Also known by the name yellow nutgrass, nutsedge is a common perennial sedge found in many lawns. It reproduces by seeding, rhizomes and small tubers or nutlets (the nut).
Typically yellow nutsedge grows faster than most turfgrasses under normal growing conditions. That means it can easily be seen several days after mowing. On closer inspection it can also be identified by its triangular stem and light green/yellowish color.
Shoots will first appear in late spring after which the germination of the underground nutlets. When cold weather arrives the top foliage will die back and the nutlets will overwinter to repeat the process the following year.
Controlling yellow nutsedge can be a challenge and early detection is essential. Pulling the stems out by hand as soon as they appear will sometimes be enough to remove the plan from the lawn, but if any of the nutlets remain in the ground, they will continue to be a problem. Repeated hand-pulling will be necessary. Professional herbicides can be used on the young plants, but repeated applications are often necessary. If you have large patches of yellow nutsedge, contact a local professional lawn care provider that is licensed to apply these herbicides.
For homeowners, a herbicide containing methanearsonate (this material may slightly discolor Kentucky bluegrass, but no serious injury should result if used at the rate and under the conditions described on the label). This is often sold under trades names like “Crabgrass Killer.”
Follow these steps in order to be successful in reducing the nutsedge contamination:
1. Be sure to read and follow all directions on the herbicide label.
2. One day before making the herbicide application, irrigate the turf area to moisten the soil profile to a depth of 6". This will help the herbicide reach the roots and the small nuts.