Proper weed control in your yard can make the difference between a lawn that thrives or a lawn that struggles to grow. Damaging effects of weeds often include dehydrated lawns, nutrient-deficient plants, bare or thinning spots of grass, and even an uptick in the presence of lawn pests. Nutsedge is a specific type of weed that has become increasingly prevalent across lawns in Kansas, which is why Heartland Turf & Landscape wants to make sure your yard is ready to defend itself against this harmful and invasive intruder.
What Is Nutsedge?
Nutsedge, also known as nutgrass and watergrass, is a common perennial weed that quickly grows very tall among regular turfgrass. Though there are several different types of nutsedge plants, yellow nutsedge is becoming one of the most common weeds in Kansas due to its similar appearance to turfgrass, which makes its presence difficult to detect and treat.
How To Identify Nutsedge
Yellow nutsedge grows leaves that resemble regular blades of turfgrass. While yellow nutsedge can be difficult to differentiate from healthy grass, close examination will discover a lighter color than the surrounding blades of grass, typically appearing to be more yellow. Nutsedge will also grow much quicker than turfgrass, meaning that clusters of “grass” that are much taller than the surrounding grass could be a good indicator of nutsedge. You will also notice a thistle-like flower at the end of a mature nutsedge plant.
As indicated by the name, nutsedge is actually a true sedge, which is a type of grass-like plant that has a few distinct characteristics from other weeds. The stems of sedges are solid rather than hollow and they do not include nodes. The most easily identifiable difference is the triangular stems of sedges. If you are ever unsure whether you are seeing nutsedge among similar-looking grass, you can roll your fingers over the stem of the grass in question. If it is a nutsedge, you will feel three distinct edges that are not present on regular turfgrass.
Conditions For Nutsedge Growth
Nutsedge thrives in warm weather and grows mostly in mid-summer. Climates that often produce damp or wet conditions are a breeding ground for nutsedge. A lawn that has drainage issues will be more susceptible to a nutsedge infestation because a consistently moist lawn is the ideal environment for nutsedge growth. Garden beds with low-growing plants and flowers may also invite nutsedge growth because of the lack of shade coverage that would deter the nutsedge plants from thriving.
Ways To Control Nutsedge
Nutsedge weeds are notoriously difficult to control, especially once they have already emerged and started to spread. Unfortunately, typical weed control products are unable to control nutsedge; pre-emergent and post-emergent broadleaf treatments are not effective for pesky nutsedge weeds. There are certain mixtures and solutions that have been proven effective against nutsedge, but they must be applied properly or your lawn could be severely damaged.
At Heartland Turf & Landscape, we want to make sure we take care of your nutsedge problem while still maintaining the general health of your lawn. There are products in stores that are designed specifically for the treatment of nutsedge, but the chemicals in them are often very harsh on your lawn. Overuse of these chemicals can quickly kill your lawn, and it can be difficult to gauge whether you are using the proper amounts in the fight against nutsedge.
Our technicians have developed a chemical treatment for removing nutsedge that has proven to be very successful for Kansas lawns. In addition to this treatment, there are a variety of other methods and preventive measures we can assist you with that can drastically reduce the growth and spread of the dreaded nutsedge.
Our Two-Step Program
Other lawn care companies and enthusiasts can utilize products that contain chemicals, such as sulfentrazone and halosulfuron, that are effective against sedges. However, a lack of experience with these products can easily lead to burned turf and unhealthy yards that will invite a host of additional issues. To avoid this, we have developed the perfect mixture that is both safe and effective. Treatments of our special solution will be applied in a two-step approach: once to kill the majority of the sprouted plants, and a second time to kill any new budding nutsedge that was previously lying dormant.
It is crucial to remember that you typically can NOT remove mature nutsedge by pulling it out by hand. While persistent pulling of immature nutsedge can eventually weaken or even prevent further growth, the vast majority of situations will only be worsened by pulling nutsedge. The nutsedge plants have storage systems, known as tubers, that grow underground. Once the plant has developed these tubers, pulling the nutsedge will only result in the tubers “activating” and sprouting more plants. If you have nutsedge growing in your lawn, the best defense is to enroll in our two-step program today, and let us take care of everything!
Additional strategies to get rid of Nutsedge
Nutsedge thrives in lawns that have poor drainage. Standing water and turf that is constantly damp are indicators of poor drainage on your lawn. Several factors can lead to poor drainage, but the most common cause is compacted soil. To prevent improper drainage due to compacted soil, you may want to consider core aeration. Our aeration service will help your lawn drain and improve the overall health of your lawn.
Avoid Mowing Low
Making sure your lawn is mowed at a proper height is always an important step to take in maintaining healthy turf, and it is especially helpful in preventing the spread of nutsedge. Mowing too low will stimulate the growth of nutsedge, but mowing too high can also be harmful to your lawn. Consider our weekly mowing service in order to prevent nutsedge and other harmful effects of improper mowing practices.
Replant Garden Beds
Shade can be an effective deterrent against nutsedge growth, as the plant needs warmth and sunlight to grow. If you have a garden bed that is heavily affected by nutsedge, your yard could benefit from replanting the bed with thick plants and tall shrubbery that will block sunlight from the nutsedge plants. Our garden maintenance service would be a great place to start!
Mulch With Landscape Fabric
Mulching alone is an ineffective way to control nutsedge because the sharp ends of the leaves can easily poke up through the mulch coverage. If a thick, non-woven landscape fabric is used underneath mulch, coverage will be much more extensive and detrimental to nutsedge growth. Ask us how our mulch installation service can help defend your property from nutsedge and other weeds.