How to Get Rid of Spotted Spurge Weed in Your Lawn

Written By: Todd Thomasson

Summer lawn weeds can become pretty nasty if left to grow in the right conditions.
And weeds are definitely something you don’t want in your Northern Virginia lawn. You just want a nice, green lawn that adds curb appeal and a great outdoor space to your home. You don’t want your grass to be the worst on the block, leaving you left hiding from your neighbors because you’re embarrassed of your yard. That’s no way to spend the summer months. 
Unfortunately, weeds happen. They love humidity, heat, and even drought in some instances. And if your lawn is weak or you’re not managing it properly, weeds can sneak in and take over. All they need is an opportunity, and then they take advantage. 
In the summer, the weather is nice and all you want to do is come out of hibernation. You have plans. You have relaxation and barbecue recipes to try. Weeds are a distraction. Weeds are a nuisance. Weeds are not invited to your summer garden party. 
And we have some more bad news for you. Some weeds are even worse than others. 
Enter a weed called spotted spurge. Even its name sounds pretty bad, right? 
This is one of those weeds that you don’t want to give permission to enter your yard because it, quite frankly, may not leave without some focused attention and determination. 
Let’s learn more about spotted spurge weed and how to kill spotted spurge, so you can keep this particularly nasty weed out of your Northern Virginia lawn and get back to enjoying your lawn again.

Spotted Spurge Weed in Northern Virginia Lawns

Spotted spurge weed loves summer almost as much as you do, which means it’ll take up residence in your lawn if given the opportunity. And it doesn’t pay rent or keep the noise down. In fact, this weed is a pesky invader – one you don’t want to invite into the neighborhood. 

Read The Ultimate Guide to Controlling Lawn Weeds
 There are quite a few tips we can share about how you can best identify this weed, as well as keep it far away from your Northern Virginia home lawn.

What is Spotted Spurge Weed?

The spotted spurge weed is a pretty common invasive weed that is seen in Eastern North America, including Northern Virginia. 

lawn care technician inspects grass

This annual weed spreads via small seeds, has deep tap roots, and grows extremely quickly during summer. It grows rapidly in patchy, thin areas, taking over bare spots and unhealthy lawns.

Why is Spotted Spurge Weed So Bad?

This incredibly invasive weed can produce several thousand seeds per plant over the course of one growing season. And even in late summer, those seeds can sprout again the next spring after lying dormant during colder Northern Virginia temperatures. 
Spotted spurge weed thrives in full sun, and if allowed to spread will cover other desirable plants that you do want, preventing their access to sunlight and stealing their nutrients. 
The roots of spotted spurge are truly tough. Pulling them doesn’t destroy the tap roots, which can regenerate the weeds fast. And, unfortunately, summer drought actually seems to help spotted spurge flourish. 

What Does Spotted Spurge Weed Look Like?

Let’s get down to properly identifying spotted spurge weed. 
This low-growing weed is typically circular in shape, growing in a clump that can reach up to 2 to 3 feet in diameter. 

Spotted Spurge growing in grass

The leaves of this weed vary in color from pale, reddish-green to dark green and sometimes have maroon blotches. These oval-shaped leaves range from smooth to a bit hairy and small white or pinkish-white flowers emerge three to four weeks after the weed first appears in mid-spring – usually lasting from June to September. Its stems are fuzzy and pinkish-red in color.
In addition to its signature red spots, spotted spurge can also be identified by the milky sap it emits when any plant part is broken open.

How to Kill Spotted Spurge 

Spotted spurge weeds certainly enjoy taking advantage of opportunities for lawn takeovers. And this weed is targeting weak lawns that lack nutrients, drainage, aeration, and – as a result – are stressed out, weak, and thin. 
A tired, worn out lawn that enters summer’s more stressful weather conditions, including heat, humidity, drought, and slower grass growth, can be highly susceptible to spotted spurge attack.

lawn care technician spot sprays weeds

That means how to get rid of spotted spurge starts with building and maintaining a thick, healthy lawn through proper care.
Correct lawn maintenance includes mowing with sharp blades weekly to keep a 3.5- to 4-inch height so your lawn doesn’t stress, providing the proper nutrient balance through fertilization based on soil test results, delivering longer and infrequent irrigation, aerating and overseeding once annually to limit compaction and fill in bare areas, and adding topdressing to that annual service to improve your soil. Your ultimate goal is to create the best environment for your lawn so it grows thick and healthy, giving weeds less of a chance to sneak their way in. 

lawn care technician aerates grass

These preventive tactics will keep a lot of weeds away, including spotted spurge. But weeds may still find a way through if the weather and conditions are just right. That’s when post-emergent weed control can help. This is best done by a professional since proper identification is the first step in precisely targeting herbicides to deliver maximum, targeted control. Lawn care professionals will use specialty herbicides delivered with precise nozzles to reduce the particle size of the product and help it better stick to tough weeds like spotted spurge. 
To battle this problematic weed, Turf’s Up uses precisely timed broadleaf weed control when spotted spurge plants are young. This means early detection of the weed is vital in adequately controlling this tough weed.

Turf’s Up Can Help You Eliminate Spotted Spurge Weeds in Northern Virginia Lawns

Spotted spurge weeds love the sunlight and to shine in your lawn. They love taking the spotlight away from your grass. You may not love their desire for all the attention though. It ruins your Northern Virginia lawn when the conditions give them the green light. 
The problem is you don’t want to give this weed even a slightest opportunity to take over, or it will use every chance to do just that. This is especially true in summertime when temperatures are hot, rain is limited, and grass growth slows down. You can’t ignore a weed like spotted spurge. If you ignore it, it could take over. 

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Turf’s Up can help you by providing a complete, proactive lawn care program that includes everything you need to keep your lawn strong – proper fertilization based on soil test results; pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control treatments; lime applications to get your pH in the right range; and aeration, overseeding, and topdressing services. 
When you have a professional eye on your property who can recognize spotted spurge right away in your Northern Virginia lawn, you can keep this weed in check before it gets out of hand. And the end result will be that lush, green lawn you love and are proud of all summer long. 
Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn. lawn care service comparison

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