Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Nutsedge Grass

Nutsedge, also called nutgrass, is an aggressive weed that often plagues lawns in the wet seasons like we have been in. There are several different varieties of nutsedge, and they're all perennial weeds in the sedge family that regrow each year and reproduce in a manner that makes them difficult to manage.

Nutsedge outbreaks often start in moist, poorly drained lawn 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, but grow best in the damp areas of the lawn.

Identifying Nutsedge:
Shape- Nutsedge weeds, like all sedges (grasslike plants), have a triangular stem that can be felt in your hands. The stem of the sedge feels like it has 3 sides or 3 points, much like a triangle.

"Sandspurs" - Many Floridians mistake these weeds for sandspurs, because of their green spiky flowers that resemble sandspurs. However, they are not sharp and are soft enough to crush between your fingertips. True sandspurs are brown and very tough on fingers.

Roots- Nutsedge has roots, called rhizomes, that can reach 8-14 inches below ground. Rhizomes will grow horizontally under the soil and emerge out of the soil to form a new sedge plant. This means multiple sedges may be connected by one series of rhizomes.

How to control nutsedge:
First, and this is very important - Don’t pull it.  Most of the time pulling nutsedge doesn’t work because it has two nuts attached to the roots.  You can pull up the first one but if you don’t get the second one, and you almost never can get it, you usually end up with it splitting and getting even more nutsedge.  In fact, nutsedge reminds me of the stories of fishermen who tried to get rid of starfish by cutting them up and throwing them back in the sea.  What happens when you cut up starfish?  The pieces each turn into a starfish and you end up with a lot more starfish.  That’s pretty much what happens when you pull nutsedge in Gainesville landscapes

In terms of how to get rid of nutsedge, you will need to implement specialty post-emergent control products. These products are specifically targeted to nutsedge and won’t damage the rest of your grass. Sesgehammer and Pro-Sedge are two of the most common - but during the rainy season just can bairly stunt the growth.

Due to its hardiness and the fact that it grows rapidly, nutsedge will require repeated controls to knock back. And even when you successfully achieve this in one season, it may return.

This is why it’s important that nutsedge control is part of an ongoing and comprehensive weed control program. You simply can’t let your guard down with a persistent weed like nutsedge.

If you come across a Gainesville Lawn Weed, please don't hesitate to let us know if we can help. Contact our office at (352) 378-5296 and one of our technicians would be glad to assist you!