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Uh-oh... this isn't ornamental grass after all!

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by Malica on August 25, 2006 06:22 PM
Thanks to the current thread on Dalligrass, I stumbled across a picture of something that looked eeriely familiar:



And I thought it was lovely looking ornamental grass growing in my garden. Turns out it's nuthedge, and the information I've seen about it isn't promising at all.

Does anyone have any experience/suggestions of getting rid of it or at least controlling it? It has already creeped to a patch 20 feet away where the grass wasn't doing so well because of poor drainage, and I'm worried that probably means half of the lawn has this stuff underneath just waiting to spring into action.

If I pulled out as much of each shoot as I could manage as soon as I notice, would I at least stop it from spreading further? Should I dump a bottle of Roundup on the main plant in hopes that it gets absorbed into as many roots as possible?

Really -- any suggestions before I start ripping up my entire back lawn appriciated.
by The Plant Doc on August 27, 2006 12:59 AM
Nut Sedge is a sedge type of plant. It is close to the grass family, but it is actually a little tiny bulblet. Unfortunately that means that most over the top of lawn weed killers will not work on it. There are some selective herbicides out there that do target sedges. "Manage" is one of them. The problem is that they tend to be very expensive, and it would probably be cheaper to hire onto a lawn care company to come out and spray them, then it would be to purchase the chemical.
Unless the ground is totally soaking wet and soggy, DO NOT try to pull these weeds up from the roots. They will reproduce from root stock so if you tear the roots, where there was one plant this year, next year there will be many!
Round Up will work on this weed, as well as many other non selective herbicides, but it will also kill the good grass growing under it, so be careful. Always use the recommended amounts on the label. Just don't "dump" it on them as this can possibly give you many more headaches then the original problem.

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Mike Maier
The Plant Doc
by Malica on August 27, 2006 08:00 AM
Maybe "dump" was a little extreme, but after reading how invasive it is, I was pretty disheartened. The patch of lawn it's growing in right now is pretty barren as it is and it's probably easier at this point to just scrap that whole area and start over.

Could you explain a bit how pulling it up is going to cause more plants? I'm not really following that. Since the main plant is in my flower bed, would digging that up (as deep as I have to go) have the same effect too?
by joclyn on August 27, 2006 12:46 PM
i've got that stuff too!!

i just pulled it up - the root system is pretty shallow so it comes up easily.

it DOES spread quickly tho!! it's not just in the beds, it's in the middle of the grass and it's in my neighbors grass too...which is completely surrounded by the driveways...
by M. D. Vaden of Oregon on August 27, 2006 06:55 PM
Odd thing...

I'm beginning to like that sort of thing in my lawn these days.

It's not that I've given up on pure lawns. It's just that I like the other little plants now.

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M. D. Vaden of Oregon

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by Malica on August 28, 2006 08:46 AM
I thought the root system was shallow too, as what I did pull came up very easy, but after identifying it, it seems there are tubers attached to the roots that are left behind when you pull it up, which just sprouts a new plant. (There's a picture of the full roots here). It's articles like that one that almost made me want to cry... Short of digging up the lawn to get rid of the tubers too, there doesn't seem to be any natural way to get rid of it. (I generally don't use herbicides as a rule, but this sounds like it will have to be the exception)
by joclyn on August 28, 2006 01:05 PM
oh boy.

and, i'll tell ya, it's also spread by birds eating the seeds. i saw some of this growing in the middle of the neighbors's completely surrounded by blacktop and concrete, so the rhyzomes couldn't have worked their way that far - not in one summer, anyway.

well, eventually, pulling them up will get rid of's just going to be a constant thing for a couple of years.

i don't have a problem with treating with herbicides. i haven't done so...and i need to now as my grass is full of this stuff, dandelion, thistle, creeping charlie, crabgrass and a few other weeds that i don't know what they are.
by The Plant Doc on August 29, 2006 03:41 AM
If you can get the entire root system out, you will be fine, but just a little tiny piece of root left will live on and eventually send up a new plant. So if you pull a plant out, and it leaves say 6 little pieces of roots behind, there will be six more plants to deal with in the future instead of one.
If in the garden, you can dig the plants out. The roots rarely go any deeper then a few inches, so by taking 3 inches of soil from the surface you should be okay.
That plant is quickly becoming the bane of my existence since it is coming up out here in Cheeseland at a record rate!
I happen to have a lawn full of it too! Since I have the chemicals to treat it at my disposal, hopefully it will not be as big of a problem next season.
Try not to let any of it go to seed!!! This practice will help you out in the future. If the lawn is to dry to pull, cut them off with shears or your lawn mower depending on where the plant is.

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Mike Maier
The Plant Doc

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