Am I getting a little paranoid or what? I think there is a plot ongoing in my garden for the Prostrate Spurge to engulf the whole yard, house, garage and swallow us up like an infestation of kudzu. How you ever tried to fight that little plant? Does something even exist for prostrate spurge control? Pulling and pulling it is all I can do for now in my garden and planters.
This evil weed’s scientific name is Euphorbia prostrata or Euphorbia maculata which means it is related to all those euphorbia that produce a milky white sap when the stems are cut. This sap may or may not irritate your skin or eyes, so be sure to take care when you pull or yank the plant up. Most of the time I can easily pull it . Now that’s a lot harder when it invades my hypertufa pots. So aggravating!
You will probably recognize this annual weed since it is all over the Eastern USA and a few western states. It lies almost flat to the ground and grows quickly and can cover large areas if left alone. Prostrate spurge has a reddish stem with tiny hairs and most will sometimes show the red spot on the leaf. This one creeps along the ground like a snake. The other Spotted Spurge is almost identical but has a slightly more upright habit to its growth. Like a snake raising its head off the ground. Do you detect that I don’t like this plant? I have complained about it before on another post.
You know what I hate about this weed? Its green color is so similar to a lot of my succulents that it can hide in plain site. I can be looking at one of my hypertufa planters and thinking how well it is doing and checking it over for weeds. Suddenly, it’s like my eyes focus and a finally “see” a 6″ diameter Prostrate spurge laughing back at me! Most times if the pot is easily accessible to me, I can maneuver to reach into the pot and find the central stem of the spurge weed and pull it out with pleasure. I love it when I get that long taproot in one pull! Such gratification!
Controlling Prostrate Spurge
Well, I hate to burst your bubble but that’s not going to happen. JMO. This weed grows so fast and seeds so easily when it blooms, it seems prostrate spurge control is just a dream. In lawns, it can be treated with herbicides meant to control other weeds, but sometimes that is not an option. It takes some patience, but pulling the weed is sometimes what needs to be done. ( And there is something so satisfying about pulling this huge round weed that is the size of an umbrella and getting it all up out of the ground, taproot and all, in one single pull.)
My reasoning about why I cannot accomplish any prostrate spurge control is because those seeds created can pop out and disperse all over an area and even though I religiously pull the spurge when it grows back, there are a thousand more seeds waiting in the ground to awake and begin growing. And did I say it is fast-growing?
Check out this huge one I had in the boulder garden here in the video. It was nestled as comfortably reclining with its poofy and flouncy “dress” all cascading around the rocks. I just reached in there and got that hussy and Mwwaahaahaa! She is gone!.. and her little flowers too! No seeds for you today!
Even though this plant is an annoying weed, there can be some good in all things. In my research for information about these spurges, I found some interesting info about the sap from spotted spurge being tested for the treatment for skin cancer. The article is date 9/09 and states: “Although spotted spurge sap is being studied as a cure for various skin cancers, in general, the sap of all members of this genus is an eye and skin irritant.” I wasn’t able to find anything further, but let’s hope something can be found.
Thanks for your visit and be sure to check out the video. What is your most annoying weed?
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.