How to Get Rid of Nutsedge (Nutgrass)

Nutsedge, also called nutgrass, grows as a weed in lawns, pastures, and crop fields. The smooth-stemmed plant produces clusters of spiked grasslike flowers. It is most commonly found in damp soils. There are many methods to get rid of Nutsedge, some organic and some not so organic. Understanding nutsedge will help you recognize it when you see it to know if you have a problem with this weed in your own garden or lawn. We will discuss various methods of getting rid of this weed in this guide.

What is a Nutsedge and how do you recognize it in your lawn?

Nutsedge or nutgrass (Cyperus rotundus) is a troublesome weed that is commonly found in yards, gardens, and fields. It grows almost anywhere there is standing water, especially during the summer months.

The weed usually germinates in late spring and grows quickly in warm weather. It also produces multiple seeds after blooming, which allows it to regrow year after year.

Nutsedge is a perennial weed. While slightly palatable to livestock, the real problem with this weed is the way it spreads. When you have Nutsedge in your lawn, you have hundreds of tiny seeds per plant. Every time you mow the grass to remove the weeds, these seeds fly through the grass and land elsewhere in your lawn. And every spring, they’ll sprout new plants.

In order to identify Nutsedge, look for these identifying features:

  • Triangular stems (the leaf blades grow off the stem at an angle)
  • Shiny yellowish-green leaves
  • Small purple flowers that form at the ends of stems

Why should you get rid of Nutsedge?

There are various reasons you might want to get rid of Nutsedge. The main reason is that it’s a weed, so you don’t want weeds in your garden or lawn.

But beyond that, there are other reasons why you may not like this species:

  • It can be aggressive and spread rapidly through your yard if not well controlled. How fast? The plant spreads by rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) at an impressive rate of up to 32 inches deep and 16 feet wide. That’s pretty fast for a weed.
  • It can grow very tall – some have reported seeing plants as tall as five feet in height! This means the weed will tower over all other vegetation around it, making things look ugly.
  • It’s a very tough plant that can tolerate extreme conditions like drought or flooding, making it difficult to kill.
  • As an annual weed grows fast and produces large amounts of seeds throughout its lifetime, it competes with other plants for nutrients so they won’t grow well next time you plant them there again.

What causes Nutsedge?

What you should know about this plant is that its seeds are very small, which makes them difficult to control. They can easily be blown by the wind or carried with water runoff from one place into another, where they’ll germinate quickly after landing on bare soil.

The tubercles (the “nuts) of Nutsedge also have a tendency to become detached and float away in floodwaters or get transported through irrigation systems like drainage ditches. This means that the whole process becomes even easier because once those little tubers land somewhere else, they’ll start growing immediately without having any need for sunlight: just warm temperature. If left unchecked, these weeds will take over your lawn and garden within no time.

How to Get Rid of Nutsedge in your lawn

Nutsedge is persistent and hard to kill, especially if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. The plant is resistant to many herbicides and has the ability to regenerate from small pieces left behind after digging out large sections. But there are still ways to get rid of this weed without investing too much effort or money into it.

Most people will opt for chemical solutions because they work faster than organic ones (and cost less), but doing so can be harmful both environmentally as well as physically when inhaled/ingested by humans or animals nearby during application. If you want an eco-friendly solution, then try the simple organic methods below.

Method One: Corn Gluten Meal

A by-product of the corn milling process, corn gluten meal has been shown to be an effective pre-emergent weed killer. When applied to the soil, it will prevent Nutsedge from germinating and growing. The only downside is that it must be applied several weeks before the weed begins to grow, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your local weather forecast and plan accordingly.

How to Apply:

Mix 20 lbs of corn gluten meal with 80 gallons of water in a garden sprayer and apply evenly over the entire lawn (or targeted area). Do not mow or irrigate for 24 hours after application.

Repeat every week for three weeks.

Method Two: Cover it up!

Nutsedge is a tough weed to get rid of, especially if you don’t have time on your hands or are trying to be more eco-friendly in your approach. One way we recommend dealing with this problem is by covering the plant completely before pulling it out of the ground so that any pieces left behind aren’t able to grow back into another infestation later down the line (especially if they’re already mature). How can one do that?

Well, simply cover them over with cardboard and then throw some mulch on top; this will help kill off any seedlings while also preventing sunlight from reaching those pesky weeds you’re trying to eradicate.

Be sure to water deeply once every few days so that all nutrients can soak through the cardboard and into the mulch layer underneath before they dry out completely.

Method Three: Solarize it.

One way you can get rid of Nutsedge without having any toxic chemicals in our yard is by solarizing them with plastic sheeting or tarps for a couple of months during summer when temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C) daily – which should kill off most, if not all, weeds growing under those sheets/tarps but still allow some sunlight through so plants don’t die either.

How does this work?

Basically, you’re covering them over with something impermeable like heavy-duty clear vinyl tarpaulins spread thickly over the ground, then weighing it down so that no air or water can get through. The trapped heat and sunlight will then kill off any living weed plants underneath after a few weeks.

Be sure to remove all weeds before you start solarizing; otherwise, they’ll just grow back even stronger.

Method four: Cultural control

Cultural control means using physical barriers or other methods of manipulation to stop the weeds from growing in your garden and lawn. This method is often used with plants like Nutsedge because it’s so hardy that even if you kill off one plant, another will take its place unless you remove all seeds from the soil by hand (which can be time-consuming).

How do we prevent these pesky buggers?

Using mulch around any newly planted flowers and vegetables helps keep them cool during hot temperatures, which prevents seed germination from happening too quickly before roots are established enough to survive competition against other plants nearby – this also keeps moisture levels higher inside soil as well; preventing evaporation rates between watering sessions while blocking sunlight so fewer weed seeds will germinate.

Another way to use cultural control is by planting desirable plants (like garlic or mint) near the weed-infested areas; their strong scents will help deter weed growth while also attracting natural predators that feed on these types of plants.

Finally, using physical barriers like landscape fabric and crushed stone around flower beds and garden plots can help stop weeds from spreading inside those areas – just be sure to remove any barrier once the weeding process is completed so new flowers can grow without obstruction.

Chemical Control

If all else fails, you can always turn to chemical control methods in order to get rid of Nutsedge for good – but this should really be your last resort since most pesticides are harmful to both people and the environment.

Chemical control involves both pre-emergent herbicides and post-emergent herbicides. Pre-emergents should be applied to soil prior to germination and are effective at preventing new plants from growing, while post-emergents are applied after germination has occurred.

How do we go about using these chemicals?

There are a few different types of herbicides that can be used, but most of them come in liquid form and need to be applied directly to the weed’s leaves for best results; make sure you read the labels carefully before use, so you know how much (and when) to apply.

Be aware that some chemical herbicides can also kill off other plants nearby, so it’s important to only treat the affected areas and avoid overspray at all costs.

It’s best if you contact your local nursery or garden center for specific recommendations on which chemical product will work best in eliminating Nutsedge without damaging other plants nearby as well. They’ll be able to give you advice based on what kind of soil type and environmental conditions exist where you live.

Preventing Nutsedge from growing on your lawn

Prevention is the key to stopping this weed from becoming a problem in your lawn. The best way to control Nutsedge is to prevent the weed from becoming established in your lawn or garden in the first place. 

Here are prevention tips that can help you keep these weeds from your lawn:

  • Maintain dense stands of turfgrass in your lawn by following proper maintenance practices, such as mowing at the recommended height for your type of turfgrass species.
  • Fertilize at the recommended rate for your turfgrass species
  • Irrigate at frequent intervals with small amounts of water.
  • Apply a preemergence herbicide before weed seeds germinate.
  • Remove weeds from your lawn when they are small.


We hope that this guide helps you to finally put an end to the problem of Nutsedge in your yard. As you can see, it’s not a difficult weed to get rid of, but it does require some persistence and patience. In the end, though, your efforts will be rewarded with a nutgrass-free yard—and what more could you ask for?