Quick Tip: Is Nutsedge Driving you NUTS?

When we have record-breaking rain in Gainesville, Florida we usually find that a few things really like the conditions.  This summer it has been nutsedge which must love the flooding rains because we’re seeing a large crop of it in lawns this year.  It is so prolific that our phones are ringing with people asking what it is and how to they get rid of it.  Perhaps you’ve seen some in your lawn this year?  

Nutsedge is a dark-green leafed weed that looks a lot like grass that is sticking straight up.  Typically, it grows taller than most Gainesville lawn trufgrasses so it becomes very obvious a couple days after mowing. But nutsedge isn’t a grass, even though it can be mistaken for a grassy weed.  This often confuses other lawn pest control technicians because they treat it with a grassy weed product  instead of a sedge control product.  If you look closely at, or feel nutsedge, you’ll notice the leaf isn’t flat, its triangular – that’s what makes it different from a grassy weeds, grassy weeds have flat bladed leaves. Another way to recognize one family of the nutsedge is that the Globe Nutsedge and Kyliinga have a soft sandspur-looking seed (see photo below for example).

Not all Sedges have this seed, but it's a common question we get: Can you treat for sandspurs in my Gainesville lawn? And in reality they're just a Globe sedge.

How to you get rid of 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 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 fisherman 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.

If you can’t pull nutsedge (and grassy weed killer doesn’t work) what do you do?  You still have to kill it, right?  Actually wrong.  There is no product that will actually kill nutsedge.  They will turn it brown and stunt it but most of it will come back the following year.   If you’re treating on your own, you can find a product called Image which can be used both in your lawn and your landscape.  Image is very slow and will need at least a couple of treatments but it is effective in stunting the nutsedge's growth. This product can typically be found at home improvement stores. 

At The Master's Lawn Care, we treat our client's lawns with a product not available to the public called Halosulfuron. It can only be used in lawns but it works much more quickly than Image.  It won’t kill the nutsedge but the product stunts it so the next time you cut the lawn, it won’t pop back up above the grass which is the thing that makes nutsedge so annoying.  I call it a magic trick – we can make it disappear for a year but eventually the magic wears off and it will come back.

So the bad news nutsedge is definitely going nuts this year.  The good news is if it is driving you nuts, we can make it go away for you (for a while.)

If you have questions or need help, give us a call at (352) 378-LAWN or email us at info@themasterslawncare.com. We are here to help with Gainesville Lawn Maintenance, Lawn Fertilization & Spraying, Landscape Rennovation and Improvements, and Irrigation repairs too.