Controlling Yellow Nutsedge in your Lawn
Identifying Yellow Nutsedge
Yellow Nutsedge also referred to as "Water Grass," is a perennial "grass like" weed that plagues many lawns. Although it looks like a grass, it is actually a sedge. Sedges are plants that share some similar traits to grasses but there are a few distinct differences. Sedges do not have leaf hairs like many grasses. Because their leaves are more waxy and smooth they can actually shed a lot of the chemicals that are meant to kill grasses. Their leaves will appear in groups of three coming to a singular sheath and they have a very distinct feel to the leaves. If you look at a cross-section of the leaves you will notice they have a very prominent "V" shape. You can also feel this if you were to pull up a single group of them it will have a very blocky or angular feel. They reproduce through a root underground that will produce a small "Nutlet." This nutlet will stay active in the soil for a number of seasons, protecting it from harsh conditions like drought or freezing. If they are allowed to get tall enough they can reproduce by seed, which is distinctly different from other grasses.
Early in the season, it can be difficult to distinguish Nutsedge from the regular lawn grass blades. As the season progresses the difference becomes more apparent. Usually, a day after mowing the lawn you will notice a lot of pale green leaves growing up above the rest of the lawn. There are other weeds that will do this as well, but remember, Sedge will have three leaves coming out from a central point. It will also tend to be more prominent in areas of the lawn that have excess water.
Controlling Yellow Nutsedge
If you're reading an article like this, then you are more than likely looking for a way to get rid of it. Left unchecked, this is a weed that will take over an area within one season. Because it is a grass-like weed, typical weed controls won't do anything to it, so you will need to use a specific weed killer. The best method for control of Nutsedge is a product called Sedge Ender. This chemical is specifically designed to kill Sedge, as well as a number of other grassy weeds. You only want to use this product as a spot spray application as it can cause damage to the desirable grass. It will usually take two to three applications to get full control of Nutsedge in your lawn. After these three applications, you will want to monitor the lawn for any stragglers. You may see new plants the following year, as any of the Nutlets that may have been left behind may sprout new plants. Because Sedge Ender also works as a pre-emergent, you can't reseed/sod your lawn for about three months after applying this. So, if you are looking to overseed the lawn in the fall you won't want to use this.