The Q&A Archives: Nut Grass in my Lawn

Question: I have a thick green grass called by some people nut grass growing in my lawn. It has a deep root that when you pull completely out looks like a small round root. I've pulled it out completely with the whole rootball and hair roots and it pops up fully grown in less than a week. I started with about a tenth of my lawn area covered with this nut grass, and it has now covered half my lawn. It dies in the winter buy comes back early spring. What do you recommend?

Answer: You have a tenacious weed called nutsedge. Although often called nutgrass, it is not truly a grass. Nutsedge is a water-loving relative of reeds and its appearance in a lawn is often a sign of overwatering or poor drainage. Correct these problems to help control it. Nutsedge becomes a persistent weed once it gets a start spreading underground by rhizomes, as well as small nut-like tubers that establish new plants when you pull out the main plant. The best organic method is to continue to pull the plants, every 2-3 days, removing every visible crown or stem. If you pull them out as soon as they are visible, the plants will use up all their underground stored carbohydrates as they try to grow new aboveground stems. The more you pull them, the more they use up their energy reserves. Eventually, you get ahead and the stand of weeds dies out. If you slip up and allow some of the crowns and stems to reach full size, they again start storing food and energy to return.

If you choose to use an herbicide, you might consider glyphosate sold under several brand labels. It can be used on nutsedge with good success, but it will also kill your lawn if just sprayed over the top. Some people paint the glyphosate by hand onto the
nutsedge plants which will kill just the stems you paint with herbicide. You must again be persistent as new stems will keep popping up until you get ahead of the weed and wipe it out.

There are other products available labeled specifically for control of
nutsedge in lawns, but they will like take multiple applications also. With any herbicide, read the label carefully for instructions and application rates.

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