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    THe GREEn insider

    The Spurge: Lawn Care Anarchy

    Shaun Kanary
    Posted by: Shaun Kanary on September 5, 2014

    spurgeOkay, I admit that I love a good horror flick. It's fun to scare yourself for two hours and then feel the relaxation that something like what you just saw could never happen. However, lurking in between your grass blades hides an all-to-real ruthless villain, who is bent on choking out and murdering your lawn. But never fear,  we'll do our best Ethan Hawke imitation in an effort to protect you from this enemy in your lawn, and fight "the spurge."

    What is Spurge and How do I Spot it?


    Spurge is a warm-weather annual weed that appears in lawns and landscape beds in the summer. It mostly appears in disturbed soil, meaning it's common in areas that are highly trafficked or raked (such as near driveways and in landscape beds).

    Spurge is easy to spot with its small oval leaves that have a reddish or purplish tint to them, and a red or purple stem leading to its leaves. However, the obvious indicator is when you break the stem apart in your hand, a white milky juice is discharged from the stem.   

    What Causes it to Grow in my Yard?

    Spurge appears in thin, stressed areas of your lawn, often when the soil has been disturbed. Warm, humid nights encourage growth, and spurge is a sign of poor fertility. Spurge starts small, however becomes a serious problem when it matures, forming an "interwoven" mat within your lawn. Additionally, spurge goes to seed quickly, and can spread thousands of seeds, ensuring that it will be a problem for a long time.

    How Can I Control it?

    Spurge can spread quickly if not controlled immediately. Like football, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. That's why you should apply a pre-emergent herbicide that contains isoxaben or dithiopyr in the late spring. However, if you're working with a current outbreak, any post-emergent herbicide will do the trick. 

    How do I Prevent it From Coming Back?

    There are a few ways that you can prevent spurge from causing anarchy in your lawn, such as:

    • Regular Fertilizer Treatments - Regular nutrition will help keep your lawn thick, and healthy. This means that there is less areas for spurge and other weeds to grow.

    • Pre-Emergent Herbicide - This treatment applied in late spring prevents most weeds, such as spurge, from germinating.

    • Spring & Fall Aeration - An aeration helps break up your soil, pulling thousands of plugs from your lawn and allows oxygen, water, and fertilizer to reach the root system, causing your lawn to thicken and be weed free.

    Spot Other Intrusive Weeds in Your Lawn BEFORE They Become a Nightmare

    Spurge is just one of many lawn care weeds that could be in your lawn right now causing havoc. The first step to defeating these foes is to first identify them. That's why the folks over hear at Weed Pro have put together a fantastic resource for spotting weeds and how to treat them. Simply click on the button below and get your free copy now!

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    Shaun Kanary

    Shaun has been a part of the Green Industry for the past 15 years. As the Director of Marketing for Weed Pro, a Cleveland and Columbus Fertilizing Company, Shaun is a regular contributor to the Weed Pro Blog, and other industry magazines and blogs.

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