Controlling Prostrate Pigweed - Tips To Remove And Kill Prostrate Pigweed

To kill prostrate pigweed amend your sandy soil, put on your gloves, and start pulling them out by the roots.

Green Prostrate Pigweed Along Bricks
(Image credit: AGEphotography)

Wondering how to get rid of prostrate pigweed? This invasive weed has made itself at home in lawns and gardens.

The term pigweed, in general, covers several different kinds of weeds. A common form of pigweed is prostrate pigweed (Amaranthus blitoides). It is also known as matweed or mat amaranth. Let's take a look at prostrate pigweed identification and tips for prostrate pigweed control.

Prostrate Pigweed Identification

Prostrate pigweed grows in a circular form with low-growing stems coming from a central spot so it looks like a spider web. The radial stems are reddish purple and can grow more than a foot (31 cm) long.

The leaves on prostrate pigweed are about a half inch (1 cm) long and oval-shaped. The flowers on prostrate pigweed are reddish green and not significant, but the flowers will produce seeds that look like small black sand grains. The prostrate pigweed spreads through these seeds.

Prostrate Pigweed Control

As with many weeds, the best way for controlling prostrate pigweed is to prevent it from growing in your yard in the first place. This plant grows best in sandy soil and is commonly found in bare, sandy spots like riverbanks and near roads. If you find that you have problems with prostrate pigweed, it's an indication that you have sandy soil. Improving the sandy soil will help get rid of prostrate pigweed or keep it from growing to begin with.

This plant is an annual, but its seeds are very resilient and can live 20 years before they need to germinate. This means that total prostrate pigweed removal can be quite a long process. You need to remain persistent when controlling it.

The nice thing about prostrate pigweed is that it grows in a shape that makes it very easy to hand-pull the plants. Firmly grab the center of the prostrate pigweed plant and pull out the central stem with as much of the root as possible. The entire plant should come away. It is best to keep a sharp eye out for the plant in spring and pull it as soon as possible -- before it develops seeds. When you get rid of prostrate pigweed before it goes to seed, you reduce its ability to come back in future years.

They re-root at the nodes and grow, so cutting them down at base level is helpful. Amend your sandy soil, put on your gloves and start pulling.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.

With contributions from