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Getting the Edge on Yellow Nutsedge

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

There is nothing funny about yellow nutsedge. Also known as yellow nutgrass, this wet-soil weed was introduced as a tuber crop by New World colonists and now spreads like a rash from the Canadian border all the way to South America. Only Montana and Wyoming seem to have been spared. The weed grows from tubers and seeds, which germinate in late spring and early summer to infest your lawn.

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Yellow nutsedge is a warm-season, perennial weed that can grow over two feet tall. You'll see the plants, with erect, triangular shaped, yellow-green leaves, sprouting in your lawn by July or August. While many of these weeds won't last through more than one harsh winter, the tubers have been known to live below ground for 10 or more years.

Controlling Yellow Nutsedge in Your Lawn

You may get away with hand-pulling the weeds from your lawn if you spot them early in the growth season and get them out by the roots. Once it's mature, yellow nutsedge will probably snap off at the soil level, leaving the roots to produce fresh shoots and tubers.

Even with herbicides, this pernicious weed can find a way to re-emerge next year, or the year after. For best results, target herbicide use before the growing season.

In professional settings like agribusiness or golf course maintenance, lawn-care professionals use bentazon and halosulfuron to kill off yellow nutsedge, but it can take multiple applications. Homeowners can buy pre-emergent herbicides like Pennant (for turfgrass or ornamental plants) or Basagran T/O, Daconate 6 for cool-season grasses.

If you have a Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, or Zoysia grass lawn, try metolachlor as a pre-emergent or bentazon, halosulfuron or imazaquin as post-emergent herbicide treatments.

To rid yourself of this pest, you need to strike early and be persistent.


American Lawns

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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