How to Remove Euphorbia Esula

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Euphorbia esula, commonly known as leafy spurge, can dominate fallow fields and areas such as railroad cuts, roadsides and gullies. A native of Eastern Europe and western Asia, this tall, weedy plant has spread to many parts of the U.S., and its lack of natural enemies in North America has contributed to its vigour. You can remove this hardy invasive plant, but it will take persistence and a combination of methods.

Pull by hand any young spurge plants during their blooming stage, typically from late May to mid-June. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the plant's milky sap, which can irritate skin.

Mow larger plants before they set seeds, usually in mid-July.

In early September, apply herbicide, such as glyphosate, covering the leaves and broken stems. At this time of year, the spurge is moving nutrients from the leaves into the roots for winter storage, and the herbicide will be absorbed as well, and will be more effective.

Remove new shoots the following spring as they appear, usually by early May, using a power cultivator or a duck-foot tiller. You can also use a springtooth harrow, but you will have to use it more frequently.

Repeat the tilling every two to three weeks during the growing season; if you use a springtooth harrow, use it every week.

Apply herbicide again in early September, covering the leaves and broken stems.

Watch the spurge patch carefully the following year, and continue the removal for a second year if the infestation remains severe. Left untreated, spurge can rapidly re-establish itself.

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