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Dealing With Yellow Nutsedge In Your Lawn

How To Prevent It & How To Deal With It

If you have ever noticed yellow nutsedge in your lawn, you probably know that it is a troublesome weed that is difficult to control. Usually spotted in turf areas, it is also known by the names chufa, nutgrass or watergrass.

However, what is important to note and remember is that dealing with yellow nutsedge is only done right once you understand the purpose of this specific weed. Speaking of, the nutsedge is not a grass or broadleaf weed – it is actually a sedge. So, understanding its biology makes it easier know how to best control it.

Today, we are going in and fully exploring the yellow nutsedge as well as recommending the best ways to deal with it, control it and see the optimal chemical management options for homeowners.

Identifying Yellow Nutsedge And Its Life Cycle

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Yellow nutsedge is a common lawn and garden weed in Pennsylvania. It is not actually a grass but more like a sedge – which is evident in the stem that is triangular and not round (as in grasses). The leaves of yellow nutsedge are bright green and have a waxy appearance. This plant grows faster than many lawn grasses which is why it is often noticed when it outgrows the surrounding grass.

For all of you who don’t know or are not sure what is yellow nutsedge, it is basically a perennial plant that reproduces by small underground tubers – called nutlets – which form at the end stems called rhizomes. This is also a single plant that can produce several hundred of the tubers during the summer, and spread by rhizomes. Yellow nutsedge also produces a seed head when it is not mowed but its seeds don’t germinate often.

This weed actively grows during the heat of the summer, mostly when the cool-season turf grows more slowly. The yellow nutsedge emerges in late April or May (which is a few weeks after crabgrass germinates) and grows until the first frost in autumn. A frost in cases like these kills the plant’s aboveground portion but the tubers in it usually survive and overwinter in the soil.

Meanwhile, dormant yellow nutsedge tubers can also germinate and emerge throughout the following season – or even survive in the soil for more than three years.

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Yellow Nutsedge: Damage & Management

Nutsedges are a common problem for lawns because they grow faster and have a more upright growth habit and a lighter green color compared to most grass species. This results in a nonuniform turf. In gardens as well as landscapes, nutsedges will emerge through bark or rock mulches, vegetable and flower beds as well as shrub plantings.

The best approach for avoiding the common nutsedge problems is preventing the establishment of this weed in the first place. Once it is established, the nutsedge plants are very difficult to control.

The best way to prevent their establishment is by removing small plants but also getting to learn more about herbicides, see which ones you can use and see how to eliminate the wet conditions that favor nutsedge growth. In addition to this, you can reduce the nutsedge populations by drying, shading as well as using properly timed herbicide applications.

Below, we are expanding on these points.

When is yellow nutsedge most noticeable?

The yellow nutsedge weed is most noticeable in summer mostly because of its leaves which grow more rapidly than the turf during the hot summer months. In spring and fall (cooler seasons), nutsedge growth is slower and not as easy to spot as turf.

The best way to identify yellow nutsedge in summer is by the triangular shape of its item which can be easily felt by rolling the stem in the palm of your hand and fingertips. The leaves of this weed are arranged in groups of three (three-ranked) which distinguishes them from grasses. Regarding their color, they are light green to yellowish and each one of them has a long and tapered tip. Each leaf also has a midrib section with a slick, shiny or waxy appearance.

Even though a lot of grasses have actual hairs on the leaf blades, that is not the case with yellow nutsedge.

How to Remove And/Or Control Yellow Nutsedge In Your Lawn

Knowing that yellow nutsedge is problematic – and especially problematic in turf that is mown too short – it is a plant that thrives in areas where soils remain moist due to poor drainage and/or overwatering. However, this plant can also cause problems in well-drained areas and especially thin turf.

Therefore, the best yellow nutsedge control strategy is to actually grow a healthy, dense and vigorous stand of turf that can compete with weeds. The dense turf stand are best established by following the proper turf maintenance practices such as fall fertilization, proper irrigation, frequent mowing and overseeding.

What many homeowners don’t know is that the most problematic yellow nutsedge often appears in the turf that is mown too short – as well as areas where the soils remain moist due to poor drainage and/or overwatering. However, yellow nutsedge can also grow in well-drained areas.

Why Hand Pulling Yellow Nutsedge Doesn’t Work

If there are only a few yellow nutsedge plants present, hand pulling them won’t actually remove them completely.

Even though this practice eliminates the weeds, it won’t remove the tubers in the soil. This is why you need to continuously check the area and see if the plants have regrown from the tubers.

Ideally, yellow nutsedge in landscape beds can be removed by removing the entire plant (along with its root) by digging around the plant’s base. This will help you prevent any regrowth from the underground rhizomes in the plant.

Using Herbicides For Yellow Nutsedge: Optimal Control

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Homeowners know that yellow nutsedge is difficult to control weed which requires multiple herbicide applications and ideally, follow-up applications if needed. The best way to control yellow nutsedge is in the late spring and early summer months. During the early growth stages, it has not started producing tubers and is most susceptible to control with herbicides.

When large patches of nutsedge are present in the turf, you may want to consider using herbicides. The truth is, traditional herbicides used to control weeds like dandelions or crabgrass are often ineffective.

Instead, the best herbicides for yellow nutsedge are the ones that contain halosulfuron or sulfentrazone – both of which are recommended for optimal yellow nutsedge control. So, as the summer progresses, it is important to control nutsedge plants and prevent the forming of seedheads and tubers. Since these are the plants’ primary survival structure elements, it is very critical to control nutsedge early in the summer right before the heat season begins.

Before using any herbicide for yellow nutsedge control, it is important that you:

  1. Read the directions on the product label
  2. Do not mow the lawn one or two days before or after the herbicide application
  3. Treat the area with a proper rate of herbicide and volume of water listed on the product label
  4. Six to ten weeks after this application, repeat the second and third step of this list if your yellow nutsedge has recovered or regrown from tubers

When it comes to time, two to three years of control are enough for using herbicides. This way, you can reduce viable tubers in the soil by 90%. The herbicide applications will injure the growing plants and prevent nutsedge from forming.

The Best Yellow Nutsedge Control Strategies For Pest Management

Below, we are listing some of the best strategies for nutsedge control including ones for lawns, planting beds and organic strategies.

In Lawns

  • Pulling the plants when they are young can give you temporary control – If you pull the young nutsedge plants in late spring to early summer, you can prevent the formation of new tubers mid summer through fall. However, as we said above, hand pulling does not remove the underground nutlets so it is not a definitive cure. Mowing high, aerating and fertilizing in the fall can all help the grass better compete with nutsedge which is why you must remove plants in the lawn and adjacent areas before they go to seed.
  • Herbicide treatments are needed – Some of the popular herbicides for yellow nutsedge include the names of Ortho Crabgrass & Nutgrass Killer, Basagran and Tenacity. A lot of homeowners praise the Sedgehammer for its optimal control but also its limited availability. In general, two to three applications on every 4-7 days are required to kill the patches of nutsedge. You can spot-treat the areas that have nutsedge but also do follow ups before they begin forming new tubers, which occurs summer through fall.

In Planting Beds

  • Dig plants – First of all, you need to dig plants and remove the underground nutlets. Regular pulling may be necessary to effect control.
  • Spot treatment – You can use a chemical herbicide such as glyphosate for good control and spot treatment. This herbicide will kill the nutsedge plants, root and everything. Since it is nonselective, it may kill or injure most of the plants that it contacts which is why you need to use it with proper care around your desirable plants.
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Stop The Negative Impact Of Nutsedge Weed In Your Lawn!

Yellow nutsedge is a weed and as such, it needs to be properly removed and controlled. If you are new to the concept of weeds, you should know that they have a large negative impact.

Even though not all weeds are harmful, yellow nutsedge is among the harmful ones and is very aggressive and invasive. Without proper control, a lot of common weeds can quickly overtake your home lawn, contribute to allergies as well as be harmful to pets and children.

When nutsedge invades your turf, it will compete with the healthy and desirable grasses for air, water and nutrients. This can also weaken your grass plants, make your lawn more prone to other issues (disease, insect infestation and drought) and take up more space in your lawn.

In addition to these lawn-related effects, weeds can also impact the human health, cause skin irritation in humans and pets and even digestive discomfort. For a lot of consumers, this is a reason enough to keep their outdoor space well maintained and free of any weed growth.

Hire A Yellow Nutsedge Control Expert In Pennsylvania Today

If you are troubled or don’t know how to deal with yellow nutsedge, you are not the only one. However, one smarter solution than going do-it-yourself (DIY) is hiring an expert to help you with nutsedge.

Since these weeds are very aggressive and persistent, you need to be serious about their prevention and control. They can be very difficult to eradicate and the control, in most of the cases, is a long process. Successful control often involves the help of a professional – in this case – a professional turf company in Pennsylvania.

This is where our team at Green Turf Care steps in. Over the years, we have helped a lot of homeowners remove and prevent yellow nutsedge from occurring in their turf, just like a lot of other unwanted weeds. Our team of experts knows how to handle yellow nutsedge, purple nutsedge and all the different types.

We use a combination of cultural, mechanical and chemical control methods that have the best chance of effectively managing nutsedge. Locally owned and operated, Green Turf Care is here to help.

Our specialists can recognize nutsedges and make all the needed recommendations to help your lawn – releasing the fertilizer at the right time to prevent nutsedge as well as using the best herbicides to encourage deep rooting systems that will prevent nutsedges from growing.

Get A FREE Estimate Today And Start Your Effective Lawn Control

In the springtime, every lawn deserves proper feed and care.

If you want to see a lush green color and a beautiful lawn, you definitely need the help of our experts.

For more information on how we can remove yellow nutsedge, prevent problems and help you benefit from a green and healthy lawn, contact us today and get a free and non-obligatory estimate!