Nutsedge Killer (Nutgrass Control)

Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by Grow with Bovees

Lawns grow different kinds of weeds. One of them is yellow nutsedge, which is easily distinguished by its long, slender leaves and a triangular or V-shaped stem. Though they bear flowers, nutsedge weed is not welcome in the garden, and they don’t make any landscape look nice.

Like other weeds, a nutsedge plant is also a nuisance that needs to be taken out of your yard. If you don’t get rid of nutsedge in a timely manner, this weed will eventually form patches that can reach approximately 10 feet in size taking over your entire lawn. 

If you want to know the best way to kill nutsedge or control nutsedge, read this article on nutgrass plants and find out the best way to take away this type of weed.

What is Purple & Yellow Nutsedge Weed?

Before learning how to get rid of nutsedge, let’s get to know what a nutgrass plant is. It isn’t actually grass, it’s a sedge. According to Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center or HGIC, nutsedge is a perennial lawn weed with its own root system that looks like a grass but with a light green color.

It comes in two varieties: yellow green nutsedge and purple nutsedge. As an invader, it infests gardens, lawns, and even your home landscape beds. It thrives in hot weather, which means that it grows a lot during summer. It can also grow on both dry soil and moist soil.

Often referred to as nutgrass, it is the kind of weed that can’t be taken out easily due to its extensive root system below the soil surface. New plants produce tiny tubers called nutlets and underground stems called rhizomes that sprout small plants each with a spiky head growing during warm seasons.

Every new plant can proliferate in patches of at least 10 feet (3.05 m) in diameter above the soil surface, making it difficult to remove from the grass if not treated right away.

This weed can be found in warm season grasses as well as cool season grass.

Ways to Remove or Help Control Nutsedge Plants

Perhaps, the most conventional way to remove and kill nutsedge weeds or other weeds is to pull them out of the grass as soon as they start sprouting.

This method is effective when you have moist soil which is soft enough to let you pull out the entire root system of the weed, including its nutlets and rhizomes to prevent nutgrass from returning. 

If the roots remain in the ground below the grass lawn, it will grow again, at the start of the next growing season and you’re back to square one. Place the pulled weeds into a garbage bag and get rid of it. It will also be helpful if you plant other plants or grasses that can act as weed control against the growth of this pest.

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If you’re looking for other organic ways to get rid of nutsedge, you won’t be able to find any. But there are other methods that are proven to be effective when wanting to control nutsedge. Combining these methods is said to be the most effective in nutgrass plant removal as suggested by the HGIC.

Cultural Method to Kill Nutsedge In Your Lawn

This control method is basic as it follows the recommended practices in managing the lawn grasses. It includes mowing the grass lawn at the proper height of 2.5 inches (6.35 cm), applying the right amount of lawn fertilizer at the proper time, and maintaining the right soil pH.

For prevention and maintenance mow high to let the grass crowd out the weed, this way you can control nutsedge depending on your turf type. Mowing short stimulates nutsedge to spread.

It is also important to have proper irrigation and ensure that it’s done with precision and timing. If the soil is too moist, it becomes a thriving spot for nutsedge weeds to grow. Insect infestations should also be monitored to prevent bare areas from becoming a nutsedge territory.

Additionally, make sure that lawn tools and equipment are thoroughly cleaned, too. Nutlets and rhizomes may remain in the tools, and that can cause this perennial weed to spread once they are used again. Remember, they can thrive in topsoil and can survive for many years, so clean your equipment after using them.

Mechanical Method Of Aggressive Weed Control

The mechanical method to kill nutsedge refers to the elimination of small individual nutsedge plants by digging in your grass lawn. You can control the growth of and kill nutsedge by digging at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) below the ground and eight to ten inches from the nutgrass plants’ leafy part on the topsoil.

Doing this removes the growing tubers and rhizomes. If possible, start digging early in the spring when the climate becomes ideal for tubers to be produced. It is best to cut this grassy weed before they grow. Unfortunately, a weed root removal tool such as a garden trowel, will not help much with this problem, due to the depth that you need to dig to eliminate the and kill nutsedge.

Chemical Method — Use Nutsedge Killer

If the first two methods don’t work to get rid of nutsedge, then you can resort to using chemical control with the help of a post emergent herbicide. 

A selective herbicide works well in managing different weed species, but you need to identify the type of nutsedge plant to get rid of to make it effective. But make sure to read the instructions of the selective herbicide and check the pesticide if it can damage other desirable plants in your grass lawn or flower beds. 

For your reference, here are the most common chemicals present in herbicides.

  • Bentazon – formulated to use on bermudagrass, centipedegrass, fescue, Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass, and other types of turfgrasses. Avoid applying this chemical on newly grown turfs until they have matured. To ensure its effectiveness, don’t expose it to any source of water, like sprinklers and rainfall, within eight hours of application.
  • Halosulfuron – effective in getting rid of purple and yellow nutsedges. When using herbicides with halosulfuron, you need to apply two teaspoons of nonionic surfactant in every gallon of water. Spray the solution to the weeds and repeat it in three to four weeks to complete the treatment.
  • Imazaquin – recommended application on lawns made of bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. After applying the solution to the lawn weeds, treat them with 1.5 inches of irrigation to wash this chemical to the roots. Do the same treatment in three to five weeks to see the desired results.
  • Sulfentrazone – acts faster on nutsedge weeds, but a second application may be necessary for complete treatment.
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Control Nutsedge in the Vegetable Garden

According to an article published on OSE.edu (The Ohio State University), nutsedge tubers are edible but only if you cultivate them as a food crop. If not, then nutsedge will not be a serious problem for your vegetable gardens.

In case your garden has a nutsedge infestation, don’t use herbicides just yet. The chemicals may contaminate the vegetables that you’ll be eating. Instead, utilize cultural control methods to kill nutsedge and remove this resilient weed without damaging the vegetables.

Here are some things you can do to keep nutsedge away from your vegetable gardens.

1: Pulling out of Nutsedge Weeds Every Two Weeks

It is best if you do it before every plant grows out six leaves. The reproduction of nutsedge is through its underground tubers. If you wait too long to pull the entire plant out, the removal of tubers from soil becomes more difficult to do.

A University of California research reveals that a nutsedge tuber exerts 60 percent of its energy to develop another plant. It means that regular weeding eventually results in the decrease of nutsedge in your vegetable bed and other landscape beds.

2: Avoid Flooding Your Garden with Water

Watering shrubs is a common practice. But if you notice nutsedge growing between your vegetables, reduce the amount of water you give to your plants. Irrigate when the vegetable you cultivate needs irrigation. Nutgrass thrives on moist and wet soil, so make sure that you don’t over water your shrubs’ soil and ensure that you don’t have poorly drained sections in your garden.

3: Treat Your Garden with Liquid Horticultural Molasses

SFGATE also suggests using this treatment on invaders appearing outside the mulched area. All you have to do is create a mixture of water and liquid horticultural molasses. Combine 1/4 to half a cup of molasses and a gallon of water, you can use a backpack sprayer or spray bottle to help make this task easier. 

Gardening experts say that two or three applications of the light mist mixture will kill nutgrass in your garden beds and lawn.

4: Use Landscape Fabric

This tip is a bit technical, but it yields impressive results in getting rid of nutsedge. With that said, landscape weed barrier fabric is a flexible sheet that is made from woven fibers or polypropylene polymer.

It is usually referred to as a ground cover, which means you use it to cover the vegetable garden. This obviously needs to be done before any planting takes place.

Using landscape fabric to eradicate nutsedge varies in its ability to suppress the invaders from growing. University trials have revealed that non woven ground covers work better than woven fabrics.

Newly developed weeds can’t punch through the fibers’ tangled mat, (as they can with regular plastic mulch) blocking their growth, which results in killing the weeds. Based on a university trial, Dupont Typar 307 and 312 were the most effective in managing the nutsedge.

5: Mow Grass High Rather Than Short

Mowing your lawn too short will actually stimulate the growth of this grass like weed, so make sure that you mow the grass high.

6: Regular Use of Good Quality Weed and Feed

Using a quality weed and feed product on your lawn on a regular basis will help established lawns to crowd out the unwanted nutsedge in your lawn. Check out our post here discussing when is the right time to use weed and feed on your lawn.

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Top Products for Removing Nutsedge In Lawn

You don’t have to stress yourself too much when it comes to controlling the nutsedge in your lawn. There are reliable products that you can try to help you remove and kill nutgrass weeds from your lawn. 

For your guidance, here are three of the best products to kill nutgrass.

1. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

An organic weed killer made from corn, the OMRI-listed Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer can eliminate and control all kinds of unwanted weeds on your lawn within a few hours. 

It is formulated with 20 percent acetic acid, which is one of the active ingredients and is four times stronger than normal household vinegar. Aside from nutsedge weeds, you can also use it to get rid of crabgrass, clover weeds, dandelions, moss, and white clovers, to name a few, although with dandelions, using a dandelion puller may yield better results.

Application: Apply directly on the weeds or to the areas where you don’t want undesirable shrubs to thrive.

Pros:

  • fast-working product
  • eliminates different kinds of weeds
  • no toxic chemicals
  • safe for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial uses
  • no formulating needed; can be used directly from the container
  • has very good reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • harmful on humans; keep out of children’s reach
  • dangerous on domestic animals
  • corrosive; can damage walls, patios, and floors

2. Dr. Earth Organic & Natural Final Stop Weed & Grass Killer

Like the first product, Dr. Earth Organic & Natural Final Stop Weed & Grass Killer is also OMRI listed, which means that it is used for organic gardening. It contains essential oils that don’t only get rid of weeds but also kill insects on your crops. It doesn’t have glyphosate and synthetic ingredients, making it plant-friendly.

Application: The best way to use this product is to apply it to the light green weeds early in the morning or when the sun goes down. It is to avoid leaf burns. You can also use it a day before harvesting your fruits and vegetables. But before using this product, it is advised to test it first on discrete areas to check if it causes surface discoloration.

Pros:

  • made of essential oils
  • no synthetic ingredients
  • kills plant pests
  • can be used before harvesting day

Cons:

  • can’t be used any time of the day
  • average quality
  • may not be used directly

3. Bonide Burnout Weed Killer

Designed to kill all kinds of growing weeds, Bonide Burnout Weed Killer is pet safe, so you can use it around humans and pets. When it dries after application, it becomes waterproof; it is still working under the rain. It doesn’t translocate, and it works during cold weather up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 °C).

Application: This product is ready to use. You don’t have to mix it with water. It comes with a nozzle that makes the application convenient. Just remember to read the instructions carefully.

Pros:

Cons:

  • average quality
  • application may be done repeatedly
  • can damage stone drives

Conclusion of What Kills A Tough Weed Like Nutgrass

We hope that this has helped you to decide the best way to control your nutsedge problem. Although it is a tough weed to control, with the best nutsedge killer, it’s not impossible. Good luck!