When given the topic of “What’s the Deal with Nutsedge?,” I found that I was asking myself the same thing… What actually is the deal with it? I didn’t know what it was, what it looked like, if it had a peculiar smell or not, or even where it grows. After some research and long conversations with David Jones, our Pharmacy expert and knowledgeable horticulturalist, I now know that I do NOT want this in my lawn!
Nutsedge is a perennial plant, often called ‘nutgrass,’ for its close resemblance to various grasses. However, it grows about two to four inches above the turf canopy and can easily be distinguishable if you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few tips to help you spot the problem:
• Because of its height and yellowish color, it is noticeable by look if your lawn hasn’t been cut recently. For freshly cut your lawns, look for the following key differences between Nutsedge and your lawn:
• Its stem is triangular as opposed to flat or hollow. Rub the stem between your fingers and you’ll be able to feel the difference.
• Its leaves are thicker and stiffer than grass and are arranged in groups of three at the base in comparison to a single shoot or blade of grass.
• Correct identification is important for proper treatment and prevention!
Nutsedge takes over your lawn by small underground tubulars, or nutlets. A single tubular can produce up to several hundred new tubulars in a summer season, and up to 1,900 new plants and 7,000 new tubulars in a single year. Now you can see why this perennial is a pesky one to control!
It thrives in warm weather and in soil that is low in calcium and low in oxygen. Moisture also plays a big part in its growth. I know that the temperatures outside have been beyond brutal recently, and who doesn’t want the best-looking lawn on the block? But, watering your lawn too frequently can cause this weed to pop up and grow uncontrollably.
These tubulars can grow up to 14 inches below the ground surface. This is why hand pulling is ineffective. Hand pulling actually worsens the problem, because the plant breaks, leaving the nutlets in the ground, and spreads even more.
Mix Bonide Sedge Ender with water and spray it directly onto the problem plant. It will not harm your lawn and begins to work on contact. It is rainproof and kills the toughest weeds down to the root. Apply when the plant is actively growing and about two to three inches high. You’ll need to apply this twice to best control. The second application should be done 60 days after the first.
I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, and there is a bright side to every story, right?! Well, readers, I do have a bright side for you. Believe it or not, the nutlets that cause your lawn such grief are actually edible! Yes, you are reading that correctly, you can eat them. In fact, they are often called “earth almond.” This is, of course, before you spray or treat the plant
But, more importantly, you need to control this weed problem the correct way before it takes over your entire lawn. If you have any questions or need some guidance, stop in and one of our knowledgeable lawn and garden team members will be more than happy to help you crack this pesky lawn problem!
Jessie Tanski | Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator
David Jones | Horticulturist, Arborist, & Customer Service Specialist