During the late spring and summer months, nutsedge proves to be the lawn’s worst enemy. Even the most meticulous lawn maintenance plan can be affected by nutsedge patches. Nutsedge is a perennial plant that superficially resembles grass and is found in landscaped and turf areas. It grows faster than most turf grasses and follows the same upward growth pattern.
Nutsedge thrives in wet, full-sun sections of a yard. A patch of nutsedge can be an indicator for poor drainage. Nutsedge can grow to be over three feet high if left uncut, and its root system can be as deep as 8 to 14 inches below the soil surface.
Nutsedge gets its name from the tubers or “nuts” that grow on the root system. These tubers are the reason it is so difficult to control the growth of nutsedge.
Signature Landscape Account Manager, Steve Wolzen advises to not pull the plants. “When a plant is pulled from the ground, the ‘nuts’ will fall off and be redistributed throughout the soil and create new plants.”
Since nutsedge is a perennial plant, pre-emergent herbicides are not effective in controlling it. Plant specific herbicides, like SedgeHammer® and Dismiss® turf herbicides are effective in attacking and controlling the growth of nutsedge. If the nutsedge is well-established, it will usually take multiple applications.
When using an herbicide, it’s important to leave the plants undisturbed to give the product time to penetrate the entire plant, including the root system and tubers. It’s best to apply it after the plant has reached the three-leaf stage, but you want to make sure to treat it before it has the opportunity to seed.
The trouble with getting rid of nutsedge is ensuring that the roots die off in addition to the leaves and flowering stalks. Plants with deep, well-established roots will survive through the winter and sprout in the early summer.
Tips to Save Your Turf
It looks like the brutal summer that we’re used to has arrived early this year! Here are some things you should consider to save your turf should the heat and lack of precipitation continue.
Water! Even if your grass has turned brown, continue watering a couple of times a week. It’s ok to let your grass go dormant, but if it continues to be dry, water every 10 days or so to keep it from dying. If you decide to reduce or eliminate your watering, think about the cost of rebuilding your lawn. While your water bills will probably be higher than you’ve seen in a long time, watering may be less expensive than rebuilding your lawn this fall.
Aerate and overseed this fall. Stress, like the heat and lack of moisture, can cause thinning which makes room for weeds. Aeration improves the soil contact and ensures the success of overseeding. Like all living things, your grass requires air, food and water. Aeration opens up the surface of the soil and helps the oxygen, nutrients and water reach the roots.