What is Spotted Spurge and How Do I Control It?

Remove spotted spurge from your lawn in just 3 steps.

Spotted spurge is easy to spot. Once established, each bright green plant forms a thick mat that can grow up to three feet in diameter—but since it stays low to the ground, mowing it won't help. After germinating in mid-spring, the plant's inconspicuous green flowers bloom from June until September.

What You Need to Know About Spotted Spurge

  • Summer annual weed that grows horizontally to form dense mats
  • All parts of the plant secrete a milky sap when broken; use caution when pulling, as the sap can cause irritation to eyes and skin in some people and be toxic to some animals
  • Small oval leaves with a maroon spot
  • Stems are fuzzy with a pinkish-red color
  • Has one main root (called a taproot) with tiny rootlets branching off it
  • Spreads via seeds
  • Can grow up to 3 feet in diameter


Spotted spurge spreads quickly throughout weak areas in your lawn by producing several thousand seeds per plant. Even though it’s a summer annual, late-season seeds can sprout next spring after lying dormant during cold temperatures. This warm-weather pest begins seed production a mere five weeks after germination, so early detection and treatment is key.


  1. Mount your best defense: a well-maintained lawn

    Feed your lawn regularly (4 times a year is best) and mow it at the proper height to help keep the turf full and dense. This ensures that spotted spurge won't have room to grow.

  2. Call in back-up at the first sign.

    Apply Roundup® For Lawns when the weeds are young and actively growing, with adequate soil moisture, for best results.

  3. Hand-pull carefully.

    If you only need to remove a weed or two, hand-pulling is a good option because of the central taproot. Be sure to wear proper protective gear to keep sap from getting on your skin or eyes. Once you finish pulling, put spotted spurge directly in the trash (not the compost pile) and check your clothes for any stray seeds.