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Horticulture and Home Pest News
Horticulture & Home Pest News is filled with articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology.

Control of Yellow Nutsedge

This article was published originally on 7/29/2009

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Weeds are a common problem in lawns and gardens.  One commonly encountered weed, especially in wet years, is yellow nutsedge.

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is a warm-season perennial.  It is not a grass nor a broadleaf weed, but a sedge.  The grass-like leaves are light green to yellowish in color and shiny in appearance.  Yellow nutsedge is an erect plant.  The stem near ground level is triangular.  The leaves come off the stem in sets of threes.  Yellow nutsedge reproduces by seed and small underground tubers called nutlets.  Flowers are yellowish or yellowish brown and are borne on small spikelets.  Yellow nutsedge grows most rapidly during the warm summer months.  It is often found in wet or poorly drained soils.
Control of yellow nutsedge is difficult.  The best way for home gardeners to control small infestations of yellow nutsedge in gardens is by hand pulling.  Pull plants before they have the opportunity to produce seeds.  Persistence will be required.  When yellow nutsedge plants are pulled, some of the nutlets may break off and remain in the soil.  Eventually the nutlets sprout and the plants reappear.  If pulled repeatedly, however, it is possible to control yellow nutsedge in gardens.  In lawns, yellow nutsedge can be controlled with herbicides.  Effective herbicides include Certainty (sulfosulfuron) and Dismiss (sulfentrazone).  These materials are generally not available to home gardeners.  However, the herbicides can be applied by professional lawn care companies.
 
Yellow nutsedge in lawn.Yellow nutsedge in lawn.