Ever see this weed before?
Or, how about this one?
I’m guessing the answer to both questions is Yes! Although it is somewhat a trick question, because they are both the same weed….Yellow Nutsedge. This pesky weed is starting to show its ugly mug early this year. This weed will be found in both your planting beds and lawn. And, if you have it in your mulch bed, it is probably the easiest weed to pull. It pulls out very easy and can be controlled by Round Up if you choose. What I want to focus on today however is what to do if you have it in your lawn. Here is a background on the pest!
Yellow nutsedge is a perennial weed that appears within turf, and Landscape beds. This weed spreads during the spring and fall through underground stems called rhizomes. You can identify yellow nutsedge by rolling the stem in your hand. If the stem feels triangular in shape and waxy, you may have yellow nutsedge infesting your lawn. It is important to get rid of this weed, because it reduces sunlight, air circulation and soil nutrients that your grass needs.
Although nutsedges resemble grasses and often are referred to as “nutgrass,” they aren’t grasses but are true sedges. Their leaves are thicker and stiffer than most grasses and are arranged in sets of three at their base; grass leaves grow across from each other in sets of two. Nutsedge stems are solid, and in cross section they are triangular; grass stems are hollow and round, and in cross section they are almost flat or oval.
Nutsedge has three long, leaflike bracts at the base of each flower head. Yellow nutsedge has light brown flowers and seeds, while purple nutsedge flowers have a reddish tinge and the seeds are dark brown or black.
Yellow and purple nutsedges produce tubers, which are incorrectly called “nuts” or “nutlets,” thus the origin of their common name. The plants produce these tubers on rhizomes or underground stems, that grow as deep as 8 to 14 inches below the soil surface. Buds on the tubers sprout and grow to form new plants and eventually form patches that can range up to 10 feet or more in diameter.
Yellow nutsedge produces round, smooth, brown or black tubers that can be up to 1/2 inch at maturity. Only a single tuber forms at the end of a rhizome, and the tubers have a pleasant almond taste.
Yellow and purple nutsedges are perennial plants. Their leaves and flowering stalks generally die back in fall as temperatures decrease, but tubers and rhizomes survive in the soil and sprout the following spring once soil temperatures remain higher than 43°F for yellow nutsedge and higher than 59°F for purple nutsedge.
The majority of tubers occur in the top 6 inches of soil where they can survive for 1 to 3 years. In field crops, research indicates most nutsedges sprout from tubers, and seeds don’t contribute much to the spread of the plant; however, no work has been done to examine the role of seed in the spread of nutsedge in the landscape.
Nutsedges are a problem in lawns because they grow faster, have a more upright growth habit, and are a lighter green color than most grass species, resulting in a nonuniform turf. In gardens and landscapes, nutsedges will emerge through bark or rock mulches in shrub plantings and vegetable and flower beds throughout the growing season.
If you are interested in learning how to eradicate this weed from your lawn, give Showcase a call and we can give you some recommendations. Or, we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate to take care of the problem for you!