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Learn Your Lawn: Nutsedge

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Nutsedge is a type of weed that grows in warm and humid climates. It is often referred to as "nutgrass" because of its nut-like tubers, but it is a true sedge and not a grass plant. Sedges are difficult to control because they have a deep root system and seeds that can germinate over a long period of time. Nutsedge is considered a nuisance in lawns, gardens, and agricultural fields because it can outcompete desirable plants for water and nutrients.


There are many different varieties of Nutsedge, but Yellow Nutsedge and Purple Nutsedge are the most common throughout North American lawns. Nutsedges are easy to distinguish because of their growth habit, light green colour, and rapid growth rate, resulting in a non-uniform turf. Nutsedge leaves are thicker and stiffer than most grasses and are arranged in sets of three at the base. Yellow Nutsedge has light brown flowers and seeds, and Purple Nutsedge has reddish flowers and dark brown or black seeds.


Yellow and Purple Nutsedge are perennial plants that usually die back in the fall as the temperatures decrease. The tubers and rhizomes of the plant survive in the soil to sprout the next spring. Tubers are usually situated in the top six inches of the soil and can remain dormant for up to three years before germinating.




An effective way to control small infestations of Nutsedge is by pulling individual plants by hand and repairing these areas with desirable grass seed varieties or sod. If the infestation is larger, other forms of control may be necessary. 

A thick, healthy, well-maintained lawn is always the best line of defense. This can be achieved through beneficial cultural practices, which include:

  • Watering: Deep and infrequent watering is essential for strong plant health and development. A general rule of thumb is to water each area of your lawn for 30-45 minutes, twice per week, in the early morning so the turf is dry by nightfall. 

  • Mowing: Maintain a regular mowing schedule throughout the growing season. In general, you should keep your lawn between 2 ½ and 3 ½ inches high, but during the hottest weeks of summer, you may allow the grass to grow as high as 4 inches. Never remove more than ⅓ of the grass blade at each mowing.

  • Fertilizing: Regular applications of Weed Man’s specially formulated, slow-release granular fertilizer will help provide your lawn with adequate nutrients. These applications are timed specifically to avoid over fertilizing the lawn.

  • Core Aeration and Overseeding: Aerate and overseed annually to fill in bare areas with suitable seed and topsoil and to choke out unwanted grasses and weeds. This will help thicken the turf, so weeds can’t break through, and will improve soil drainage and alleviate soil compaction, allowing water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil.


Your local Weed Man professional will be able to offer other solutions and recommend the best form of treatment that is suitable to improve the conditions of your lawn.