Nutsedge

Name: Nutsedge, purple and yellownutsedge-(2)

Latin:

Cyperus

Control Difficulty: ✭✭✭✭✰

Best Control Product: Pro Sedge (Halosulfuron-methyl)

Identifying Traits:

Shiny, yellow-green stiff blades grow faster than the turf. Easily spotted because it grows fast and stands erect, above the rest of the lawn, throwing off any uniformity, as soon as one day after mowing. Triangular stems produce nutsedge blades that can number several per plant when mature. Seed heads appear if it reaches a mature height and appear as soft bursts of spikes at the tip of the leaf blade.

A large group of yellow nutsedge. Notice the seed heads.

A large group of yellow nutsedge. Notice the seed heads.

Details

Where and When:

Nutsedge appears mid summer and can last through early fall. Yellow nutsedge is found throughout the united states while purple nutsedge is found in southeastern states and coastal california, primarily.

Look for nutsedge in poorly drained, rich soil areas, where it thrives. It can grow in large stands if allowed to. Nutsedge is able to withstand anaerobic areas such as wetlands, be aware that even in areas of constant standing water nutsedge can sprout.

Nutsedge is found in areas where backfill or topsoil was used. Often the nuts of the plant are carried in to a property unknowingly, and can spread quickly in these areas if conditions are right.

Control Procedure:

Controlling nutsedge can be difficult and costly when there is a large amount present or a lot scattered through a lawn.

Nutsedge should be sprayed with pro sedge or similar products as early as possible. Nutsedge will drop several nuts within weeks of first sprouting and that nut will produce more nutsedge the following season. If sprayed early enough with product this can be prevented, controlling future weed problems.

Later in the season after sprouting and dropping its seed you can use a less expensive and labor intensive product to control this years crop. Sulfentrazone (found in surge or dismiss) is the best product for this approach. It only burns down the top growth of the plant but it works quickly showing results in days. It is still important to control late season nutsedge because the plant can reproduce by seed heads.

When spraying nutsedge spot treatment works the best, using a backpack sprayer if it is not too overwhelming. When spraying the plant cover the entire leaf and stem from both directions, spraying once walking towards the plant then turning around and spraying the back side as well. Multiple visits may be necessary, nutsedge can be difficult to fully control. This spray method should be used with any of the above recommended products.

Organic Control Methods for nutsedge:

Nutsedge thrives in wet, poorly drained areas so the first priority is drainage to help eliminate nutsedge and prevent future explosions. Also it is a good idea to buy quality topsoil when filling and seeding areas, such as a strip along the road where winter caused damage. All too often poor backfill carries nutsedge with it, if it can be prevented do so.

Largest bunch of nutsedge I have ever seen in a residential development. Ouch!

Largest bunch of nutsedge I have ever seen in a residential development. Ouch!

Hand pulling nutsedge is feasible, be sure to uproot the plant slowly and firmly, gripping as low on the stem as possible. This slow pull will help pull up the nut with the plant, saving you future effort. The nut is visible with the naked eye however it is small, about the size of the end of a Q-Tip. Any of these tubers left behind will sprout into new sedges.

 

There is not an organic control product available at this time.

Notes:

Also called coco grass, nutgrass, and cocosedge.

Some service providers charge extra fees for the control of nutsedge because of its difficulty and the monocot nature of the plant.

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