Spurge: Identification, Pictures, and facts
One problem most lawn owners face is spurge. The fast-growing weed grows low to the ground, and spreads quickly, something that can cause various issues. Spurge weed is common on thin lawns and newly established gardens.
There are different types of spurge. Some grow in parking lots, and others in sidewalk cracks.
Read on to learn more about this weed and how to identify and control it.
Facts, Identification, and Control
What is spurge? Here are some facts about spurge.
Although there are different types of spurge, most species grow low to the ground. You’ll notice a milky sap when you break the leaves of spurge. The fluid can irritate your eyes and skin when you get in contact.
The leaves are along the stem, and one lead is across from the other. Spurge has a central root, also the taproot.
It grows long stems that extend outward from the taproot. The stems and leaves have their small root systems that grow outward from the taproot. Not sure if you have spurge weed? You can search online for pictures of spurge.
Facts about Spurge
Some of the facts you should know about the spurge weed include:
Where Does Spurge Grow?
Spurge thrives in warm weather. You can notice the weed from early February through to late September. The seeds start to germinate when soil temperatures go up. Weeds grow once temperatures go up to 60 degrees in the spring.
When Does Spurge Grow?
Spurge loves high temperatures, and seeds germinate when the temperatures get to 60 degrees during spring. The weed also thrives in well-lit places. Seeds deeper than half an inch don’t grow.
You’ll notice a rosette of leaves once the weather becomes warm, and seeds germinate. The weed spreads fast, and the plant can produce new seeds after a month.
Types of Spurge
The spurge weed has different species, the common ones found in the U.S. include:
Prostrate Spurge or Spotted Spurge
The prostrate spurge weed, also known as spotted spurge, is widespread and is toxic to animals if consumed in large amounts. This weed has a maroon line in the center of the leaf vein. Stems grow outward but grow upwards when looking for sunlight. Most stems are pink or purple, something that makes them distinguishable from other species.
Petty spurge is found in shady and moist places like garden beds. You can also spot them among shrubs. Also, this species has slender stems and a light green color.
Creeping spurge has white flowers on the tips of stems, and where the leaf and stem meet. It doesn’t have spots on their leaves, which makes it different from the prostrate weed. The leaves are pale red and some light green. Moreover, the leaves are slightly hairy.
Nodding spurge has reddish or pink stems with leaves that grow up to two inches long. The leaves have a red spot in the center with a rectangular shape. The weed thrives in full sunlight and dry conditions with poor soil.
How Did I Get Spurge?
You can get spurge if you carry contaminated seeds to your garden or lawn. Spurge can also appear in stressed parts of your yard, and its presence could indicate signs of reduced fertility. It can become problematic when it matures as it forms an interwoven mat in your lawn.
How Serious are Spurge Problems?
Spurge reduces the uniformity and quality of the turf. Also, it creates an environment for undesirable insects and can promote the spread of fungal diseases.
The weed spreads quickly, something that can be problematic when you need to maintain your lawn or garden.
What Can I Do About Spurge?
Controlling and preventing spurge can be challenging, especially if the plant is buried in the soil. Nonetheless, you can control the spread by ensuring that you don’t bring seed contaminated planting seed.
Signs of the Presence of Spurge
Spurge weed is easy to spot. You’ll notice a rosette of leaves that may vary in color depending on the species. The weed also invades gardens and landscapes. It overgrows turf areas like low-growing ground covers.
Spurge Prevention and Control Tips
You can prevent spurge by:
Avoid mowing low as this could encourage the growth of this weed. Always mow at the best height to allow the grass to grow thick and develop a root system. Do not bag grass clippings. Instead, leave them out to recycle nutrients back into the soil.
Feeding the Lawn
Feed your lawn two to four times a year to offer the nutrients needed for a green, dense turf. Having a thick grass will keep spotted spurge out, and ensure weeds do not sprout.
Watering Your Lawn
Water your lawn regularly to encourage a deeper root system. Too little watering can cause a thin lawn and promote bare spots, which provide a ground for the weeds to flourish.
You should use chemical control as a last resort. Different herbicides can help control the spread of spurge.
Spurge can cause problems to your lawn and garden. Get in touch with a professional company that has experience dealing with intrusive weeds. The company has qualified staff to feed your lawn and improve the health of your turf. Moreover, they use eco-friendly products to control the spread of spurge weed.
More information about spurge
Is spurge harmful to people?
Yes, spurge is harmful to people. Leafy spurge produces a milky latex that is poisonous to some animals and can cause blistering and irritation on the skin. The digestive tract is similarly affected when this plant is eaten by humans and some animals.
Does spurge die in winter?
Yes, spurge dies in winter. The best defense for annual weeds like spurge is to prevent them from sprouting in the first place. Applying repellants in the spring will also help suppress germination.
Does spurge kill grass?
Yes, spurge can kill the grass. Spotted spurge weed can quickly invade a lawn or garden bed and make a nuisance of itself. Using proper spotted spurge control will not only eliminate spurge from your yard but will also help prevent it from growing in the first place.
How poisonous is spurge?
Spurges if consumed in large quantities can cause serious toxicity to humans. In addition, getting in contact with the plant’s latex sap can seriously irritate the skin of people and animals, and it can also cause human blindness upon eye contact.
How do you stop lawn spurge?
Post-emergent herbicides can be used to treat weeds that have bloomed and are active in your lawn. You can also try to keep a dense, green turf to ensure that spurge won’t have room to grow. If some weeds do pop up, pull them immediately before they have time to produce seed.
Does spurge die in winter?
Spurges are seasonal weeds and they typically grow during the summer. Normally, spurges die during the winter but it is common for them to continue growing in some places.
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