Leafy Spurge Information

Leafy Spurge-Young PlantLeafy Spurge-Milky SapLeafy Spurge-Blooms

Highly aggressive, deep-rooted perennial
One of the first plants to emerge in spring, head start on competition
Seedlings can emerge when temperatures are 33-44 degrees


            *Prefers undisturbed, dry non-cropland
            *Abandoned fields
            *Range and pasture
            *Woodlands and prairies
            *Roadsides and wastelands

            *Bright yellow blooms are actually leaf bracts
            *Bracts appear in early May through July, possibly again in September

            *Seed development continues 4-6 weeks after bract appearance
            *Optimum temperature for germination is 86-88 degrees
            *Germination rate is 60-80%
            *Plants can produce up to 3,400lbs of seed per acre
            *Seed dispersal occurs in August (dehiscent)
            *Seeds are expelled up to 15 feet from plant

            *Root system consists of shallow and deep roots, some 16-18 feet deep
            *Buds can arise anywhere along roots, sending up vertical shoots
            *Crown and region of plant can produce roots and shoots

            *Shoot growth occurs from crown and root buds
            *Seedling shoots can develop buds 7-10 days after emergence

Growth and reproduction:
            *Most aggressive growth occurs in semi-arid environments such as dry hillsides, dry prairies,
             and rangeland
            *Top growth can be killed, however regrowth can occur from root buds as deep as 12 feet
            *Reproduction from rootstocks and seeds

            *Mowing can increase the infestation by increasing competition
            *Control must begin prior to establishment, or may not be possible
            *Hand cutting 4" height repeatedly, can inhibit seed production
            *Herbicides: dicamba, diflufenzopyr, glyphosate, picloram, 2,4-D ester
            *Picloram in late spring, 70% control. Picloram + diflufenzopyr is best

            *Can decrease forage yield by as much as 100%
            *Forms a monoculture, eliminating biodiversity
            *Latex sap is dermally toxic