Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) is a common warm-season annual weed that can cause problems on any nursery operation. Commonly found in container plants and growing on the ground around containers, spotted spurge can rob your plants of vital nutrients needed to foster a beautiful, thriving appearance. It can establish thousands of seeds per plant and therefore spread very quickly throughout a nursery.
Spotted spurge is easily identified by its red- or purple-tinged stems, which host opposite leaves and emit milky sap when broken. The oblong leaves are smooth or sparsely hairy and are reddish-green to dark green in color — often with a maroon or purple spot at the center.
To prevent spotted spurge, apply a broadleaf preemergence herbicide containing isoxaben or dithiopyr, such as Gallery® specialty herbicide early in the spring, when air temperatures are consistently warm. You may also tank-mix Dimension® specialty herbicide with Gallery, making applications to the container plants and the ground as a strong defense against spurge. This mix also can be used in field-grown areas as well. For unsurpassed plant safety and unparalleled ease of application, Snapshot® specialty herbicide is an excellent granular preemergence choice.
Hand-pulling weeds when they’re small will minimize seed deposits. Combined with a reliable herbicide program that includes Gallery, Dimension or Snapshot with good sanitation practices can minimize the spread of spotted spurge — an extremely problematic weed — saving your nursery operation both time and labor.
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