Control Difficulty: Easy ✭✭✰✰✰
Best Control Product: Triplet Low Odor
Spurge grows in big, low growing, very dense clumps with very tiny leaves on flexible stems. Each leaf has an easily seen red dot in the center. The flexible stems are reddish in color and ooze a milky sap when broken. One mat of spurge can reach up to two feet in diameter.
Where and When:
Spurge is an annual but will seem like it never goes away if left untreated. It grows actively from mid May to November and releases seed from May to September, making the spread of this weed very easy. Spurge can be found in very hot full sun areas and likes sandy soil. Spotted spurge can establish itself in almost any amount of soil.
Look in bare areas or dead crabgrass patches in the lawn for spurge. Spurge also thrives along curbing (often draping big mats over curbing into the road) and in cracks in sidewalks, roads, and patios. Because of its inclination to hot dry areas Spurge is often treated in bed control applications more so than lawn.
Spurge is easily controlled with Triplet or any other three way broadleaf weed control. The plant will die within one week of treatment and will curl, dry up, and turn brown. One thing to keep in mind is that because spurge can grow in huge clumps, that will need manual removal, even after being killed, it may make more sense to hand pull the weed before ever using a herbicide. You should approach it based on an economical reasoning, if your customer will want the unsightly skeletons of spotted spurge removed,then save on chemical and just hand pull it.
Organic Control Methods:
Spurge is the ideal weed for organic control. It is easily removed by hand, without leaving behind a taproot. It stays localized in individual clumps making containing an outbreak easy. Spurge typically will not take in well maintained turf, so with proper cultural practice and nutrition, getting spurge under control and keeping it out, without chemicals, is easy. Make sure once it is gone that you mow the lawn high and keep grass thick especially along edges, where outbreaks are most likely.