Leafy spurge is a perennial that grows up to 3 feet tall and reproduces by vigorous rhizomes and seeds. Found in north eastern Kansas, Leafy Spurge is highly competitive often forming dense stands that crowd out other more favorable vegetation. The plant has an extensive root system that stores an abundance of nutrients making it extremely difficult to control.
Leafy Spurge is easily identified by the yellowish-green flowers subtended by paired heart-shaped yellow-green bracts. The entire plant contains a milky juice. Capsules explode when dry, often projecting seeds as far as 15 feet. Seeds may be viable in the soil for at least 8 years.
There are no biological control practices approved for leafy spurge at this time. A potential nationwide leafy spurge biological control program is being considered by the USDA. Kansas will consider participation in such a program if it is implemented.
Numerous herbicides are available in Kansas, some on a cost share basis.