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No Nutsedge Here

Nutsedge is an aggressive weed, that most closely resembles grass. 

If you feel you are constantly fighting this weed to no avail, check out this article by Willa Pettydrove, Solano County Master Gardener, in the Summer 2007 issue of Seeds for Thought newsletter. Click here to read the full article or read on to see an abbreviated version that includes tips for what and what not to do.   

Immature nutsedge

What works   

  • Nutsedge loves water-logged soil so an easy fix is to correct your irrigation and soil drainage problems.
  • Prevent further tubular growth by removing the young nutsedge plants, which will only have five to six leaves. Simply pulling the weeds will work fine, but it is most effective to hoe by hand.
  •  If tubers are present, repeated removal of top growth will help to keep them under control as it is essentially starving the plant. Note that mature tubers (nutsedge with more than six leaves) can resprout as many as 10-12 times! These new sprouts will be weaker than the previous ones but they will gradually work together to resupply themselves unless removed.
  • If a plant is small the best way to remove them is to dig, by hand 8-14 inches deep to remove the whole plant. Remove and destroy any and all tubers (do not put them in your compost!). If you have nutsedge in smaller patches of turf, it is best to dig out a patch that is at least eight inches deep, refill, and then seed or sod the patch.
Left uncontrolled, nutsedge can form patches that spread more than ten feet in diameter.

What won’t work   

  • Using a tiller to destroy mature nutsedge. This technique will only cause the infestation to spread because it moves the tubers around in the soil, allowing them to resprout if they are strong enough. However, repeated tilling in small areas before the nutsedge matures will reduce populations
  • Systemic herbicides, like glyphosate, are a common misplaced effort of destroying the plant but because the herbicides really only touch the leaves, the tuber remain unaffected. Glyphosate might work on the younger plant in which the tubers have not formed.
  • Black plastic mulching won’t do the trick as the sharp, pointy leaves will go right through.

Nutsedge with tuber

   

**A tuber, as defined byMerrium-Webster, is a short fleshy usually underground stem bearing minute scale leaves each of which bears a bud in its axial (where the small stem joins the larger one) and is potentially able to produce a new plant.

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