Weed of the Week

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This week’s weed is nominated by B. Harper! Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) is a native weed to all parts of North Carolina that many of us see in driveways, waste areas, along dirt paths, etc. This weed is a prostrate growing summer annual with oblong leaves growing in opposite arrangement on the stem. On spotted spurge, there is usually purple coloration in the middle of each leaf. This can often be confused with prostrate spurge which looks similar. Because this weed is in the euphorbia family, when the stems break, a milky sap seeps out. This sap can make you sick so please do not attempt to eat or taste test this! Spotted spurge has a thick tap root that can extend into the ground two feet! It is encouraged to remove these plants as soon as you see them, especially when they are young because they produce an abundant amount of seed. 

Hand weeding can take a long time because plants can form multiple seedlings in the area and mowing is not effective because this weed grows so close to the ground that the blades do not even reach it. Herbicides recommended for controlling spotted spurge is Tenacity & Echelon (pre and post emergence) or dicamba, glyphosate, & 2,4-D in spot applications for non-turf areas.

As always remember that when using chemicals, please be sure to 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!

images of spotted spurge Spotted spurge next to a rock