The Q&A Archives: how to exterminate weeds

Question: Is there a way to rid a vegetable garden of nut grass?. I've heard you can use round-up. Is this true?

Answer: Nutsedges get their name from the underground tubers that resemble some sort of nuts. These tubers are what allow these plants to be perennial. As if the top of the plant isn't annoying enough, the below-ground portion of the plant is downright aggressive. The plant produces a profusion of underground stems, each of which produces a small tuber at the end.

If you are feeling energetic and decide to pull out the nutsedge, you'll find it comes out no sweat, but what usually happens is the top of the plant separates from a tuber that quickly grows a new shoot. Physiologically, the tuber uses up 60% of its reserves to produce that first flush of growth, so in theory you could just keep pulling it out and in the process bulk up some very obscure back and arm muscles.

If pulling weeds is too much work, you can try spraying. A product called SledgeHammer (formerly Manage) is available that will kill sedges but not hurt turf grasses. Many gardeners also find they have problems with nutsedges in their flower beds and vegetable gardens. This is much harder to deal with. Sprays with non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate can help early on in the plant's growth. Glyphosate (Round Up) is a non-selective herbicide so don't use it around your veggies. Wait until you've harvested your veggies and then apply the product. Or, you could sieve the tubers out of the soil.

Good luck with your project!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by cocoajuno and is called "Here's looking at you."