Trying to win a battle with nutsedge is one of the most difficult challenges many homeowners face with their lawns.  Many people have noticed that you can spray and spray and spray before you put in that new pristine lawn only to find that the nutsedge just keeps coming back as you start to water.  There is some hope out there to help solve the problem, but patience is going to be right at the top of the list along with a few steps I will outline.

So what exactly is nutsedge?  Nutsedge is a perennial weed that loves waterlogged soil, has a tendency to adapt very well in areas with poor drainage or places that are irrigated too frequently.  We often see nutsedge in developments that use flood irrigation on their properties or have in the past.  There are two types of nutsedge and they are yellow and purple, and just for the record the purple is not any prettier than the yellow or vice versa.  Nutsedge typically lives in the upper crust of the soil and has a life cycle ranging from 1-3 years but that only accounts for one tuber. 

Both types of nutsedge produce “tubers” 8-12 inches below the soil surface and can have plants that can be as far as 10 feet apart attached to it.  I have put some pictures of nutsedge in this piece as well but one of the true signs of having it is just how much faster it grows than your turf.  They have a very upright growth habit and will grow at 2-3x the rate of a warm season hybrid turf. 

I know we all only care about trying to control the nutsedge, but it is important to know why it is there to begin with, and ways to reduce the population over time.  One of the best control methods is to remove the small plants before they become mature.  If you get the plant when it is small typically before it has 5-6 leaves it will not have produced a tuber yet and this will cut off the reserve supply to the weed.  You will be pulling these weeds constantly during the spring and summer months but you can save yourself the headache down the road.  Now if you already have mature nutsedge and you are trying to eliminate the problem take note that patience is going to be your best weapon. 

If you will be starting your new lawn over from scratch it is great to catch the nutsedge in its young stage and spray it with Roundup or glyphosphate.  After you have sprayed it water the lawn area for a week or two until any plants come back and do this process again.  This will usually take 3 good sprays to eliminate most of the nutsedge but if you have extremely healthy tubers the Roundup will just barely ding the leaves and you are stuck with a strong tuber in the soil waiting to reemerge.  The glyphosphate or Roundup should be applied when the grass is actively growing, young, and should not be applied to grass that was just mowed. 

If you have an established lawn and you are looking to get rid of nutsedge with one single chemical application, realize that you have a better shot of winning the lottery.  There are chemicals out there for control in established lawns and the directions must be followed carefully and applications need to be timed exactly as the directions indicate.  Here are a few products that you can find at the specialized landscape stores and nurseries that will slowly take away the problem.  

Sedgehammer – Halosulfuron

Certainty – Sulfosulfuron

Monument – Trifloxysulfuron

As I said patience is the key to these chemicals and it will take several applications if not a long time to fully take care of the problem but these are some of best on the market for controlling and slowing the growth.  While there is not a pre-emergent for nutsedge, you can wage a war with it by pulling it out as it comes up and depleting the energy to the tuber.  Good luck and send me some pictures if you are unsure of how to proceed with your lawn.