Control Nutsedge Organically
by Alec McClennan, on August 10, 2020
Have you noticed a shiny green "grass" that grows faster than the rest of your lawn and sticks out like a sore thumb? Does it look like the image above? If so, it's actually not a grass. It's a sedge, Nutsedge. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of this plant, is its triangular stem.
What is a Sedge Doing in Your Lawn?
Sedges are plants that are typically best adapted to growing in poorly-drained and tight swamp soils. I usually see Nutsedge at its worst when an area is overly saturated or there is Compacted Soil.
How to Control Nutsedge in Your Lawn
There is no perfect organic method for killing Nutsedge in your lawn, other than pulling them very carefully when they're just starting to sprout in the Spring. Do this when the soil is moist and you can work to get the entire root including the little nutlet (you'll know it when you see it). If you don't get the entire root, the Nutsedge will continuously return. However, if you can pull a majority of it effectively, and have healthy strong competitive grasses that you mow nice and high, pulling is one place to start.
Treating Nutsedge (the symptom) with Chemicals
There are chemicals available to kill Nutsedge without killing your grass. When you use a chemical it's important to remember that you're not doing anything to address the real cause of the problem, you're just treating the symptom, which is the Nutsedge. Some chemicals suppress it, while others are more effective at killing it. If you're going to use a chemical, you might as well use one that has a better chance at killing it. While there are a multitude of options available, Sedgehammer is the product we are most familiar with and has been around a long time.
Don't Treat the Symptom, Treat the Cause
When you use a chemical, you're treating the symptom of the problem, the Nutsedge, and not doing anything to address the root cause of the problem. The true issue is poor soil that holds water for extended periods of time. The best way to start to eliminate Nutsedge organically is to eliminate the conditions that are causing it to thrive, which are moist and compacted soil.
It's possible that you might need to physically put drain pipes in your lawn to help with congested water. We've also had success doing multiple applications of our product Liquid Aerator to help improve the drainage and allow the soil to better circulate air and water. It's not an instant fix by any means, but we've seen a gradual decrease in the Nutsedge level where we've done multiple applications over the course of a few seasons. I would recommend 2-3 treatments in the Spring and another 2-3 in the Fall. Alternatively, you can sign up for our Liquid Aeration service and we will come and professionally aerate your lawn.
Thicken Your Lawn
The best defense against any type of weed is a thick healthy lawn. In addition to improving your soil and it's drainage, you might want to consider overseeding or Slice Seeding to thicken up your lawn. Adding better quality grass seed will help your lawn look better, stay greener, and need less water than the older grasses that likely populate your lawn now. Call or email us if you have any questions we can help you with.