Nutsedge | If You Wait, It's Too Late

By TruGreen April 24, 2019

With higher soil moisture conditions across many parts of the U.S., you’re probably wondering, "what is that grassy, light green weed sprouting in my yard?" Meet Nutsedge. Nutsedge is a perennial weed that comes in two different species: purple and yellow.  Difficult-to-control perennial weeds like these tend to survive various adverse conditions, and reproduce. Luckily, there are ways to control them that we’re sharing them with you today!

What is Nutsedge?

So what the heck is nutsedge? Nutsedge is a grass-like weed that spreads across your lawn using an underground system of tubers or “nutlets”. This complex system makes the weed difficult to manage as the nutlet allows new weeds to sprout throughout your yard.

This weed grows best in moist conditions that often result from poor drainage, over-watering or excess rainfall. However, they are also able to grow in dry, well-drained areas if the competition from other grasses is limited.

FUN FACT: Typically found in more temperate climates, these perennials sprout after the last frost and remain noticeable throughout the summer.

What's the Difference Between Purple Nutsedge and Yellow Nutsedge?

Well, one is yellow and one is purple. Just kidding! Yellow and Purple nutsedge may look very similar, but there are some key differences between the two. Yellow nutsedge has light green leaves that come to a gradual point, while Purple nutsedge features a darker green leaf that comes to a more abrupt point.

The leaves aren’t the only difference in color: the seed head for Yellow nutsedge is yellowish-brown as compared to the purple to reddish-brown color found in Purple nutsedge.  While Purple nutsedge is not as cold tolerant as its yellow counterpart, it is more difficult to control, in part due to the more complex tuber system connected by rhizomes, which are underground stems that also serve as storage organs.

What's the Difference Between a Sedge and Grass?

These weeds are tricky! Sedge is often mistaken for grassy weeds since they can be difficult to distinguish from turfgrass at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that sedges have triangular stems and three rows of leaves. Their leaves also grow at a much faster rate than lawn grasses during the hot summer weather, making them more noticeable in your yard. If you see these weeds popping up, it might be time to call your TruGreen specialist.

Is Nutsedge Bad for My Lawn?

In short, yes. Nutsedge is able to reproduce using three methods: through the air via seeds and underground via both rhizomes and nutlets. The underground methods make getting rid of nutsedge take some time. The underground systems are better able to survive adverse conditions and re-sprout the following season. The nutlets are also able to lie dormant for months before sprouting and taking off in your yard. Since they are able to spread so easily, once established, it can sometimes take a couple of years to control a heavy sedge population.

How Do I Get Rid of It?

There are a number of things you can do to guard your turfgrass against the sedge population. Creating a healthier, thicker lawn through proper fertilization, aerating and overseeding is the best way to combat sedges. You can also improve drainage and water only as needed to help prevent the sedge population.

DON’T PULL THESE WEEDS: An important thing to keep in mind is to avoid pulling the weed by hand. Doing so will not remove the rhizomes or tubers underground, so it will continue to sprout.

Say Sayonara to Sedge!

The best thing you can do if you suspect that your lawn may have this unwanted visitor is to get in touch with your TruGreen specialist. Professionally selected and applied weed control is necessary for complete removal of sedge. After we apply our specialized sedge control product, you can sit back and relax: avoid mowing right after the application to give the product a chance to move throughout the weed.

Visit or call 866.688.6722 today for more information about all of their lawn maintenance services.

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