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Nutsedge, often called nutgrass, is one of the most pesky lawn weeds that homeowners encounter in their turf grass. While it may look like grass, it is actually a sedge, and requires a different type of herbicide than broadleaf weeds for eradication. Here, we will discuss how to identify and control nutsedge in your lawn.

How to Identify Nutsedge

While all nutsedge plants look grassy, with triangular stems and three rows of leaves, there are actually two types of the weed. First, yellow nutsedge (cyperus esculentus) has light green leaves that can grow from 12-16 inches tall at full maturity. The seedheads are tan in color and branched. Purple nutsedge (cyperus rotundus) has darker green leaves and the seedheads are dark brown to purple. At full maturity, purple nutsedge is less than six inches tall. Each type reacts differently to herbicides, so it is important that you consult with a lawncare professional for proper identification and treatment.

Nutsedge Growth

One of the reasons that nutsedge can be so tricky to control is because it spreads by several different methods. Not only does it spread by seed, it also spreads by rhizomes, and by small underground tubers called nutlets. A single plant can produce hundreds of nutlets in one growing season. The nutsedge tubers are very hardy and can remain dormant deep in the soil for several years. These tubers are often spread when soil is moved during gardening or installing ornamental plants. Nutsedge thrives in poorly drained or over-irrigated soil. Nutsedge leaves are often most noticeable in the lawn during the hot summer months, as this is when it grows most rapidly.

Nutsedge Control Methods

As previously mentioned, nutsedge infestations can be difficult to control, and usually require several methods of treatment. The best way to prevent nutsedge is by cultural control. This means maintaining a healthy lawn by following good mowing practices, utilizing an effective weed control program and improving soil drainage. Do not over-water grass. 

Chemical control of nutsedge is often necessary, using a weed killer. it should be a formulation with active ingredients that specifically target nutsedge. Herbicide application should take place in the late spring or early fall. Do not mow the area for a few days after it is treated. It is important to understand that repeat applications over several years may be required in order to get rid of this persistent weed.

Nutsedge can also be removed by digging the plants out. This can be tricky, however, because you have to dig quite deep and wide to remove the tubers. Even when done carefully, new plants can often appear later.

Nutsedge is a common weed that can cause frustration for many homeowners because of its resilience and ability to spread quickly and easily. If you are struggling to control nutsedge in your lawn, contact the professionals at Loyalty Lawn Care in St. Charles, MO to discuss our lawn care programs. Our experts know how to effectively prevent and treat all types of weeds, including nutsedge, so that you can have a healthy, green lawn all year long.   

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