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Friday, July 5, 2013

Nutsedge is Driving Me Nuts!

Soon after we moved in here and I started planting in the beds and pottering about in the garden, I started noticing a grass like plant that kept popping up everywhere.  I would pull it out and it would just come back.  It has become the bane of my existence.  If I don't diligently keep after it, it completely takes over, as it has done here, in the front border, among the milkweeds.

A little investigation quickly identified it as "nutsedge."

From Texas Cooperative Extension:
Nutsedge, often called nutgrass, is really not a true grass, but instead a member of the sedge family. Its proper name is nutsedge or for you Latin lovers, Cyperus esculentus. It is closer 'kin to Papyrus (used to make the ancient writing paper of Egypt) or the ornamental Umbrella sedges, than to St. Augustine or bermudagrass. This African native plant has thrived and spread throughout the New World. Because of its ability to thrive and persist, most gardeners and farmers would agree that to know it is to hate it.

When a nutsedge shoot reaches the surface it forms a basal bulb, from which grow roots and thin, wiry underground stems with new tubers at their ends. In one year, the outward growth from one tuber has the potential to produce 1,900 new plants and 7,000 new tubers. Now you can see why it's so tough to control! If there is any good news it's that individual tubers do not last longer than 3 years (thanks a lot, right?).

For read the entire article visit:

It appears that the only way to control nutsedge is to use chemical pesticides such as Round Up and since I have pledged to keep my garden chemical-free, it appears that I am doomed to pull these bloody annoying little things out of the ground by hand or hoe forever.

I'd be interested to hear from other gardeners who have problems with nutsedge (you know how the saying goes: Misery loves company!)  Or perhaps there's another weed that is the bane of your existence?

Let me know in the comments.

And now, lest you think my garden has completely gone to ruin, here's a shot of the self-seeded zinnia "Profusion" living up to its name in the island bed.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Lancashire rose said...

Nut sedge is a pain but if you weaken the nut by pulling the top growth before it has 4 leaves it will eventually give up the ghost. Diligence is the key to this exercise. Go to it!!

Anastasia Abboud said...

It takes over entire sections of our garden almost overnight! AT least it pulls up fairly easily, even with our clay so long as it's moist. Howard Garrett, "The Dirt Doctor" says, "There is only one guaranteed, foolproof method to completely kill nutgrass. First, dig out every tiny piece of the plant including the seeds and nutlets. Make sure you get it all by sifting the soil through a mesh such as a window screen. Dump the collected material on the driveway and burn it. Sweep up all the ashes and seal in a concrete box. Drive to the coast and dump the sealed box 20 miles off shore. There are other controls, but none that work completely every time.

Your zinnias are lovely!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I've heard that it is best to pull it before the days start getting shorter in the summer here in Nebraska because it will stay pulled better, and not send up new plants in that spot. Like many other things, it came up late this year. We pull it all summer, though. Our neighbors have lots of it in the grass next to where I garden. I should probably pull that so they don't put chemicals on it.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Bindweed is another one that I have to keep after.

Kathleen Scott said...

I pull it regularly. We're on the verge of Stage 3 water restrictions and can't afford non-natives taking up water, even if they do break up the clay.

Pam's English Garden said...

I don't have nutsedge, but Japanese stilt grass is the bane of my life! Your zinnias are amazing! P. x