Nutsedge (sometimes called “nutgrass”) is a summer perennial weed that can be extremely difficult to control. Most people think that Nutsedge is an annual weed because it appears to ‘die-off’ in cooler temperatures. However, nutsedge is actually a perennial weed that has an aggressive root system of tubers and rhizomes below the surface, even when there is no visible leaf tissue.
There are yellow nutsedge and purple nutsedge – yellow being the most common type. Each sprig of nutsedge can have up to 18 tubers ready to become plants next year. For this incredible spreading to be controlled long term, applications of halosulfuron or sulfentrazone done in late summer/early fall are the best way to lessen the following years crop and eventually eradicate the plant.
Herbicide applications in mid-summer are useful at hurting the plant, however you can get discouraged if you don’t eliminate it completely; this is because the nutsedge plant grows so fast that it’s tough to get control all the way down into the roots and other tubers – the plant simply outgrows the control products.
Cooler temps in the fall cause the nutsedge plant to slow down top growth and focus on sending all its energy to its tubers for next season before its leaf tissue dies off, and so this is when your control products are also best translocated to the tubers below ground.
Nutsedge is easily identified in the lawn or landscape as a bright green-yellow plant that resembles grass, but actively grows much faster. Within a day of mowing it will be taller than all other turf. Each plant will has three leaves that emerge, and each leaf has a very prominent mid-rib going up the center of it. If left long enough to flower, you will see a stalk come up the center with a spiky fluorescence that also has three leaves growing out parallel to the ground.
How to Control Nutsedge
When looking for how to control nutsedge long-term, apply a weed control product in mid-summer to hurt the plant, then again in late summer/early fall as the plant’s leaf growth slows and roots are most affected. One thing to keep in mind with summer sprays is that nutsedge emerges when soil temperatures reach the 60s at about 8 inches down, so sunny areas will have growth before shaded areas – it is not a plant that will all come up at once.
The following selective herbicides are excellent options when you are in need of a nutsedge killer.
Our favorite active ingredient for control of nutsedge is halosulfuron, which goes by the popular name brand Sedgehammer. The generic Empero is the exact same product as Sedgehammer, and our No. 1 choice because of the value it provides in results and cost.
For the professional who uses a lot of sulfentrazone, we highly recommend Antares Pro, which provides all the same control at much better price point.
Finally, many people have issues with crabgrass and nutsedge in the same area. If this is an issue in your lawn, Solitare WSL provides both sulfentrazone and quinclorac (one of the best crabgrass controls on the market) in an easy to mix liquid formulation.
The Best Nutsedge Killers (post emergent herbicides)
What does nutsedge look like?
Nutsedge, also referred to as “nutgrass” or “nut grass”is a lawn weed with light green leaves, a long tapered leaf tip, and triangular stems. They also grow much taller and faster than your cool season grasses, and nutsedge grows upwards of 16” mature height. The color and height of nutsedge makes it easier to spot and identify in your turf. Nutsedge thrives in damp soil and is usually found in poorly drained soil.
What kills nutsedge?
Selective herbicides containing Halosulfuron (Sedgehammer) or Sulfentrazone (Dismiss NXT) can help get rid of nutsedge. Non-selective herbicides and weed killers like glyphosate will also kill nutsedge, but it was also kill anything else it comes in contact with.
This post was written by Justin of LawnPro. Justin has over 15 years experience as a turf professional. LawnPro sells professional grade fertilizer, insecticides, fungicides, and lawn care products at competitive prices, and its brick and mortar store is located in Hartford, Connecticut.