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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Euphorbia Esula

Authors
item Chao, Wun
item Anderson, James

Submitted to: CAB International United Kingdom
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2003
Publication Date: February 1, 2004
Citation: Chao, W.S., Anderson, J.V. 2004. Euphorbia esula. In: Crop Protection Compendium, 2004 edition. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Interpretive Summary: Leafy spurge, an accidentally introduced native species of Eurasia, is a perennial weed that is now an established invader of numerous North American ecosystems. Due to its extensive root system and seed longevity, long-term control of leafy spurge is difficult, if not impossible. The introduction and establishment of biological control agents that help to keep leafy spurge in check in its native Eurasia, such as the Aphthona flee beetles, are showing promising results in some environmental habitats. The best overall approach for controlling leafy spurge currently involves an integrated approach including the use of biological controls (flea beetles, gall midge, goats, and sheep), cultural control (burning and competitive grass species), mechanical control (mowing and tilling) in combination with properly timed application of herbicides. A long-term integrated and persistent management program will help to reduce top growth and ultimately reduce the reserve carrying capacity of the root system. An integrated management strategy also produces a more environmentally friendly approach since the need to apply excessive chemical treatments to environmentally sensitive ecosystems is reduced.

Technical Abstract: Leafy spurge, an accidentally introduced native species of Eurasia, is a perennial weed that is now an established invader of numerous North American ecosystems. New plants emerge early in the spring by both vegetative and seed reproduction. The root system of leafy spurge develops deep tap roots that can serve as a nutrient reserve and lateral roots with adventitious buds capable of producing new shoots. The extensive root system and early spring growth allow leafy spurge to compete for space, nutrients, water, and sunlight and reduce the competitiveness of native or desirable plant species. The plant also produces large numbers of seed that can be naturally displaced up to 15 feet from the parent plant or spread further by water, wind, and animals. Even worse, the seeds are viable for up to eight years in the soil bank. In addition to seed longevity, the root system has be capacity to exude exogenously applied chemicals which, taken together, makes long-term control of leafy spurge a difficult, if not impossible, challenge by current control practices. However, the introduction and establishment of biological control agents that help to keep leafy spurge in check in its native Eurasia, such as the Aphthona flee beetles, are showing promising results in some environmental habitats. The best overall approach for controlling leafy spurge currently involves an integrated approach including the use of biological controls (flea beetles, gall midge, goats, and sheep), cultural control (burning and competitive grass species), mechanical control (mowing and tilling) in combination with properly timed application of herbicides. A long-term integrated and persistent management program will help to reduce top growth and ultimately reduce the reserve carrying capacity of the root system. An integrated management strategy also produces a more environmentally friendly approach since the need to apply excessive chemical treatments to environmentally sensitive ecosystems is reduced.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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