Nutsedge No More: How to Get Your Lawn Back

Team McFly Sep 22, 2023
18 People Read
Nutsedge grass
Table of Contents
  1. "Nutsedge Nixed: Reclaiming Your Lawn's Glory!"
    1. How to Get Rid of Nutsedge
    2. How Can I Identify Nutsedge?
    3. How Can I Prevent Nutsedge from Coming Back?
    4. How does Nutsedge Spread?
    5. Can I use an Organic Weed Killer?
    6. Why is Nutsedge a Problem?
    7. Does Nutsedge Die in The winter?
    8. Should I use Pre-emergents?
    9. Conclusion

"Nutsedge Nixed: Reclaiming Your Lawn's Glory!"

How to Get Rid of Nutsedge

Nutsedge can be one of the most challenging weeds to eradicate. It usually grows in moist lawns with poor drainage.

Turfgrass disturbed or brought into the yard from nursery plantings or contaminated topsoil can often develop this issue.

How Can I Identify Nutsedge?

Nutsedge is an invasive perennial weed that can wreak havoc on lawns and landscape beds. Native to Africa, Eurasia, and South America, it is widespread across North America.

This grasslike sedge can be identified by its triangular stem and leaves that emerge at 120-degree angles. It grows 2 to 3 ft tall, and reproduces through rhizomes and tubers, creating large patches rather than individual plants.

Roots of this species are slightly thicker than grass's, measuring up to 1/16" (1.55 mm). At the ends of other roots are small bulbs known as "tubers", which store energy and sprout new shoots when disturbed.

Once established, nutsedge thrives in moist or saturated soils and often grows in poorly drained areas such as low spots or irrigation leaks. Reducing moisture levels and improving drainage can help control nutsedge infestations.

Another way to identify nutsedge is by its flower, which grows on an umbel-like structure of multiple spikes that start as greenish yellow and become straw or tan in color as they mature - similar to carrot and parsley flowers, which also form on an umbel.

How Can I Prevent Nutsedge from Coming Back?

Nutsedge is an aggressive weed that can quickly take over your lawn. It is a perennial grass-like plant that grows faster than turfgrass. To prevent nutsedge from returning, maintaining your lawn as lush and healthy as possible is the best way to combat it. Doing this helps smother weed seeds, preventing them from germinating.

Additionally, aerating the soil and adding high-quality compost will improve its health, as will applying a preemergent herbicide in the spring (like corn gluten meal) to prevent nutsedge from growing in your lawn. Nutsedge plants grow from tubers attached to underground, horizontal stems known as rhizomes. Typically, these can be found in overly wet lawns or gardens that don't drain well.


How does Nutsedge Spread?

Nutsedge grows by creating small tubers, creeping rhizomes, and seeds. New tubers typically form four to six weeks after a new shoot appears and spread underground through what are known as nutlets--tangled root systems.

Nutsedge is a resilient weed that can survive moist soil and drought conditions. It flourishes in areas with poor drainage or irrigation issues like leaky sprinklers.

Preventing nutsedge from forming is ideal, as this will minimize the amount of tillage required to eradicate them. Once you spot them, act quickly to address the issue before it can spread or become entrenched. Doing this is much simpler and more cost-effective than dealing with an extensive infestation later in the season.

Agriculture typically employs timed tillage and cultivation to disrupt nutsedge growth (late spring-early summer) and tuber formation (late summer). Use tillage implements that bring rhizomes and tubers close to the surface for drying or freezing.

Can I use an Organic Weed Killer?

Unwanted weeds often take advantage of unattended gardens, spreading their roots and seeds into flowerbeds, veggie gardens, lawns, and other areas where plants require sunlight, water, and essential soil nutrients. It can be discouraging to spend weeks cultivating blossoms and fruits only to have weeds steal away your moisture, sun exposure, and essential minerals.

Thankfully, many gardeners turn to organic weed killers for more effective results. These products eliminate weeds without using toxic chemicals that could endanger wildlife or impede food production.

Organic weed killers typically contain vinegar, salt, and corn. Other beneficial components like soaps and essential oils may also be present.

Organic weed killers come in pre- and post-emergent formulations, with active ingredients preventing seeds from sprouting above ground. They work by stripping away plant leaves' waxy cuticles or damaging cell walls to cause desiccation and senescence. These agents are especially useful on turf or lawns where weeds may thrive due to poorly drained soil areas.

Why is Nutsedge a Problem?

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is an annual weed that can quickly take over your lawn and diminish its aesthetic appeal. It reproduces rapidly, so it could eventually take over your turfs if not controlled.

Nutsedge is a tough weed that thrives in various soil conditions and spreads via rhizomes and tubers. It often appears in pastures or cultivated fields, competing with crops like corn and soybeans for space and nutrients.

It can also be an issue in flower beds and vegetable gardens due to its preference for moist soil, which allows it to overtake healthy grass if not controlled quickly.

Fortunately, an integrated control program incorporating preventive, cultural, mechanical, and chemical methods can effectively manage nutsedge.

Preventative Control: The most effective way to prevent nutsedge is through a regular turf maintenance program. This involves mowing at the appropriate height, fertilizing regularly, maintaining an ideal soil pH level, and watering deeply but infrequently.

Avoid over-irrigating or watering during the middle of the day to prevent weed growth. Furthermore, inspect your sprinklers and drains for leaky heads or poor drainage.

Does Nutsedge Die in The winter?

Nutsedge, also referred to as chufa or nutgrass, is a perennial weed that thrives in moist soils. It's often an issue in lawns, gardens, and crop fields.

Nutsedge grows from underground tubers on underground stems, known as rhizomes, extending up to 14 inches deep into the soil. From these tubers, sprout buds into new plants that spread in patches up to 10 feet across.

Yellow nutsedge stands out among most grasses in that it grows faster during summer than its surrounding turfgrass, while in wintertime, it dies off completely.

When a mature plant dies, its tubers remain in the soil and will produce seeds again the following spring. If not controlled, this cycle of growth and death will repeat itself.

Due to their prolific growth rate, they control nutgrass infestations early in the year. Apply an herbicide such as Ortho Crabgrass & Nutgrass Killer, Basagran, or Tenacity in late spring to early summer for effective control. Repeated treatments will be needed throughout summer and fall to eliminate dormant tubers.

Should I use Pre-emergents?

Pre-emergent herbicides effectively stop weed seeds from germinating by inhibiting an enzyme necessary for root development. They're widely used on lawns, flowerbeds, and vegetable gardens alike.

Some pre-emergents are designed to kill only weed seeds, while others target the roots of existing weeds. Therefore, it's essential that you read the label and select a product that won't harm any plants on your property.

Pre-emergents typically need water to activate them and penetrate the soil, which is beneficial as it helps ensure the chemicals reach weed seeds before they sprout.

Pre-emergents should be applied twice annually, before spring when ground temperatures rise above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and again in early fall when soil temperatures dip below 70 degrees.


Nutsedge control requires both cultural and chemical management strategies. This will require regular attention, weeding, pruning, and maintaining sanitation to avoid future infestations.

Nutsedge plants differ from grass in that their root system consists of multiple, smaller units that comprise most of their structure. This includes fibrous roots, rhizomes, and tubers. Unlike grass with one large root system, nutsedge plants have numerous smaller ones, making up the bulk of their structure.

The tuber is the most impressive component, storing enough energy to sprout new shoots. This characteristic makes nutsedge so difficult to eliminate.

Utilizing the proper weeding tools and a reliable weed killer is the only way to restore your lawn's aesthetic. However, it would help if you remained patient and persistent to see results from your efforts. Most importantly, watch for signs of the dreaded weed: clusters of dark green leaves, strange spike-like flowers on plant stems, or small seedlings emerging from underground rhizomes.

Recent Feature Posts:

A Blooming Good Time: Prepping Your Lawn for Spring

Clover No More: The Secret to a Weed-Free Yard

Table of Contents
  1. "Nutsedge Nixed: Reclaiming Your Lawn's Glory!"
    1. How to Get Rid of Nutsedge
    2. How Can I Identify Nutsedge?
    3. How Can I Prevent Nutsedge from Coming Back?
    4. How does Nutsedge Spread?
    5. Can I use an Organic Weed Killer?
    6. Why is Nutsedge a Problem?
    7. Does Nutsedge Die in The winter?
    8. Should I use Pre-emergents?
    9. Conclusion