Nutsedge: Keep An Eye Out For This Intrusive Plant!

nutsedge growing in a lwan

I am very observant of what is growing in lawns and landscapes in the various regions where I travel and have noticed, that each year, Nutsedge is becoming more prevalent and an increasing challenge to control.

Nutsedge is a perennial plant that increases in numbers every year. A single plant has the ability to produce several hundred tubers, or nutlets every year. These tubers remain viable for 3 years or more in the soil. Each plant also produces underground root structures called rhizomes, which allows the plant to spread each year throughout a lawn or landscape.

In residential lawns, there are two types of this plant, Purple and Yellow. They get their names from the color of their seed heads.

Nutsedge can be found in both cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses. They can spread rapidly from just one plant and quickly overtake desired turf, resulting in an unkempt appearance. It grows much faster than desired turfgrasses.

This picture was taken two days after this turf was mowed. You can easily see how it already is growing much higher than the surrounding grasses. Even if you pull out each individual plant by hand, new plants will quickly re-grow from the tubers and the problem continues.

nutsedge growing in your yard

Controlling it often requires specialized weed control products that will eliminate both the top growth as well as the underground vegetative plant parts. There are several products that are labelled to control Nutsedge, but it can take a year or more to eradicate this troublesome weed.

If you have a small patch, you may be able to limit its spread by continually pulling up any new growth, but if you let it go too long, it will quickly re-establish itself.

Spring is the best time to begin controlling this plant since by mid-June, it is already producing new tubers that will lead to more plants. 

3 Fun Facts about Nutsedge

  1. The botanical name for Nutsedge, Cyprerus esculentus, translates to “abundant edible sedge” and was cultivated in Egypt around 400 BC and is still cultivated in parts of Spain.
  2. Pigs find their starchy tuber to be a delicious treat.
  3. The tubers of most Nutsedge are edible. Yellow Nutsedge has an almond-like flavor and can be eaten raw or roasted.

Facts were found online from Ohio State University.

If Nutsedge is a problem in your lawn, contact your local neighborhood Spring-Green.