Control of Yellow Nutsedge

Yellow Nutsedge

The wet weather this spring and summer has produced a bumper crop of weeds in many lawns and gardens. One weed that has prospered 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 hot summer months. It is often found in wet or poorly drained soils.

Control of yellow nutsedge is difficult. Herbicides are generally not effective. Normally, the best way for home gardeners to control a small infestation of yellow nutsedge in the lawn or garden is by hand pulling. Plants do pull easily. Persistence, however, is required. When yellow nutsedge plants are pulled, some of the underground nutlets 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.

This article originally appeared in the July 17, 1998 issue, p. 96.

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