Asked October 3, 2018, 9:50 AM EDT

I am battling purslane in my vegetable garden this year. I ended up cleaning out my garden in mid-August and got most of it pulled out and the garden nearly completely clear of all weeds. Then I put clear plastic over the entire thing with bricks holding it down and left it to be sterilized. We were away for several weeks and when we came back we noticed the plastic rising in several areas and when we checked it there were HUGE bushes of purslane. Evidently sterilization doesn't work for this. I don't want to give up on my garden (it is 30x40 ft) but I'm getting frustrated. Thinking about using 2-4d? Can you please help?!! Thanks

Lapeer County Michigan

1 Response

Good morning,
A control strategy could be as follows. First, when the tiny seedlings are beginning to appear, which is often before a garden has been planted, run over them with the tiller or hoe. Secondly, once the garden is in, try to till again before the new seedlings have developed more than a few leaves or started to spread out. If you can adhere to those two steps in a timely manner, then it comes down to some spot weeding later, in early summer. Watch for the tiny yellow flowers to appear. Once you see those, try to get any remaining plants taken care of so that they do not get a chance to produce seed. That is a good thing to remember with any kind of weed, do not let them produce seed. Those seeds just mean more weeds to control in future years. Some glyphosate may be used to treat areas around the garden if there is a problem but do not try to spray weeds right in your garden or you will probably end up with some drift that will damage or kill your garden plants. Mulching around plants to keep the soil and any un-germinated seeds from getting exposed to light can be very helpful as well. But applying a thin layer of mulch over living plants will likely not be effective for long. Mulch over bare soil if possible. I hope this information is helpful and thank you for using Ask an Expert.