Nutsedge is one of the most stubborn of all weeds, and discovering it in your lawn can be disheartening. These resistant grassy weeds can be a nuisance, but they are not impossible to remove. Learn how to kill nutsedge by pulling it by hand or killing it with a weed killer.
Purple nutsedge, or Cyperus rotundus, and yellow nutsedge, or Cyperus esculentus, are both weed species of sedge. Nutsedge resembles grass, with the exception that it grows faster and is taller than turfgrass. You can identify it by its lime green color, triangular-shaped grass blades, and reddish-purple seedhead.
The root system of nutsedge contains rhizomes and tubers, with each tuber being capable of creating new weeds. Unlike broadleaf weeds such as the dandelion weed and crabgrass, you can not prevent nutgrass by using a pre-emergent.
Effectively Killing Nutsedge
If you’re reading this article, then you have likely tried everything to kill nutsedge to no avail. Unfortunately, what works to kill other weeds does not work for this one.
There are a few techniques you can do to control, kill, and prevent nutsedge growth. Learn how you can eradicate nutsedge in your yard without using the harmful herbicide, glyphosate, found in Roundup.
How to Kill Nutgrass using an Herbicide
Here is how to kill nutgrass using a post-emergent herbicide that contains halosulfuron or sulfentrazone. Using a selective herbicide to eliminate this tough weed requires specific measures of safety during application.
Most grass types are tolerant of these herbicides, including cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses, and bermudagrass.
Read the label directions for your particular brand of herbicide, whether it is Ortho, Sedgehammer, or another brand name.
The general rule of thumb for applying herbicides to the lawn is not to mow the grass two days before and after application and avoid spraying the herbicide if expecting rain. Some brands may require using a nonionic surfactant in addition to the herbicide.
Killing Nutgrass with Sugar
You can control nutsedge weed by applying sugar to the affected areas in the spring during the beginning of its growing season. Killing nutsedge with sugar not only controls weeds in your yard but nourishes beneficial microbes in the lawn.
Use a garden hose to wet the lawn without saturating it. Pour sugar into a sifter and walk in a straight line at a steady pace while turning the handle of the sifter. Walk from one side to the other, continuing this pace until the entire lawn is sugared.
Finish by spraying the lawn with a light mist so that it moistens the grass and weeds without washing the sugar away. Repeat this process two more times throughout the spring.
Killing and Preventing Nutsedge in the Garden
Stopping the nutsedge weed from growing in a vegetable garden or flower beds is essential to the overall health of your plants and veggies. Because this perennial plant is so difficult to eradicate, the best nutsedge killer is a preventative one.
Begin by pulling any existing nutsedge out of the garden using our hand-pulling method. To ensure that the nutsedge weed does not return, place sheets of old newspaper over the top of the soil around the desirable plants.
Cover the paper with pieces of cardboard and place at least two inches of mulch over the top of that. Water the mulch with a garden hose. No more nutgrass!
Make a Natural Nutgrass Herbicide
Vinegar is the go-to for killing nutsedge in the lawn and garden and it is an excellent medium for killing poison ivy naturally, as well. It is also ideal as a natural dandelion spray and its use for eradicating many other weeds is virtually unmatched.
Use vinegar that contains up to 20% acetic acid concentration to kill the weeds effectively. You can’t get any better natural weed killer with vinegar than this simple solution.
It’s best to perform this method on a sunny and windless day. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and label for future use.
Turn the nozzle sprayer setting to stream and spray the vinegar directly onto the nutgrass, being careful not to-spray nearby desirable plants. Repeat daily until the weed is dead.
Preventing Nutsedge Growth
The best way to prevent the nutsedge weed from growing in your yard is through proper lawn care. A full and healthy lawn makes it very difficult for any weeds, let alone nutsedge, to grow and thrive.
Nutsedge thrives in damp areas, so the first step in preventing it from growing in your yard is to make sure that your lawn has proper drainage. Grassroots also need aeration to ensure that nutrients and water can get into the soil. Aerate your yard once a year to maintain its health.
Another step to take is to ensure that you mow your lawn correctly. Grass that is cut too short or cut with dull mower blades can burn in the sun, which leads to unhealthy grass.
Make sure that your lawnmower blades are sharp and that you cut the cool-season grass to two and a half inches, removing only the top third of the grass blade. Established lawns need approximately one to two inches of water per week.
During the dry season, maintain the grass by using a sprinkler or garden hose. Sprinkle grass seed into areas that are thin or bare to prevent weed seeds from easy access to the soil. Using a lawn fertilizer is also an excellent measure to take to ensure a healthy lawn.
Remove Nutsedge by Hand
If all else fails, pull the nutsedge weed by hand to eliminate it from your yard. While this takes time and effort, it is well worth it in the end. Pulling out from the roots is also what kills clover but not grass in your lawn, as well as other pesky weeds.
Water the weedy area before pulling to loosen up the soil and make it easier to remove the entire plant. You’ll probably want to wear gloves while removing nutgrass, but it is not necessary. Slide the garden trowel into the soil surface directly alongside the nutsedge plant.
Go down reasonably deep since the root system can be as much as 18 inches below the surface. Grab the bottom of the weed and pry the plant and roots out of the ground.
Do this with a gentle force, so you do not leave any underground tubers and nutlets behind while pulling. New plants can grow from any leftover roots and nutsedge tubers. Discard all of weeds and roots into a garbage bag and dispose of to prevent the weeds from spreading.
While it’s unfortunate that standard weed killers and pre-emergent herbicides do not work to kill nutgrass, it’s good to know that not all hope is lost.
Using the right nutsedge killer and cultural control not only eliminates stubborn nutsedge plants from the lawn but provides a stable space for your lawn grass and garden to thrive.
Knowing the right method for how to kill nutsedge effectively can make a significant impact on the health of your lawn, so why not share our nutsedge killing tips with family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?