Nutsedge is an aggressive weed that can cause trouble for your lawn. They most often escape control because they’re not like weed grasses or broadleaf weeds that are targeted by most weed killers. These perennial weeds are sedges that come back year after year and reproduce in ways that complicate their control. Nutsedge makes itself known during periods of rapid summer growth as it out competes heat-challenged lawn grass for water and nutrients.
The bright yellow-green leaves of yellow nutsedge and the dark green leaves of purple nutsedge stand out against turf. When left to grow tall nutsedges produce distinctive spiky flower clusters, being yellow-brown for yellow nutsedge and purple-brown for purple nutsedge. The identifying feature for these difficult weeds is their triangular stems, while grass had round stems. Shiny, smooth nutsedge leaves have a distinct center rib and form a “V” shape.
Nutsedge outbreaks often start in moist, poorly drained areas, where they quickly develop into large colonies. Their extensive root systems may reach up to 4 feet deep. Once established these weeds can tolerate drought.
Nutsedge can spread and reproduce in several ways. Plants may flower and release seeds that germinate and sprout into new plants. These weeds also spread underground stems, known as rhizomes which send up shoots that become new plants. The most prolific means of nutsedge reproduction is through underground tubers known as “nutlets”. Yellow nutsedge rhizomes only produce single nutlets, but purple nutsedge rhizomes produce rows of nutlet tubers along their length. Even so, one yellow nutsedge plant can produce thousands of nutlets each year, which can eventually produce nutsedge patches several feet wide. Most nutlets form within 6-10 inches of the surface, but they may reach 18 inches deep. These depths protect nutlets from the effects of many common herbicides and cold winter weather that might otherwise kill them. Nutlets may survive hidden deep in soil for up to 10 years before emerging to produce new nutsedge plants. When they appear, the tough sprouts can pierce through thick mulches and landscape fabrics.
By practicing good lawn care basics, you can protect against nutsedge invasions and give your grass an advantage over these aggressive weed pests. Healthy grass is an excellent defense against nutsedge. Take steps to correct low-lying, poorly drained areas and avoid overwatering. Instead of frequent shallow irrigation, irrigate deeply and infrequently. This supports deep, healthy grass roots and enhances resilience. Nutsedge thrives in complicated soil, so aerate your lawn as needed. Mow your lawn at the recommended height for your grass type. Mowing too short can stress turf grasses and encourage nutsedge growth.
If you already have nutsedge then effective control calls for products designed to overcome the unique challenges of these difficult weeds. Reach out to a Palm Coast Pest Control representative for a sedge treatment today!