Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Your Letters

Weedy spurge explosion

Recommended Posts

I attended a wonderful seminar you hosted at English Gardens West Bloomfield in the summer of 2019 and thought you may be able to help with an issue.
My mom has a small vegetable garden in her fenced in yard in NW Detroit, and has been dealing with spurge (and another dense green weed) that is as dense as carpet. She did not treat the soil with a pre- emergent herbicide. She is pulling what she can by hand, but it is a losing battle.  She is almost ready to let her beautiful tomato plants, etc. succumb to the weed invasion. Do you have any suggestions for pre-season and growth season treatments? This has completely taken away her joy of gardening!
Thank you very much!!
Kind regards,

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the weed is flat to the ground and has milky sap then it is dotted spurge/prostrate spurge (Euphorbia maculata) and /I may have hopeful news. If it is an upright, milky sapped spurge (Euphorbia peplus known as petty spurge and radium weed), that is more work. Not knowing what the second weed is but hoping "dense" means it is flat to the ground, let's go with hopeful, first.

Midsummer is explosion time for weeds. Even with preemergent herbicide (which we do not recommend; we avoid its use for several reasons we've listed before) or mulch in place, some weed seeds will be in position to sprout when summer rains come and days are long. Lots of light and water and weed seedlings can grow huge in days. For instance, on July 4 we went out of town to work leaving a just-bared bed and returned four days later to a solid cover of crabgrass seedlings.

The hopeful thing here is that the spurge and probably the other weed are sunlovers, totally intolerant of shade. If you pull those that are right next to the desirable plants' stems, then cover everything else with a two-thick layer of newspaper or single layer of yard waste bag -- hold the paper cover down with bricks or anything or with a layer of mulch. In a few days the covered weeds will be dead and the nutrients they stole from the soil will be beginning the return trip as the dead weeds rot.

The seed bank that gave rise to the weeds is still there, though. Leave the paper in place,,  spread mulch or start hoe-ing regularly to prevent the next explosion.

Pictured below are (left to right) dotted/prostrate spurge,

the milky sap that's proof it's Euphorbia,

radium weed, and then

chickweed which I hope is your other dense weed because it like dotted spurge can be killed by covering.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...