Dr. Z: Spotted Spurge

Spotted spurge is a weed that starts to make it's presence known in the hot weather of July.  It grows anywhere; in lawns, flower beds, and loves the cracks of walkways.
This spurge is a low growing annual that forms large dense mats.  The leaves are small, oval shaped with purple markings.  The stems are reddish which when broken ooze a white sap.  Pinkish-white flowers produce seed until October that easily survive the winter to germinate the following season.
You have to stay on top of this weed.  Spotted spurge produces a lot of seed and spreads quickly.  It forms seed when it is only two weeks old!
In lawn situations you have to use a selective chemical weed killer to go after spurge since no organic product is labeled for it.  Prevention is the way to go with this weed.  Again a chemical pre-emergent would work better than an organic one.  When it is growing in a flower bed or in the cracks of walkways, you do have some options.  An organic non-selective weed killer (meaning it kills all vegetation) such as Burn Out can be employed, or a chemical one such as Round Up can be used as well.

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photo by F.D.Richards, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/