Caring for your lawn is rewarding, but it can be hard work too. It is time consuming, and requires a good amount of money, maintenance, and manpower. Needless to say, after all that hard work, a homeowner’s worst nightmare is pesky weeds that put all of their hard work to waste. And while there are many different types of weeds, Nutsedge is one of the most troublesome. Today I will be going over everything you need to know about Nutsedge. I’ll tell you what it is, how to identify and prevent it, and I’ll share how to get rid of Nutsedge in your lawn (a few different methods).
Let’s start with the basics.
Know Your Enemy
If you’re like most homeowners you may think a weed is a weed and they all grow, spread, and are treated the same way.
This is not true.
The first step to weed control in your lawn is to identify the type of weed you’re dealing with. Knowing what kind of weeds you are working with will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to take control of the situation.
So What is Nutsedge?
Nutsedge, otherwise known as nut grass, is a type of weed that look like grass.
Nut grass is very challenging to deal with for a few reasons:
- Nutsedge grows very quickly, and the weed takes root very deep into the soil.
- Nut Grass spreads via small tubers, rhizomes, or by seed, meaning it can spread across your lawn in a number of ways.
- It’s also a perennial weed which will over-winter and come back again and again if you don’t address it.
How to Spot and Identify Nutsedge in Your Lawn
As mentioned above, Nutsedge looks very similar to most species of tall grass. As a result, it may be harder to spot at first, but as the season goes on, it will be almost impossible to miss and painful to look at.
For starters, Nutsedge is usually a very light green, almost yellow in color. This can disrupt the desired color of your lawn and give the appearance of an unhealthy lawn. If nothing else, it will stand out like a sore thumb among your dark green turfgrass.
Another thing that is hard to miss is its height. Nutsedge grows a lot taller (and more rapidly) than most species of lawn grasses which makes for even more inconsistencies in the appearance of your lawn.
Between the difference in color, growth rate (and height), it will always stand out in your lawn.
If your nutsedge has had time to grow and spread, you will also notice flowers blooming in the center of clustered leaves of three.
The flowers may even have different colors depending on the season. Once Nutsedge has had time to grow into its full form, it’s hard to miss.
Ways to Prevent Nutsedge from Sprouting
When it comes to lawn care, prevention is always the best form of control.
While it is possible to manage and treat Nutsedge in your lawn, it can be very difficult considering how fast this weed spreads and grows.
In the long run, prevention is a much more cost effective solution, and it is considerably less work.
Here are some things you can do to prevent Nutsedge from invading your lawn:
Watch for Tubers
Nutsedge spreads when a single tuber is able to take root in the soil of your lawn. It goes without saying, you will want to keep them out. Be aware of your surroundings (your neighbor’s yards) and watch out for possible avenues of infestation.
If you recently lent your gardening tools to your neighbor, make sure to check and sanitize thoroughly before using them again on your own lawn.
If you will be visiting another person’s lawn or farm, then make sure that their lawn is not infested so that you won’t accidentally bring tubers through the bottoms of your shoes.
Other ways Nutsedge can spread unintentionally is through floodwaters, mulch, dirt, and even compost which isn’t completely finished.
Test Your Soil
Before putting down new soil onto your lawn, you may want to test it to make sure that there are no nutlets or tubers that snuck their way into your batch.
You can test your soil at home by closely monitoring the content. Sift through your soil on a paper towel and take a close look at its contents.
Look for any roots and have pictures of what Nutsedge roots look like so you can easily compare.
Use (the right) Herbicides
There are a variety of lawn herbicides available on the market which is both good and bad depending upon your stance on lawn care and using chemicals or keeping things organic.
Integrating an herbicide into your lawn care routine is one of the best forms of weed prevention and is a very simple and quick thing to do.
You will always want to read ingredients to ensure that it works on the weeds you are trying to eliminate.
It’s also a good idea to run a spot test first to make sure that the solution is compatible with your lawn (and won’t kill your grass along with the grassy weed you’re trying to kill).
A little lower in this article I share the exact herbicide and formula I use to kill Nutsedge in turfgrass.
Nutsedge flourishes in poor, moist soil. A quick fix would be to mow your lawn frequently to keep it dry and make sure that your drainage is adequate enough. You can consider tilling often or even regrading your lawn.
Spot Them Early On
In most cases, nutsedge only starts to distinguish itself after it has been around for a while. By then, it’s usually too late and an infestation has already begun. While there are many ways to prevent the weed from sprouting at all, some incidents can’t be helped. Nevertheless, you will always want to monitor the consistency of your lawn so that you can catch any signs of nutsedge early on and prevent an infestation altogether.
How to Get Rid of Nutsedge
While prevention is the best thing you can do for your lawn, weeds are not the end of the world. There are many different methods for removing nutsedge from your lawn. Most of which, you can do yourself.
You can use a combination of both organic methods and chemical herbicides to get the job done.
First, let’s take a look at some of the natural ways you can get rid of Nutsedge:
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Nutsedge
Cutting it Out
As a general rule, you never want to pull weeds out of the ground. Especially not matured nutsedge. Pulling it from the ground rouses up the tubers, letting them fall and replant.
When a matured tuber has been picked from the ground, its regrowth will take little to no time to pester you once more. However, if you have tubers in your garden bed, and they have not yet had the time to mature, you can pick them out directly from the root.
Otherwise, you will want to cut the tuber out. Make sure to cut high. Cutting a tuber at the low length will only allow more to grow.
Another natural method of getting pesky nut grass out of your lawn is by opening it up for wild animals. There are a variety of animals who actually enjoy snacking on weeds such as nutgrass. This way, you get out of dealing with your weeds , and they have a free buffet at their disposal.
Of course if you have perennial beds that you want to keep deer away from, this may not be the smart choice.
I mentioned before that nut grass thrives in moist, unhealthy lawns. You can mow your lawn regularly, and top-dress your yard to improve the soil quality so that the nutgrass has a hard time growing.
These methods can also be used with an entire regrading job in order to keep the nutsedge out permanently.
By regrading your lawn, you will improve the drainage and prevent any moisture from pooling. Thus, you eliminate spaces where the conditions would be ideal for nut grass.
How to Get Rid of Nutsedge with Chemicals
There are a variety of different herbicides that you can invest in to get rid of nutsedge. Herbicides are usually the most effective and show results in the least amount of time.
There are products you can buy locally at your box store or hardware store like Ortho (Amazon link). Many of these products work, but they tend to be less specific, and depending upon your grass type they may damage or kill your grass in addition to Nutsedge.
My go-to is an herbicide called Tenacity (Amazon link), which I mix with a surfactant for improved adhesion to the leaves of Nutsedge, Crabgrass, or whatever grassy weed you’re trying to kill.
This short video from one of my favorite YouTubers offers a great overview of how to mix and apply Tenacity to your lawn safely (with results):
Tenacity Mixing Recipe and Product Links:
- 2+ Gallon Sprayer (Amazon link)
- 2 Gallons of Water
- 1 Teaspoon of Tenacity Herbicide (Amazon link)
- 3 Teaspoons of Southern Ag Surfactant (Amazon link)
- 4 Teaspoons Liquid Blue Dye (Amazon link)
Be sure to read the ingredients thoroughly to make sure that it is compatible with your lawn.
I recommend testing the product on a small area of your lawn before spraying your entire lawn, and take into consideration whether the ingredients are toxic to animals or children that might play on your lawn, and keep off sprayed areas until the product is dry and it’s safe.
Using Glyphosate to Kill Nutsedge
Glyphosate-based herbicides are great for garden beds or areas where the soil is not dense and the Nutsedge has not yet been deeply rooted.
Do note, that this type of herbicide will not be effective in other areas of your lawn, especially for tubers that have already fully matured.
Other Chemicals that Get Rid of Nutsedge
There are a variety of different herbicides to choose from on the market. For Nutsedge, you will want to look for herbicides with chemicals such as halosulfuron, and sulfentrazone to get the best results.
Final Thoughts on Removing Nutsedge from Your Lawn
Regardless of the species, weeds taking over your lawn can be a nightmare. They waste your time and ruin the appearance of an otherwise healthy lawn.
The best way to conquer weeds and enjoy a weed-free carpet of green grass is to avoid delayed remediation. The longer weeds are allowed to take root, the more difficult (and expensive, and time-consuming) removal will be.
By taking both preventative and corrective measures to control your yard, you can effectively remove Nutsedge from your lawn. Do so, and you’ll be one step closer to a green, healthy, and beautiful weed-free lawn.
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