The spurges are prostrate summer annual weeds that can be found in thinning, less vigorous turfgrass. Their leaves are opposite of each other.
Prostrate Spurge Prostrate Spurge blooms
Spotted spurge has a reddish-purple spot in the center of each leaf.
The sap from both plants is a milky latex. Some people develop a rash after coming into contact with the sap. Plants can be easily pulled and bagged if soil is moist. Be sure to wear gloves to prevent skin-contact with the sap.
Pre-emergent herbicides (DCPA, dithiopyr, isoxaben, pendimethalin) applied correctly in spring will reduce or eliminate spurge. Post-emergent herbicides are not very effective unless plants are young. 2,4-D combination herbicides are more effective than 2,4-D alone.Increasing the density of your turfgrass with proper lawn watering, fertilization, and mowing (no shorter than 2.5 inches) and other cultural practices will help in the control of spurge. See CSU Fact Sheet 7.202. Photographs courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010