Purslane is an annual that grows throughout the world. Most of us think of it only as a weed, but in some locations it is considered a food. The leaves of this plant resemble that of a jade plant--waxy and thick. It has a single tap root and numerous surface roots, spreading up to one foot in diameter and forming a thick mat. Flowering (small yellow blooms) occurs from May through November. This weed seeds itself, producing up to 240,000 tiny seeds (very few seeds survive). Stems of the purslane plant can reroot themselves after you have cultivated the soil to rid the area of purslane.
Dig out purslane before it flowers and produces seeds. Make sure that you remove the entire plant. Do not leave pieces of the stem to avoid any rerooting. Do not put the plant material in your compost bin, rather dispose of it.
Wash and disinfect your digging tool after removing purslane weed. Disinfect by dipping it in either bleach or alcohol. This is to remove any seeds that may have been present or any remnants of the stems, thus avoiding spreading the weed inadvertently.
Cover the soil around plants in a new planting bed with plastic. This will keep any potential purslane seeds that are present from growing.
Add a two to three inches of mulch around established plant beds or trees, using bark or stone mulch. This will also discourage weed growth. (One bag of bark mulch covers approximately an area a foot wide by three feet long.)
Maintain your grass through a program of regular fertilization. Regular fertilization will produce thick turf--thus limiting/eliminating weed growth. A well maintained lawn is less likely to have an infestation of weeds.
Apply a postemergent broadleaf herbicide to control purslane. Do this when the plant is growing but before it blossoms and seeds. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.