University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System: Water Quality and the Home Landscape

Controlling yellow nutsedge

By Pamm Cooper, Turf Program Educator


Yellow nutsedge is a troublesome weed often found in home lawns that have been built on former farm lands. It is identified by its yellow- to light-green leaves and small underground nutlets ( tubers ), as well as by the solid triangular stems unique to sedges.  This plant spreads by underground rhizomes as well as by tuber development.


Typically, yellow nutsedge is more of a problem during the summer than during spring or fall in our region. Under hot summer weather, cool-season lawn grasses of the Northeast slow down their growth or even go dormant during the heat of summer, and any nutsedge existing in those areas will dominate the lawn since it can withstand summer conditions better than the cool-season turfgrasses. During the summer, yellow nutsedge leaves will grow taller than the leaves of the slower-growing cool-season lawn grasses, providing a stark contrast to the finer textured, dark green desirable grasses.  When the cool-season turfgrasses are actively growing, the nutsedge is not as evident, although it still may be present.

For control options, the first approach for managing nutsedge should emphasize practices that produce healthy turf – proper fertilizing, watering, mowing, etc. If a dense stand of turf is maintained, yellow nutsedge is harder pressed to compete with it. One method of control, especially if only a few yellow nutsedge plants are present, is to pull them out by hand. Try to get the underground nutlets, and as much of the rhizomes as possible. Watering the area first may make it easier to pull them out.  It is necessary to check these areas several weeks later to make sure no new plants are starting to grow back.  As they reappear, pull them out. It may take some time to eliminate them this way, but it is one way to try to avoid applications of herbicides.

If hand- pulling is just not practical, herbicides can be considered.  Usually one application will not provide adequate control. Timing may improve success. The best time to apply herbicides to nutsedges is when the plants are young and actively growing, in late spring to early summer. A repeat application may be needed. Look for new plants arising from rhizomes beneath the ground, and treat these.

Sedges are neither a grass nor a broadleaf plant, which in the past was the problem with herbicide control, as none existed specifically for sedges. Fortunately, however, there are new products coming out which are specifically designed for sedge control. Check with your local UConn Cooperative Extension System Office, or the UConn Home and Garden Education Center for herbicide recommendations.


Cooperative Extension Work In Agriculture and Home Economics, State of Indiana, Purdue University and U.S. Department of Agriculture



For more information contact:

UConn Home And Garden Center- 

ph: 860-486-6271

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