Guide to Spotted Spurge Identification & Control

Spotted Spurge Weed

Type of Weed: Broadleaf

Euphorbia maculata

Spotted Spurge

Spotted surge is a fast-growing summer annual broadleaf weed that grows low to the ground.

This weed thrives in hot climate locations, making Texas one of many states that deal with this stubborn weed.

It is often found in weak areas of your lawn or landscape, as it cannot compete with grass or other weeds close by.

Spotted surge may produce thousands of seeds with a single weed, making it very difficult to control.

How to Identify

Spotted surge grows prostrate, spreading flat across the ground with a shallow taproot. Its reddish stems are covered in fine hair and will only grow a few inches tall.

If a stem is broken, it will leak a milky-white liquid that will irritate the skin upon contact. Spotted surge has small, green to dark green, oblong leaves with a maroon “spot” or blotch in the center. These smooth leaves have short petioles and are toothed near the tip.

In mid to late summer, very small clusters of pink and white flowers are formed in the leaf axils, typically on the upper part of the stems. Its seeds resemble a three lobed capsule that are sticky and easily disperses.

Control Methods

Control Difficulty: Very Difficult

For small patches of spotted surge, manually pulling or digging it up from the taproot, prior to it flowering, can effectively kill this weed (wear gloves to protect your skin). During the growing season, using a selective spurge post-emergent herbicide will be your best defense against larger patches.

Young spotted spurge responds best to this type of treatment. Mature surge is harder to kill and may require multiple post emergent treatments throughout the season.

Prevention Tips

Since spotted surge grows in weak areas of your lawn or natural areas, improving overall lawn thickness will be key to preventing it from entering and overtaking your lawn.

Aerating with proper feedings, two to four times a year, along with mowing at the proper height for your grass and proper irrigation, are all ways to improve your lawns health.

To further prevent spotted surge from growing use a selective pre-emergent herbicide biannually. Apply this in the fall once temperatures have fallen below 80 degrees (but before the first frost), and again in the spring before temperatures reach 55 degrees (as seeds germinate at 60 degrees).

For further spotted surge issues or concerns, contact our team of expert lawn care technicians who are equipped to rid your lawn of this difficult weed.
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