Last Chance for Nutsedge

Nutsedge is starting to overtake many Texas lawns.

This stuff is the cockroaches of gardening. It’s the weed you find almost impossible to eradicate. And treatment time is screeching to a halt. Let me give you the facts.

It’s a sedge, not a true grass. All grasses have round stems. Roll a piece of bermuda or Johnsongrass between your index finger and thumb. It’s going to be round.

Roll a stem of nutsedge the same way and you’ll feel a triangle. That’s the way you can always tell grasses from sedges.

You can see how nutsedge gets its name from the small nut-like growths in its root system. Photo courtesy of the USDA Extension Service.

Therefore grass killers aren’t very effective on nutsedge.

Two herbicides are specifically for control of nutsedge: Sedgehammer and the original Image.

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Both of these must be applied while the sedge is growing actively. Image requires two treatments 30 days apart. It is recommended that both treatments be made between May 15 and September 15. That means that the first of the two should be made by August 15. Hmm. Date of today’s e-gardens? August 15. Better get it done in the next few days. You do have that much leeway.

Read and follow label directions carefully, especially regarding watering the products into the soil.

Be patient. These herbicides are slow-acting. You’ll notice that the nutsedge plants disappear gradually, but you will notice improvement.

Yes, you may have to retreat next year. But you’ll be making progress.

It’s a shame this awful weed is kinda pretty. Or, in better terms: It’s a shame this kinda pretty weed is so awful.

• And to anyone who thinks they’ll just dig nutsedge out by hand – good luck with that process. The little nutlets invariably break off allowing the weed to spread freely. I’ve never been able to get digging to work for me.

If you’re just not interested in using herbicides at all, your only other viable option would be to use a weed-blocking fabric to cover the area for 2-3 years so that you could eventually shade it out.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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