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"Garden Journeys" Video Feature

How to Identify Yellow Nutsedge

Special Topics

Worst Weeds in Landscape Plantings

Yellow Nutsedge - Cyperus esculentus

If left undisturbed, the grass-like leaves of yellow nutsedge can grow two feet tall by the end of June.Also known as nutgrass, yellow nutsedge, at right, is not a true grass, but rather a sedge with a three-sided stem. These distinct stem faces are relatively easy to detect by rolling the stem between your thumb and index fingers, below left.

The stems of yellow nutsedge are triangular in cross section.Unless your property is located next to a wet area where itís native here in Central New York, any nutsedge growing in your landscape was likely introduced in soil or mulch brought onto your property.

Yellow nutsedge rarely reproduces by seed.Nutsedge can reproduce by seed, at right. However, its principle means of reproduction are by tubers produced in late summer at the tips of the current seasonís roots.

What makes this weed difficult to control is that each plant, which are killed by the first frosts of the year, can produce dozens of small tubers, below left at tips of arrows. While most of these tubers will sprout the following spring, some remain in ďstealthĒ mode (i.e., dormant) for several years, thus increasing the chances for the infestationís survival.

Yellow nutsedge reproduces primarily by means of marble-sized tubers that can survive for several years in the soil before sprouting in early spring.The key to controlling this weed, therefore, is to kill it before it starts forming new tubers in July and August. This can be accomplished with a non-selective, glyphosate-containing  herbicide such as Roundup, or simply by uprooting young plants with a diamond hoe.