Yellow nutsedge is a relatively common problem in lawns, especially in wet years or in lawns with irrigation. Although it looks like a grass, it is actually a sedge -- which can be hard to control. This segment looks at several ways to get rid of this weed.

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Controlling Yellow Nutsedge in the Lawn

This tall looking grass is a weed, called yellow nutsedge. It grows much more rapidly than tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. It’s dark green here, but it often has a bright yellow color.

One way that you can tell yellow nutsedge from grass, is that it has a three-ranked appearance. The leaves will come off in three directions, unlike grass, which has two directions. And the stem is triangular shaped.

The yellow nutsedge will come into a yard from seed. Once it’s established in the yard like this, it produces little nuts under the ground. They’ll reproduce from those nuts as well.

With a few small plants like this, you may be able to control yellow nutsedge by pulling it. But as you pull it, you’ll stimulate the nuts that are under the ground, and they’re going to come up. So, you’ll be pulling the yellow nutsedge in this area for a long time until you can achieve good control.

The best prevention from yellow nutsedge, and from many weeds that germinate from seed, is to have a thick, healthy turf. The best chemical control is a product called SedgeHammer. With SedgeHammer, it’s important to add a surfactant or spreader-sticker, because the leaves on the yellow nutsedge are very waxy. If you spray herbicide or water with herbicide, the water will bead up and roll off of the leaves, which won’t leave a good control of the yellow nutsedge.

Typically, you’ll see yellow nutsedge populated in low areas, where it’s wet, but it’s not a very low area here. Yellow nutsedge can grow anywhere, but it prefers moist, wet soils. Yellow nutsedge is perennial weed, and it will stay here. It may die back in the winter, but it will continue to grow until we control the weed.

This feature story prepared with Rodney St.John, former Kansas State University Research and Extension Turfgrass Specialist. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

Note: Brand names appearing in this publication are for product identification purposes only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

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