This pesty annual weed is from the Portulacaceae family which is Purslane. Originating from Europe, it has naturalized in the United States (especially eastern), Canada and much of the rest of the world. Although it grows cultivated as a welcome food source for many around the world, some states have declared this weed to be noxious and prohibit it from being grown.
This genus has about 100 species within it. Most are annuals, some are perennials and all are succulent or semi-succulent allowing them to tolerate droughts. Most species are erect, some are flat and trail.
Common Purslane lays flat, and sprawls out forming thick mats and often stems turn up at ends. These mats grow out 1-2 feet and suffocate other vegetation.
Stems are thick and green to purplish-red in color. When stressed they can be orange to bright pink. They are fleshy and average 6-12 inches in length and branch out. Stems and leaves are smooth, or glabrous.
Thick rubbery-like leaves alternate off stems and often have rounded tips. Leaves grow about 1/4 to 1-1/4 inch long and there is often a maroon margin around rim of leaf.
From the leaf axils, or where leaves and stems are joined, grow tiny yellow flowers. Flowers have five petals and start blooming in late spring. They bloom for a few hours in morning and only when the sun is shining brightly.
Once hot weather really kicks in, this annual weed begins growing and very quickly. For most areas around the country this would be June. Although it grows in compacted soil types, Purslane prefers sandy, gravelly soils.
This weed is herbaceous, or dies at the end of growing season. It grows back with germinating seeds when growing season starts. Seeds are flattish and black. They develop in bowl shaped pods and when ready, pods open spreading seeds.
When pulling or hoeing weeds it is important to remove all of weed. Stems are fleshy and will remain alive for a long time. Broken weeds will re-root wherever it touches soil. Pull regularly and throw out weeds. If in lawns, mow over so seed is unable to set.
Use a selective post-emergent herbicide. These are recommend if there is not a large infestations and to repeat applications regularly. If there are areas where weed is taking over it's best to till soil and apply herbicide, wait about three weeks and fertilize area. Continue to add rich soil regularly as this will be the best method to control weed from coming back. After removal always apply mulch.
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