Nutsedge and crabgrass are by far the most persistent kind of weeds every growing season. They grow fast and deep which can threaten the development of grass and plants in your garden.
In this post, learn how to get rid of nutsedge through herbicides and discover the practices based on nutsedge behavior and achieve that uniformly lush green grass.
(You could use the table of contents below to jump to the sections that are most important to you.)
Why Nutsedge Are Hard To Control?
Before you start pulling out the nutsedge, did you know that they will just sprout back again after a few days?
They are not your ordinary weed due to the following features:
Spreads bulb-like seeds underground
Nutsedge is a moisture-loving plant that is often mistaken for grass. It stands out on a lawn due to its vertical growth, yellow or yellow-green color, and shiny leaves.
Instead of a root system, it spreads in the soil through its rhizomes and tubers.
Its name nutsedge is derived from its nutlets formed underground. Nutlets are seeds that look like bulbs that can stay in the soil for several seasons.
Even if you pull out the nutsedge, the nutlets buried in the soil will sprout again within days.
Fountain of nutlets
What makes nutsedge harder to control is in every rhizome or tuber comes a new set of nutlets. Single nutsedge alone can produce hundreds of nutlets in favorable weather conditions.
Produces seeds above and below soil surface
Aside from nutlets, nutsedge also produces seeds through its flowers. Its fast-growing and seed-abundant qualities make it hard to control with one treatment per season alone.
Tough and overwintering nutlets
The nutlets in the soil can survive harsh weather conditions like frost and sprout again for the next growing season.
Their seeds are like time bombs waiting for moisture and sun to pop and spread new seeds.
Due to the persistence of nutsedge and its nature in spreading seeds, sadly no pulling and pre-emergent solution can fully eradicate it.
It requires continuous application of post-emergent herbicides, the right season in applying them, and cultural practices to prevent them from coming back.
How To Get Rid of Nutsedge: 9 Solutions & Best Practices?
Nutsedge is a weed that you’ll surely meet every growing season. Learning how to get rid of nutsedge through the following steps is crucial to control their spread and at least get rid of them within a season or two.
Pro Tip: Using herbicides against nutsedge is not enough to keep them off completely. You have to ensure that you also prevent creating a conducive environment for them to grow.
#1 Apply Post-Emergent Herbicide Routinely
Chemical herbicides are the most effective way to get rid of nutsedge in a short time.
Oftentimes, gardeners and homeowners alike notice that the nutsedge eventually show signs of drought stress and health decline within 24 hours after herbicide application.
The best herbicides to control nutsedge are brands that include any of the active ingredients below.
Not all weed killers will work on nutsedge so make to use those that have any of the following:
- 2, 4-D
Check out the most recommended nutsedge killer brands by most professional gardeners and homeowners that contain the active ingredients mentioned above.
Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns Ready-To-Spray
Ortho Nutsedge Killer is by far the easiest selective post-emergent herbicide to use on your lawn. It is packed in a hose-end spray that you can easily attach to your hose during application.
Its active ingredient is 0.05% of Sulfentrazone and does not harm the grass if applied based on instructions. Gardeners often see results within 2 days after application.
You can use Ortho Nutsedge Killer for the following varieties of grass:
Cool Season Grasses
- Creeping bentgrass
- Fine & Tall fescue
- Perennial ryegrass
- Kentucky bluegrass.
- Rough bluegrass.
Warm Season Grasses
- Seashore paspalum.
- St. Augustinegrass.
Note: Do not overapply this herbicide to your lawn to avoid harming the grass.
Tenacity Turf Herbicide
Tenacity is probably the next go-to weed killer of gardeners next to glyphosate.
It is equally potent as glyphosate but it is not regulated and can be used as often as needed based on label instructions.
Many people favor this herbicide for its pre-emergence and post-emergence weed control which is not possible for other brands except Bonide.
Tenacity’s active ingredient is 40% mesotrione. It is a selective herbicide that targets tough weeds like crabgrass and nimbleweed along with nutsedge.
Don’t expect that it will dry off the weeds within a day because it is a slow but sure solution for your nutsedge problems.
The following grass varieties are sensitive to Tenacity and may experience temporary chlorosis or whitening on your lawn:
- Poa annua.
- Seashore paspalum.
Note: Use spot check in some parts of your lawn to see if your lawn is healthy enough to avoid any injuries.
Sedgehammer Plus Turf Herbicide
Sedgehammer, by the name itself, is made for controlling sedges like yellow and purple nutsedge.
It is a selective post-emergent herbicide that has the active ingredient Halosulfuron-methyl. It comes in a small packet that you need to mix with water to apply to your lawn.
Mots gardeners see results 3 to 7 days after application of this herbicide. The following grass varieties can tolerate Sedgehammer without suffering any injuries:
- Creeping bentgrass.
- Fine fescue.
- Perennial ryegrass.
- Kentucky bluegrass.
- Tall fescue.
- Seashore paspalum.
- St. Augustine grass.
It may look small but each packet can make a gallon of weed killer for your lawn.
The good thing with its packaging is you no longer need to measure the solution and just mix one packet with water.
Bonide Sedge Ender Weed Killer
Bonide Sedge Ender is another pre and post-emergent selective herbicide that comes in a pint per bottle.
It is a direct competitor of Tenacity but more specialized in controlling sedges. It has Sulfentrazone, Prodiamine, and 2, 4D as active ingredients and can be used in both warm and cool season grass.
Gardeners who fail to see results from using other herbicides found Bonide more effective in killing nutsedge. However, following the instructions is necessary since mixing it too strong can damage your lawn.
Also, conduct a spot test first before applying the solution throughout to avoid expensive damages.
Image Kills Nutsedge Concentrate
Though unpopular to most homeowners, Image is also another good option. However, it works slower than others but will surely eliminate the persistent nutsedge in your lawn.
If you don’t mind waiting 4 days to a week to see results, this herbicide can work for you. However, make sure to conduct a spot treatment first to see if it will damage your grass.
A bottle of Image concentrate can treat up to 6,000 sq. ft. lawn. So, if you have a big lot to cover, this brand can do the work, plus a little bit of patience to wait for the results.
Dismiss Turf Herbicide
If you are frustrated with both persistent nutsedge and herbicides that don’t work, an industrial-grade herbicide like Dismiss might be your lifesaver.
It is a bit pricey but can surely work for eradicating the nutsedge infestation. It is a non-selective herbicide with an active ingredient sulfentrazone.
The bottle is small but you should not be discouraged because it can treat up to 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn. Other than the broadcast lawn treatment, you can also use Dismiss as a spot treatment for emerging nutsedge.
#2 Spot Treat Persistent Nutsedge
If you find no luck in using selective herbicides, you may use non-selective herbicides to spot and treat the tough nutsedges in your garden.
Simply dilute the non-selective herbicide like Dismiss (for example) with water and add a dye to mark the areas that you’ve already treated. Place the solution in a spray bottle and spray it directly at the base of the nutsedge.
Spot treatments may not thoroughly kill the nutlets underground but it will surely prevent the nutsedge from developing flowers ad seeds above the soil surface.
#3 Core Aeration
After treating the lawn and eradicating the pesky weeds, it’s about time you improve the soil quality of your lawn. Weeds love growing on poor and compacted soil.
During the early spring season, let the soil breathe by core aerating it using a tow-behind tiller or cultivator.
Loosening the soil can also help encourage grass growth and prevent creating a conducive environment for weeds to grow.
You might also like: What Does Lime Do For Grass & Is it Important?
#4 Repair Leaky Faucets and Sprinklers
If there’s moisture, there’s nutsedge. Aside from improving soil structure, moisture is the fuel that activates the nutlets in the ground.
So, try to check on sprinklers and dripping spigots to prevent excess moisture and prevent weed growth.
#5 Regrade and Improve Lawn Drainage
Low terrain in lawns can either cause muddy areas or a pool of nutsedge threatening your lawngrass.
Before considering expensive weed management, consider re-grading your lawn to prevent the rainwater from pooling in. You can also set up a french drain to improve lawn drainage.
#6 Improve Grass Health
Learning how to get rid of nutsedge is not only limited to using chemicals. It also involves boosting the plant health of your desired plants and grass so they can compete well with the weeds and prevent them from spreading.
As much as possible, keep the grass thick and seed every bald patch before weeds take over.
When planning on placing a new grass variety, sod or plant, make sure that the soil that comes with the plant has no nutlets buried in them.
The last thing you want to happen is to bring another weed problem with your hands reach.
#7 Limit Watering Routine
Some gardeners leave their sprinklers open for an hour or two to soak the lawn. While that can help the grass stay hydrated throughout the day, there are some cases where it can become too much.
One to two hours are the average time but if you have a nutsedge problem, you may want to lessen it to 45 minutes to an hour.
#8 Pick The First Few Sprouts
Established nutsedge should no longer be cut or pulled out from the soil because it’s almost useless. The nutlets will take over which will just waste your time and efforts.
However, young nutsedge sprouts have not developed enough root systems to grow nutlets and are still viable for pulling.
Picking them up as they sprout from the lawn can help control their population and prevent adding a new batch of nutlets to the ground.
#9 Keep The Grass High
According to the University of California, nutsedge doesn’t like shade.
To prevent them from spreading across your lawn, you must keep the grass tall by placing your mower at its highest setting.
The grass blades’ height and thickness will add to the shade and discourage the nutlets’ development in the nutlets in the ground.
We hope that this post gave you an idea of how you’ll start your quest in getting rid of nutsedge.
They may seem impossible to get rid of but match their persistence when it comes to weed control and you’ll have a better chance of eradicating them in your garden for good.
If you find this post helpful, please don’t forget to share it with your friends. Save them from the frustration of pulling the never-ending weeds and teach them the right way to deal with these tiny but persistent lawn invaders.
Working smart trumps working hard when it comes to nutsedge.