How to get rid of nutsedge grass from your lawn

Do you have a nutsedge grass problem? The plant is one of the most difficult weeds you can encounter on your lawn, yard, or garden.

Fortunately, there are several solutions that you can use to get rid of the nutsedge from your property.

The best way to get rid of nutsedge is by using nutsedge grass killer herbicides. chemical herbicides that are designed for nutsedge offer the best results and will take the least effort.

However, if you don’t mind a little bit of work, you can try eradicating the weed mechanically – by hands or using garden tools. The other alternative is to use various natural weed control solutions.

Description and identification of nutsedge grass

Before looking at possible elimination solutions, it’s important to first understand what you are dealing with.

Nutsedge grass (also known as nutgrass) is a perennial plant that comes from the sedge (Cyperaceae) family. It looks like grass, but in reality, it is not.

Nutgrass can be identified by its fast growth rate and hardy nature – it will be standing tall even in summer. It has v-shaped stems, with leaves that branch out in three directions.

nut grass

The leaves are waxy, blade-like, appear creased, and sport prominent mid-veins. They are also light green or yellow in color and stick up from the plant.

Another characteristic of the nutsedge grass is their root system – they develop tubers (nutlets) and rhizomes. These are what make them a nightmare, as they can survive in the soil for a long time.

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They are responsible for sprouting new plants when the conditions are conducive. On top of that, the plant can thrive in nearly all soils and is perennial in nature.

How to control nutsedge grass?

Nutgrass might be hard to kill, but it is possible with the following solutions:

1. Mechanical or manual control

If you are dealing with small patches of nutsedge grass – at the young growth stage – mechanical control is a good solution.

It involves pulling the plant by hand and/or digging it up using gardening tools. This method is also the best solution to get rid of nutsedge in flower beds and gardens.

When pulling the grass, make sure you get the entire plant – including the nutlets, rhizomes, and roots. Failure to do so will leave stressed tubers in the soil, which will only stimulate them to sprout.

Therefore, it is a good idea to use some gardening tools such as a shovel, garden fork, or garden trowel. Dig down a distance of about 18 inches – which is how deep the nutsedge grass-root develops.

2. Using herbicides

Chemical control using post-emergent herbicides is the other solution available for controlling nutgrass. Glysophate products (such as Round-Up) are a popular solution for nutsedge control.

Unfortunately, it is a non-selective nutgrass killer herbicide – which might also kill lawn grass and other plants.

Therefore, you might want to consider looking for a selective nutsedge grass killer if it has invaded your lawn.

Such herbicides include those containing bentazon, imazaquin, and halosulfuron as active ingredients. For example, SedgeHammer herbicide (containing halosulfuron) offers excellent results against nutgrass.

How to get the best results when using herbicides

While herbicides are a great solution, the outcome will largely depend on how you apply the chemical. Below is a look at some tips that can help guarantee maximum effectiveness:

  • Mix the herbicide with a surfactant product to allow it to stick on the waxy leaves.
  • Apply the herbicide when the nutgrass is growing optimally (warm weather and moist soil). This will allow for a deeper absorption than say, for example, when applied in droughty conditions. If possible, water the grass the day before application.
  • Avoid applying the chemical during hot and dry weather. Doing so will lead to faster evaporation of the herbicide, not to mention increase the chances of damaging the lawn grass.
  • Avoid mowing two days before application to ensure there are enough leaves to absorb the chemical. You should also not mow for two or more days after applying the chemical, to allow for ample absorption time.
  • Try applying the herbicide when the weed plants are at a young growth stage. This will minimize plant stress, thus reducing the chance of re-sprouting.
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More often than not, you will need two or more applications to completely kill the nutsedge grass. Therefore, after the first application, monitor the grass for a few days or weeks, then apply again if you notice new sprouts.

3. Using natural weed control measures

Aside from chemical options, it is possible to kill nutgrass naturally using homemade remedies. They are ideal if you don’t like the idea of adding chemicals to your lawn or garden.

nut sedge with grass
Image: Commons/Wikimedia

However, you should note that they are not selective. You should, therefore, use them with caution:

The following are some of the top natural remedies for killing nutgrass:

1. Vinegar

Vinegar contains acetic acid that can burn the leaves of the nutgrass, killing the plant. For the best result, use vinegar with 10% or higher concentration and spray it directly to the nutgrass.

You might need several applications to completely kill the weed.

2. Molasses or sugar

Sugar might seem like an absurd idea, but it is an excellent natural weed solution. It encourages lawn grass and other plants to seek out nitrogen, making them more competitive.

As a result, the weeds lack nitrogen and they’ll die off. You can use granulated sugar (dissolved in water) on your nutgrass, or spray horticultural molasses.

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3. Liquid dish soap

Liquid dish soap is another powerful natural nutgrass killer. It coats the leaves of the plant, interfering with their physiological processes.

It is also a great surfactant, which you can mix with other natural or chemical agents for increased effectiveness.

4. Burning

If your nutgrass is driving you nuts, you can grab a blowtorch and go to work on it. However, the flame will only kill the top growth – not the tubers growing underground.

Therefore, you might want to further dig up the area to remove any root systems left behind.

Say goodbye to nutsedge grass

Nutsedge grass might appear like natural grass, but it is an invasive weed plant.

It is fast-growing, spreading easily through the use of underground tubers. It is also very resilient and can withstand harsh climates, as well as some weed control techniques.

However, with the above solutions, you can be able to get rid of nutgrass from your lawn, yard, or garden. It might take time and several tries, but you can finally say goodbye to the annoying weed plant.

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