How To Get Rid Of Petty Spurge: Here’s How

Spurge is an incredibly invasive weed meaning a single spurge flower can produce hundreds of seeds throughout one growing season. Petty spurge is also known to be toxic to a few grazing animals and pets because the weed’s interior has a milky, sappy substance, which will also cause itching and skin irritation in humans after contact. But, how to get rid of petty spurge? 

You can get rid of petty spurge with the proper techniques and products and possibly even prevent an infestation before it starts. Here’s how to get rid of petty spurge naturally and for good: 

  • Maintain a Healthy Lawn and Garden
  • Removing by Hand
  • Apply A Pre-Emergent Herbicide Treatment
  • Apply A Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatment

Let’s dive in and explore the best ways to successfully get rid of petty spurge for good and keep your lawn and garden healthy.

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How To Get Rid Of Petty Spurge
How To Get Rid Of Petty Spurge: Here’s How – plantsheaven.com

What Is Pett Spurge?

Petty spurge (AKA Euphorbia peplus, cancer weed, radium weed) is an annual herbaceous, a small, branched plant with pale green foliage and stems growing to about a foot (30.48 cm) high. 

Native to most of North Africa, Europe, and Western and widely present in North America, Petty spurge is often invasive and grows in cultivated, arable land, gardens, and lawn. It emerges beginning in the cool weather of fall and continues through late spring.

Petty spurge is an invasive but easily killed weed in home lawns and gardens. It has 1 – 4 stems of a reddish color and pale green leaves similar-looking flowers. Its stems can grow up to 10 cm in height from the base of the plant.

In addition, Petty spurge could never establish a well-cared-for lawn. Still, it will show itself in bare areas of your property, open garden beds, paths where it doesn’t have to compete for space or resources with lawns or other plants

When Does Petty Spurge Grow?

Petty spurge grows in warm weather from February through September (depending on where you live and the weather). Usually, petty spurge seeds begin to germinate when temperatures are hot, about 60 degrees in the spring.

Also, petty spurge is a summer annual, which means it will sprout, flower, and die during the year’s warmer months. It prefers moist, shady locations but will grow and spread in moist disturbed areas and flowers most of the year.

Like most other weeds, petty spurge sets up shop on lawns that are not getting enough tender loving care (TLC), invading an unhealthy garden and lawn.

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Where Does Petty Spurge Grow?

Usually, petty spurge grows: 

  • Petty spurge thrives in warm and sunny weather.
  • Petty spurge needs sunlight and does not want to compete for sunlight with other plants in your garden.
  • It establishes itself  in sparse areas of your lawn or where the grass is thin.
  • Petty spurge also grows in dry conditions with clay, gravel, and sandy soil.

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How To Identify Spurge

The first step in getting rid of petty spurge is identifying what exactly you are dealing with, particularly with weed control. If you misidentify the weed, it can lead to improper treatment methods, which will cost you money and time.

There are various spurge weeds, and the most common varieties are: 

  • Petty spurge
  • Spotted spurge (aka Prostrate spurge) 
  • Creeping spurge 
  • and Nodding spurge

Here are the most common identifying traits of spurge: 

  • Low-growing spurge typically grows circular or clump, growing up to 2 or 3 feet in diameter. 
  • Tall-growing spurge, including leafy spurge, can grow to be 2 to 4 feet tall.
  • Spurges are herbaceous plants, which means the stems and other parts from which the leaves and flowers grow are flexible, soft, and fleshy, opposite to woody plants, such as trees or bushes.
  • A single spurge plant grows from a taproot producing multiple stems. 
  • When either a stem or leaf is broken or damaged, they will leak a milky, liquid substance from the wound site, causing itching and skin irritation in humans. 
  • If you live on land used for grazing, you will particularly want to look out for spurge because it is toxic for cows and horses. 
  • Ensure you sure cautious when handling spurge the plant physically.

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How To Get Rid Of Petty Spurge

Petty spurge is a weed very hard to control because of its quick seed production. However, you can control spurge with the proper techniques and products and possibly even prevent an infestation before it starts.

1- Maintain a Healthy Lawn and Garden

Proper lawn maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent petty spurge from growing in your lawn. A well-maintained lawn will also prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, inhibiting spurge seeds from germinating and growing. 

In addition, spurge proliferates in sparse turf and bare patches on the lawn. Having a healthy, thick turf will prevent petty spurge from invading your garden. 

Here are a few things you can do to keep your garden or lawn healthy.

  • Keep your lawn healthy year-round.
  • Ensure that you mow your lawn at the proper height. 
  • Aim to mow your lawn at the height of 3 to 4 inches tall, which will encourage more profound root growth and prevents weeds from receiving much-needed sunlight.
  • Clean and dethatch your lawn to encourage proper water retention and improve aeration
  • Trim back any overhanging tree branches to minimize shade and increase evaporation rates.
  • Water your lawn correctly, which will need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week.
  • Watering your lawn once a week in the morning is better than a little every day because deep watering encourages profound root growth, strengthening the turf.

2- Removing by Hand

Try to monitor infested areas constantly, so you can hand pull new petty spurges before they produce seed. When pulling spurge from your lawn, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Petty spurge is a weakly structured weed that is easily controlled by pulling directly out of the ground by hand; ensure that you take the weed base in the process.
  • Breaking petty spurge off at the stem will not generally kill the plant. Petty spurge can regenerate if you leave the bottom of the plant in place with its root system. 
  • Keep an alert eye for new plants that pop up here and there, then remove them immediately. 
  • You can easily pull out seedlings and older plants by grasping the plant low on the stem, pull it straight up, and discard the plant in the trash to avoid the chance of distributing more seeds.
  • Wear gloves, protective eye goggles and long sleeves when pulling petty spurge by hands to protect your skin from the irritating milky sap because it produces a white sap irritating the skin and eyes when stems are broken.
  • Wash any garden tools (hoes, rakes, shovels) that you use to pull spurge weeds. If you don’t clean your garden tools after removing petty spurge by hand, it will increase the risk of contamination to other areas of your lawn.
  • Do not leave pieces of spurge on the ground because it will just grow again. Instead, dispose of your weeds in compostable bags. 

3- Apply A Pre-Emergent Herbicide Treatment

Pre-emergent herbicide helps prevent weeds before they bloom (or “emerge,” as the name suggests). Pre-emergent herbicide treatment is essential if you have previously had a petty spurge problem in your garden.

  • Timing is critical because most pre-emergents herbicides must be applied just before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees in the spring for the product to be present when seeds start to germinate. Remember, petty spurge starts to germinate when the soil reaches 60 degrees.
  • In the fall, aim to apply your pre-emergent herbicide when the temperatures fall below 85 degrees just before the year’s first frost.
  • In the spring, aim to apply your pre-emergent herbicide before temperatures increase and the weeds start to germinate
  • Read the label of your pre-emergent herbicide correctly and follow all instructions. Some pre-emergent herbicides have special instructions for best use, such as a freshly mowed lawn before application or watering the lawn after application. 
  • Choose a pre-emergent herbicide designed for spurges, such as
    • Dimension 2EW (here is a link to Amazon)
    • Prodiamine 65 WDG (here is a link to Amazon)
    • Ferti-Lome (here is a link to Amazon)
  • Check the label of your pre-emergent to make sure it is safe to use on your lawn type.

4- Apply A Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatment

Post-emergent herbicides tackle bloomed active weeds in a lawn. 

  • It is better to apply post-emergent herbicide treatment when petty spurge young because mature weeds are harder to kill.
  • You might be required to use multiple post-emergent herbicide treatments
  • Consult the label of your selected post-emergent herbicide for how often you can safely apply the product to your garden and its effect on your garden. 

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Wrapping Up

Overall, you can get rid of petty spurge:

  • Maintain a Healthy Lawn and Garden
  • Removing by Hand
  • Apply A Pre-Emergent Herbicide Treatment
  • Apply A Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatment

Altiné

Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plantsheaven.com. Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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Spurge is an incredibly invasive weed meaning a single spurge flower can produce hundreds of seeds throughout one growing season. Petty spurge is also known to be toxic to a few grazing animals and pets because the weed's interior has a milky, sappy substance, which will also cause itching and skin irritation in humans after contact. But, how to get rid of petty spurge?