 

There are multiple types of spurge with the most common varieties being: spotted spurge (also known as prostrate spurge) and are named as such because their stems ae spotted with purple and pink, creeping spurge--which doesn't have spots and has slightly hair leaves. The other most common types are petty spurge and nodding spurge. No matter the type, spurge shares these most common identifying traits.

  • * Spurge has leaves which are arranged along the stem with one leaf directly across from the other in a symmetrical pattern.
  • * Spurge has a main, central root called the taproot. The weed grows long stems that extend outward from the taproot. When stems and leaves grow outward from the taproot, they may have their own smaller root systems.
  • * Spurge grows low to the ground.
  • * A milky sap is known to ooze from the leaves of spurge when they have been broken or torn into. This sap is known to be a skin and eye irritant is a person were to come in contact with it.


If you are unsure whether you have spurge or not, simply shoot an email over to identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options to address any weed issue you have.


Step Two: Inspection. Once you have confirmation that the weed growing on your lawn is definitely spurge, you can then move to the inspection process. If you have spurge growing on your lawn, they can be easy to point out because of their characteristic leaves and stem. When conducting an inspection it is important to know that spurge grows when the temperatures are higher, since it is a summer weed. Depending on where you live and what the general climate, you could see spurge growing from February through September. Seeds begin to germinate once soil temperatures heat up and will begin to grow once temperatures are above 60 degrees in the spring.

Depending on the species of spurge, the invasive weed can grow in different conditions but for the most part spurge likes to grow in areas that are warmer and receives plenty of sun and will overtake an area that has thin sparse looking grass.


Step Three: Control. Spurge can be a tough weed to control manually because of its extensive root sytem and its ability to quickly produce seed and spread. This is why the best way of controlling spurge is chemical control. The use of a pre-emergent in the fall or early spring right before the temperatures reach 60 degrees would be a great way to keep the weed seeds from emerging. Timing is very important which it comes to this because if you apply the pre-emergent when spurge has already sprung up, it will do nothing to halt its growth. We recommend Prodiamine 65 WDG (Barricade Herbicide).

If you missed the window to use pre-emergent and there is too big of an outbreak to handpull, we recommend post-emergents. We recommend using a broadleaf weed killer when the plants are young and immature and thus more susceptible to chemical applications. Some of the products which do a good job of controlling spurge is a Dismiss Herbicide, Glyphosate 4 Plus Weed Killer Concentrate, or Blindside Post Emergent Herbicide. What you choose depends on your grass type and budget.


Step Four: Prevention. Spurge grows rapidly in sparse turf and bare patches on the lawn. Having a healthy, thick, nutrient-rich turf will fight back against invading weeds and make it hard for spurge to establish itself. You could also use the pre-emergent we mentioned in step 3 as a preventative measure to keep spurge at bay especially if spurge has been a reoccuring problem on your turf. Check out our lawn care maintenence schedule infographic for a look at what you should be doing year round to keep your lawn healthy and weed-free.


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Learn More About Spurge

Spurge 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.

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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 like Prodiamine 65 WDG (Barricade 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.

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Recommended Post-Emergents For Spurge Control:


When Spurge have already sprouted and have grown on your lawn, a post-emergent herbicide like Dismiss Herbicide, Glyphosate 4 Plus Weed Killer Concentrate, or Blindside Post Emergent Herbicide 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.


Additional Resources For Spurge:

Spotted Spurge Weed: How To Get Rid Of Spotted Spurge - Gardening Know How




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