Erect and Prostrate Spurge Biology and Management in Turf1

J. Bryan Unruh, Darcy E. P. Telenko, Barry J. Brecke, and Ramon Leon 2

Erect and prostrate spurges (Chamaesyce spp.) are erect or upright annuals with branched stems. Leaves are opposite and not equal. Stems produce "milky sap." A large number of spurge species occur in Florida. Reproduction occurs via seed.

Prostrate spurge (C. humistrata) has freely branched prostrate stems that root at the nodes. Stems are smooth or hairy. Leaves are not symmetrical and usually have a reddish spot.

Erect or Hyssop spurge (C. hyssopifolia) is an erect or ascending annual with smooth stems and leaves that branch at upper nodes. Leaves are oblong to linear with toothed margins.

Figure 1. Prostrate spurge
Figure 1.  Prostrate spurge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Figure 2. Erect spurge
Figure 2.  Erect spurge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Figure 3. Erect spurge
Figure 3.  Erect spurge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Herbicide options for controlling erect and prostrate spurge in Florida turfgrass

(Always refer to the label for specific uses, application rates, and turfgrass tolerance.)

Refer to the publication Pest Control Guide for Turfgrass Managers at http://turf.ufl.edu/pdf/2012_UF_Pest_Control_Guide.pdf for brand names associated with chemical names listed.

Bermudagrass

  • Preemergence: dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P, isoxaben, simazine

  • Postemergence: carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba, dicamba, metribuzin, metsulfuron, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+quinclorac, sulfentrazone+2,4-D+MCPP+dicamba, thiencarbazone+iodosulfuron+dicamba, trifloxysulfuron

St. Augustinegrass

  • Preemergence: atrazine, dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P, isoxaben, simazine

  • Postemergence: atrazine, carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba (follow label recommendations to minimize turf injury), metsulfuron, simazine, sulfentrazone, thiencarbazone+iodosulfuron+dicamba

Centipedegrass

  • Preemergence: atrazine, dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P, isoxaben, simazine

  • Postemergence: atrazine, carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba, dicamba, metsulfuron, simazine, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+quinclorac, sulfentrazone+2,4-D+MCCP+dicamba, thiencarbazone+iodosulfuron+dicamba

Bahiagrass

  • Preemergence: dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P, isoxaben

  • Postemergence: carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba, dicamba, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+2,4-D+MCCP+dicamba

Seashore Paspalum

  • Preemergence: dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P

  • Postemergence: carfentrazone, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+quinclorac

Zoysiagrass

  • Preemergence: atrazine, dithiopyr, dimethenamid-P, isoxaben, simazine

  • Postemergence: atrazine, carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba, dicamba, metsulfuron, simazine, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+quinclorac, sulfentrazone+2,4-D+MCCP+dicamba, thiencarbazone+iodosulfuron+dicamba, trifloxysulfuron

Perennial Ryegrass

  • Preemergence: dimethenamid-P

  • Postemergence: carfentrazone, 2,4-D+dicamba, dicamba, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+prodiamine, sulfentrazone+quinclorac, triclopyr +clopyralid

Footnotes

1. This document is ENH1234, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2013. Reviewed October 2016. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Adapted from: Tim R. Murphy, Daniel L. Colvin, Ray Dickens, John W. Everest, David Hall, and L.B. McCarty. Weeds of Southern Turfgrasses. University of Florida, 1992.
2. J. Bryan Unruh, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Darcy E. P. Telenko, postdoctoral research associate; Barry J. Brecke, professor emeritus; and Ramon Leon, assistant professor, Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.