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Lawn Care Tips for Speedwell, Spurge and Tall Fescue

by on July 11, 2012

There are quite a few varieties of speedwell, all differentiated by petite, lobed, and plentiful leaves, and by minuscule white or purple flowers. The scallop-edged leaves are paired, emerging opposite of one another. Heart-shaped seed pods develop on the stems beneath the flowers.

Speedwells are among the initial of Ridgewood lawn weeds to emerge, sprouting as early as late winter. Most are set apart by creeping stems that root at the nodes. They all prosper in chilled, damp soils where turf has become thin and sparse.

Spurge is 6 to 36 inches in height. Erect stems support linear, alternate leaves of a bluish-green hue. The species exhibits yellow-green inflorescence on an umbel near the top of the stem. The yellow-green bracts are the most colorful and conspicuous part of the plant. A milky white sap (latex) is present in all parts of the plant, and aids in identification.

The plant occurs primarily in non-cropland habitats, including roadsides, prairies, savannas, and woodlands. It is tolerant of a wide range of habitats, from damp to very dry soils.

Tall fescue does produce short rhizomes but has a bunch-type growth habit – it spreads primarily by erect tillers. Individual tillers, or stems, terminate in an inflorescence, reach 3 to 4 feet in height, and have broad, dark green basal leaves. Leaf blades are glossy on the underside and serrated on the margins. The leaf sheath is smooth and the ligule is a short membrane.

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