Zac Reicher, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University
Every year at this time, a light-green to yellow grass-like weed called yellow nutsedge (sometimes called yellow nutgrass) begins to emerge in thin turf areas, especially next to sidewalks and drives. A distinguishing feature of yellow nutsedge is the triangular shaped stem. Yellow nutsedge emerges from tubers in the soil that may stay dormant for many years and germinate multiple times within a given year. Because of this, yellow nutsedge is tough to control. The best way to control yellow nutsedge is to prevent it from germinating by maintaining a thick, healthy lawn. If only a few nutsedge plants are present in your lawn, try pulling by hand. Herbicides may be needed for larger patches of nutsedge. Products containing MSMA or DSMA can be used to control yellow nutsedge. Be sure to follow the label with these products because if used improperly, significant turf damage may result. A second application one week after the first application is necessary and more applications may be needed to completely control the problem. Professionals can use products containing either bentazon (Basagran) or halosulfuron (Manage) and you may want to consider hiring a professional for controlling nutsedge. Regardless of who does it and the herbicide used, multiple applications are necessary, and it may take a number of years to completely control yellow nutsedge. For more information, refer to AGRY-98-04, "Yellow Nutsedge Control".
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