Q. A flat-growing, slow-spreading purplish weed with a lot of stems that exude a milky sap is still everywhere in my garden: lawn, flower beds, cracks in the driveway, etc.. Will it cover everything? Will it eat Chicago? How do I get rid of this monster?
A. Spotted spurge is a summer broadleaf annual and a very heavy seed producer with several seed crops throughout the season. It dies out in cold weather after each plant has produced 1,000 seeds or more. Spurge seeds germinate when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees, so apply a pre-emergent in early spring here in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Make sure that the pre-emergent product lists spurge as being controlled in your specific type of lawn. Try to cultivate and remove immature plants before they can set seed. "Weed and Feed" type products (again listing spurge and specific lawn type) can be used during the summer growth season. Success may be limited because of the amazing seed production. Keep the turf in good condition to crowd out weeds. Mow at the proper height for lawn type, regularly remove thatch, do not overwater or overfertilize and aerate and reseed bare patches.
Pest Note: Spurge Control