As the warmer temperatures start to kick in and our beloved lawns start to recover from renovations there is always one annoying weed that can rear its ugly head and it is called “ NUTGRASS ” Lets have a look at this weed pest.

What is Nutgrass?

Nutgrass is a part of the sedge family of grasses. Although it has the word “grass” attached to its name, Nutgrass is listed as one of the World’s worst weeds. Nutgrass has made a name for itself affecting the World’s horticulture industry along with parks and gardens, pastures and more.

Now to most Nutgrass is easily identified by not only its very flat tapered leaves which can be slightly corrugated, also by its colour. Nutgrass is usually deep green in colour, and the stem of the plant is triangular which is a prominent feature of sedge plants. Nutgrass takes no prisoners, no one is immune to this weed, and there is no prevention available.

Why Nutgrass?

Aside from its visual characteristics Nutgrass is also well known for its rapid growth. These plants can appear overnight and multiply within days to give you a small infestation. Some people believe and was a running joke for many years that it was called Nutgrass because it drove people “Nut’s” trying to control it. The real reason it is called Nutgrass is due to the fact it is produced from nut like tubers attached to rhizomes in your soil.

One reason we advise not to remove them by hand when people find out they have Nutgrass is due the fact that the tubers can be as low as 300mm below the surface, therefore making this practice not very successful. The biggest problem that occurs is usually the tuber is left behind allowing it to germinate again and again.

We are now starting to see the emergence of this weed, why?

Nutgrass grows poorly in the shade, and will normally only promote itself in temperatures north of 20 degrees. That’s why over the past few weeks we have seen a rise in posts on Nutgrass. We are now heading into perfect growing conditions and this is where staying on top and controlling this weed early is vital not only for your lawn and gardens, but also your head space because it can really drive you Nut’s.

Nutgrass control

Many years ago, over 75 countries worked together in a worldwide trial based on controlling Nutgrass. The results were good, and with the use of selective herbicides which are available these days they were able to control the plant, although complete control could not be guaranteed.


Products such as HaloForce are classed as a selective herbicide, and are designed to only control and kill those in the sedge family of grasses. These herbicides when used correctly at label rates pose no threat or damage to your turf. When you are looking at treating Nutgrass allow the plant to promote leaf as the more surface area to apply the herbicide to the better the result.

Use a sticker...

Due to its waxy leaf an adjuvant (sticker) such as Wetter 600 is generally a good idea allowing the herbicide and the plant to bind together making the control more effective. Once your application is complete you may start to see the plant yellow in 3 to 5 days with the complete kill usually a week or two later. One application won’t usually give you a complete kill so be mindful you may have to repeat the application.

Some interesting facts about this weed;

  • Nutgrass prefers moist soils that is fertile.
  • Nutgrass roots have been used in many perfumes due to their fragrance.
  • The Nutgrass tubers were a form of food source.
  • Nutgrass has been used to bind soils to prevent erosion.
  • Nutgrass has also been used in herbal medicines.

Pigs, geese, horses and cattle have been used in the past to help with control as they seek out the tubers, however this only provided limited control.

The state of Victoria was one of the first States to class Nutgrass as a noxious weed.

  • Nutgrass is more commonly found tropical and sub-tropical countries.
  • Nutgrass is known to host nematodes and insects.