purslaneName: Purslane


Portulaca Oleracea

Control Difficulty:✭✭✰✰✰

Best Control Product: Any 24-d, dicamba combo ( such as Triplet, Mech Amine D, or ortho weed-b-gone)

Identifying Traits:

Large rubbery, wedge shaped leaves, ½” to 1 ½ inches, grow in mats on thick stems. The stems are filled with a milky, oozing sap. Stems are thick and have a reddish brown color. Thick leaves store water (much like a camel does) allowing it to thrive in any hot, dry condition, for instance surviving in a parking lot crack during a drought period is not unusual for purslane.


Where and When:

Purslane growing over curb edge in hot dry area.
Purslane growing over curb edge in hot dry area.

Purslane appears late in the spring or early summer when hot dry weather begins. Because purslane appears so late it is often missed by homeowner weed control treatments, usually applied in spring when most other weeds explode into growth. When controlling purslane look for it to be growing in the hottest areas first, a few favorites are; mulch beds, curb edges, parking lots and other paved areas, or thin areas of turf where dirt is exposed to prolonged direct sunlight. This weed loves hot areas and can do very well in them because of its water storage system. Purslane seeds can lie dormant in a property for years waiting for soil temps to become warm enough, seeds are spread from small yellow flowers on the plant.

Control Procedure:

Purslane is very sensitive to herbicide because it holds on to water so well. Liquid herbicides are recommended, my favorite being triplet low odor. Spray existing purslane once, it only needs one good spray, and it will begin to die within days. Because it is such a large fleshy plant a skeleton will remain after control which is fairly unsightly, becoming blackened dead plant flesh. Remaining dead weeds may need to be weed wacked or pulled depending on the customers/your personal preference.

Organic Control Methods for :

Most importantly maintain a thick lawn, purslane can not grow in a crowded area and will not germinate where turf is shading soil, keeping it cool. In other areas like curbing and mulch beds purslane is easily removed by hand however any remaining roots will re-sprout. It is an annual so each year may present varying amounts and locations of the weed. Don’t bother with purslane if cold temps are in the forecast, any weather even close to freezing temps for a short period of time will kill any remaining.

Purslane does lend itself well to “freezing” type control measures using liquid nitrogen or dry ice applicators however “icing” has a very high energy cost and you may want to start with torching using a small butane torch.