Weed of the Week
This week’s weed is Virginia copperleaf (Acalypha virginica L.) which is part of the spurge family. This upright summer annual is found in disturbed/waste areas, cultivated fields, landscapes, nursery crops, meadows, and woodlands – literally EVERYWHERE! Virginia copperleaf has alternate leaves with shallow rounded teeth on their margins. Leaves start off ovate in shape and become more lanceolate in shape with maturity. The small, green, monoecious flowers of this weed show from June to October, forming in clusters around the leaf axils. The female flowers are surrounded by smaller modified leaves called bracts which help cover the 3-chambered seed pod that develops after flowering. This weed is actually considered a native, attracting songbirds to their seed pods! Virginia copperleaf gets its name from the distinct copper colored pigmentation it develops on younger leaves when growing in sunny locations.
The best management strategy for this weed is hand-weeding and then applying mulch because it has small taproots that easily pull up. On a larger scale, management with a basic chemical broadleaf weed control (such as glyphosate – Roundup) will work. As always, remember that when using any chemicals, please read and follow all labels and instructions! If you need any help or have questions about how/when to apply, or which chemicals you can use and where, just call our office! We will be happy to help!