How to win the weed war

14 common garden invaders and the best ways to control them

Spotted Spurge (Chamaesyce maculata; sometimes listed as Euphorbia maculata)

Spotted Spurge (Chamaesyce maculata

This annual weed produces large quantities of seed within just a few weeks of germination and scatters them widely. It grows from a shallow taproot and forms a low mat of branching stems that exude a milky juice when cut.

Prevention is the best control. Hoe or pull young seedlings early, before they bloom and set seed. Apply a 1-inch layer of fine mulch to suppress germination in garden beds.

A vigorous, well-fertilized lawn competes well against spotted spurge. If chemical control is necessary in lawns, use a preemergence product in late winter before seeds germinate, following label directions.

Spot treat spurge plants with herbicidal soap when they are young. For spurge growing in cracks in pavement, use a hand weeder.

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