How to Control the Growth of Nutgrass
Nutgrass is perennial weedy sedge in the genus Cyperus that is often mistaken for a grass. Also called nutsedge, it is a nuisance in turfgrass when its shiny leaves and fast growth rate disrupts the otherwise uniform texture of a lawn. The invasive nature of nutsedge may cause it to destroy the appearance of a flower bed.
Nutsedge may spread by seed or by underground stems called rhizomes. Each plant is attached to a tuberous bulb-like structure often called a nut or nutlet.
Under optimal conditions, a tuber can give rise to as many as 7,000 new nutlets annually. Somewhat like a potato, each nut has five or more “eyes,” with each eye having the ability to produce a new shoot.
A single nutsedge plant may produce up to 90,000 seeds every year. Half of these new seeds may have the ability to grow into a plant.
How to control the growth of nutgrass or nutsedge
Despite limitations, hand pulling is the most effective and immediate control.You may be able to use its biology against nutsedge. The plant does not grow well in shade. A layer of cardboard mulch may shade out some nutsedge in beds.
To ensure proper tuber-germination moist environment needs to be maintained. Any water introduced to the tuber in early spring will break down a suppressive chemical in its skin and allow the weed to come out of dormancy.
Early spring cultivation is likely to expose the nutlets to the surface where they can be destroyed by heat and drought.
Pre-emergent herbicides with the active ingredient metolachlor are labeled for nutsedge control. Metolachlor can be applied safely over warm season turfgrass but may damage fescue and ryegrass.
You should not over-seed your lawn with a desirable grass within four months before the use of metolachlor or the new seed may be inhibited. An advise of an expert landscape chemical applicator would be even better.
Post emergent herbicide formulations with the active ingredient halosulfuron may be applied early during the three leaf stage. Halosulfuron is active when sprayed on foliage but not as useful as a soil applied product. Herbicides with the active ingredient imazaquin are readily taken up through the soil via the roots of nutsedge.
You must always read and follow all the label instructions while applying herbicides with specific reference to the limitations on the amount and frequency of their use. It will take several applications to ultimately exhaust the resources in the nutsedge tuber. Be certain to read and follow all label directions.
Metolachlor and imazaquin are less specific in their mode of action than halosulfuron and may damage desirable ornamentals or grasses.
Nutsedge weed generally recover by putting on new growth from the unaffected eyes of the nutlet. Once it has foliage up above the soil line, it can resume the production of new reserves. This new growth would only be visible after three to four weeks subsequent to the treatment, therefore it is best to re-treat on about every three to four week intervals until the plant no longer recovers.
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