Noxious Weeds of Nebraska

Published 2010
Cover Display for EC174

Leafy spurge is an invasive weed that infests over three million acres in the northern Grat Plains and the prairie provinces of Canada. Leafy spurge can reduce rangeland and pasture carrying capacity by as much as 75 percent because it competes with forages and cattle avoid grazing areas infested with this weed. In Nebraska the direct loss in forage value attributed to leafy spurge has been estimated at more than $2 million annually. Estimates of direct and indirect losses in Nebraska exceed $16 million per year.

Leafy spurge shoot emergence begins in early March in Nebraska. Flower production and seed development are continuous from late May through August and can extend into the fall under favoragle growing conditions.

The aggressive nature of leafy spurge is related to its phenomenal ability to reproduce both by seed and by adventitious shoot buds located on the crows and roots. Effective seed dispersal mechanisms, high seed viability, and rapid seedling development enable new infestations to become established easily. Prolific vegetative reproduction maintains dense, long-lived infestations.

Publication Details


Robert A. Masters

Brady F. Kappler




Publication Date March 04, 2002
Last Revision Date July 05, 2010
Language English

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Series Extension Circular