Purslane is a summer annual with prostrate growth from a taproot and fibrous surface roots. The leaves are thick and waxy, resembling a jade plant. The leaves usually alternate, with a cluster at the tip of the stem. Stems are thick, red in color, and branch out from a central point, forming a mat up to 1-foot in diameter. The flower is solitary, yellow in color and has 5 petals. The flower is found in the leaf axis or at the tip of the stem. Purslane flowers from May to November and spreads by seeds, which germinate in the spring, or by stem fragments. Purslane is found through out the United States, but less in the Pacific Northwest.
Dense, vigorous cool-season turf areas will resist infestation. Physical removal of single plants can be easily accomplished, although it is important to eliminate all stem fragments. Follow good turf management practices including disease and insect control and proper fertilization. Purslane can become a problem in newly seeded areas. It is best to avoid attempting to establish new stands of cool-season turfgrass in the spring. Fall seedling establishment will not be threatened by purslane aggression.
The best time to control purslane with a post-emergence broadleaf herbicide is when the plant is in the seedling stage, actively growing and between the four true-leaf and flower growth stage. Later in the plant’s lifecycle it will be necessary to mow prior to herbicide application and assure that good contact is made with the prostrate plant.