Nutsedge: Yellow or Purple?

Are you seeing yellow/greenish or purple grass among your healthy green grass? As the dog days of summer continue your lawn could be sprouting this perennial weed. Although it seems to disappear in the fall, the underground tubers responsible for sending up shoots, survive most winters only to re-grow in late spring and summer.

Yellow nutsedge has yellow flowers and seed heads and the purple variety has dark brown or black seeds and dark flowers. Both varieties invade home lawns across the country every summer and don’t fade away until the arrival of cold weather.

Yellow and Purple Nutsedge. Courtesy of NC State.

Seeing the seemingly overnight arrival of this nuisance weed, most homeowners simply reach down and pull out the plant. Satisfied that the weed is gone they are surprised when in only a day or two another shoot has appeared in precisely the same location. Unlike other weeds, nutsedge grows from underground tubers. Safely surviving in the top six inches of soil, when one above ground plant is pulled, tubers send up a replacement to fill the void.  So unless you are able to pull out the weed when it is young and has not established tubers, pulling out nutsedge amounts to little more than exercise.

The fact is, nutsedge is NOT grass. Often called nut grass, it is actually a sedge plant. While grasses grow in a rolled or folded configuration in the bud, sedges are triangular in the bud. Pull up a weed; roll it in your fingers and you’ll quickly feel the triangular shape.

Is there a control for severe cases of nutsedge? Yes. If your lawn has been invaded by yellow or purple nutsedge, contact your lawn service provider; an experienced pro will have the appropriate and specific control material to get rid of the problem.

Click here for more photos and details on nutsedge and it’s management.

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