When the temperatures start to warm, we look forward to our lawn greening as it slowly wakes from the winter dormancy. But the last thing we want to see is weeds. One of the harder weeds to control is dallisgrass. As a general rule of thumb, the longer dallisgrass has been established, the more difficult it will be to control. Another tough one to control is nutsedge. It’s very aggressive and can infest anywhere–lawn, vegetable garden, flower garden. Both, dallisgrass and nutsedge, are aggressive and normally require professional lawn care treatments to manage a large infestation.
Dallisgrass is a warm-season perennial grass that can be used as a pasture grass, but it’s not something you want popping up in your manicured lawn. It’s originally from Uruguay and Argentina and was introduced in the USA in the early 1800s. Dalligrass spreads primarily by rhizomes (underground roots) or seeds. The underground growth makes it difficult to eradicate as the ground roots go deep and can be well established.
This pesky weed grows in bunches or clumps, with leaves on the bottom shoots. Dallisgrass has a distinct grayish-green color and a few sparse hairs on the leaf collar and it thrives in sandy or clay soils, leaving us in the south more susceptible to visible growth. It also loves nitrogen fertilizer and grows twice as fast as regular turf grasses, which can create obstructions for the golfer, hazards for the field athlete, and unsightly tufts for a homeowner.
Nutsedge outbreaks often start in moist, poorly drained lawn areas, where they quickly develop into large colonies. Their extensive root systems may reach up to 4 feet deep and once established, these weeds can tolerate drought. Nutsedges are often called “nutgrass” because they closely resemble grasses. It can be distinguished from grasses by their stems, bright yellow-green leaves which are triangular or V-shaped in cross-section, while grass stems are hollow and round. Just as dalligrass, nutsedge also spreads via underground stems, known as rhizomes, but the most common way for it to spread is through underground tubers known as “nutlets.” Nutlets may survive hidden deep in soil for up to 10 years before emerging to produce new nutsedge plants.
Similarities of Dalligrass & Nutsedge
Both dallisgrass and nutsedge can be invasive and stubborn. You can physically pull the weed but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more. The best and easiest way to handle these pesky weeds is to join a lawn care program. The answer to how to kill dallisgrass and nutsedge is threefold: lawn health, pre-emergent treatments, and post-emergent treatments. A thick, well-maintained lawn is really the best weed killer you can have.
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Photo credit: University of Arkansas