Tough Turf Weeds: Yellow Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge is a tough, perennial weed common in many parts the the Great Plains region. It invades turf, landscape beds, golf courses, croplands, and gardens. This weed is spread from seed and bulblets. The bulblets are little nut-like appendages or storage roots on the main roots of the plant. When nutsedge is dug or pulled, these bulblets break off in the soil or fall off plants when moved by machinery, perpetuating the plant. 

Yellow nutsedge growing in a landscape bed

The best attack plant for eliminating nutsedge from the lawn is a chemical attack. Many homeowner mow their lawns when the nutsedge gets tall, as it grows faster than grass. Spraying the areas of nutsedge in the lawn with a chemical is the best attack. However, most sprays are not effective when the plant has more than 3 leaves per stem. The stems are triangular in shape and leaves grow in a whorl around the triangle and upward. As the plant matures, it sends forth a flower and then seeds. 

Sedge Ender, sold by Grimm’s Gardens, contain sulfentrazone

In landscape beds it may be possible to kill nutsedge with a different herbicide, such as glyphosate. However, this will also have problems if you are spraying on plants with more than 3 leaves. Here is where pulling may help. Even though you risk spreading the nutsedge from bulblets, you can effectively spray new, young plants as they germinate with a sedge killing chemical such as Sulfentrazone. (Always read and follow directions on chemical labels before applying any pesticides)

Yellow nutsedge flowers

Even if you have eliminated yellow nutsedge from your lawn or garden, you must be vigilant. It may be brought back in from bulblets attached to your mower, or from seed brought in by birds or mammals. 


Happy planting!

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