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Managing Nutsedge in Turf

Also known as nutgrass, nutsedge is a problem in turf because it grows faster, has a more upright growth habit, and is a lighter greenish yellow color than most grass species, resulting in a nonuniform turf. It seeks out the moist, poorly drained sections of your lawn or garden. It’s important to note that nutsedge presence is typically a sign of overwatering or a leaky sprinkler.

What does nutsedge look like

Although it looks like grass, the leaves are thicker and stiffer than most grasses and are arranged in sets of three at their base. The stems are solid verses hollow. It’s generally tough to control because it grows rapidly from tiny tubers that form on the roots into mature plants in just weeks. Buds on the tubers sprout and grow to form new plants and eventually form patches that can range up to ten feet or more in diameter.

How to manage nutsedge

The weed dies back in the fall when temperatures start falling, but the tubers survive in the soil and sprout the following spring once soil temperatures remain above 40-50 degrees. The best way to manage nutsedge is to prevent the establishment of the weed in the first place. This can be done by removing small plants before they develop tubers (before they develop 5 to 6 leaves). Removing as much of the plant as possible will force the tuber to produce a new plant, drawing its energy reserves from tuber production to the production of new leaves. Eventually, it will run out of stored energy and die out. You may also treat with a post-emergent herbicide as you pull them out to prevent regrowth. A solid natural lawn care routine will serve as your first defense against weeds like nutsedge. Our experts are happy to assist and answer any questions you may have regarding weed control! See our lawncare calendar for the best time to spray for grassy weeds!


  • Type: Grassy weed
  • Appearance: Leaves are grass like and yellow-green, while the spiky head is purple or yellow.
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Where it grows: Prefers shady and very moist areas
  • Reproduces by: Tubers, or underground stems
  • How to prevent: Pre-emergent herbicide in early spring
  • How to remove: Pull out when plants are still young to prevent spreading and treat with post-emergent herbicide