nutsedge

THE 5 BEST Nutsedge Killers (Top Products for 2023)

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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LAWN PHIX PRO PICK

There was a lot of rain here in the Northeast in 2023, bringing on a lot of nutsedge. Many of my new customers this season were stricken. I chose Empero herbicide , and it did not disappoint. It contains the same active ingredient (AI) in Sedgehammer (Halosulfuron-methyl – 75%) but at a more affordable price. Use the 0.9-gram measuring spoon (included) and a non-ionic surfactant. I also mixed this with Drive XLR8 to target both nutsedge and crabgrass in the summer with fantastic results – and happy customers!

Nutsedge, also known as nutgrass, is a summer perennial weed. It is a tough weed and often hard to control. Even though it gives the illusion is dies in the cold months, it does not. The root tubers system is aggressive and remains below the surface even when there is no leaf. Yellow nutsedge is the most common, but there is also purple nutsedge. It is difficult to properly control nutsedge because for every sprig you see, there are as many as 18 tubers waiting to become plants the next year. It is bright yellow-green and looks like tall lawn grasses. It typically grows faster than grass. Within days of cutting it, you will see nutsedge weeds grow taller than the rest of the turf. Take a look at the best weed killer for nutgrass weeds to help you with your weed control.

1. Empero Herbicide

Empero-Herbicide-Bottle

Empero is the best weed killer for Nutsedge, ornamental turfgrass, and unwanted grassy weeds The active ingredient in Empero is the generic version of the active ingredient in Sedgehammer. This is an excellent alternative if you have a larger area where you want to kill nutsedge. Empero is a water-dispersible granule that dissolves easily and quickly. It is ideal for spot-treating grassy weeds. It is gentle on existing turf. Empero is also available in a convenient single-use 13.5 g pack.

Lawn Phix Review: I highly recommend Empero. We used this all of 2023 which was rainy and wet – the ideal environment for nutsedge. This grassy weed was rampant on many of my Year 1 customers’ lawns. I went out with Empero and Induce pH non-ionic surfactant and got quick knockdown after just one application. So severely infested areas took two apps, but eventually took them out. Yards with crabgrass breakthrough: I also mixed this with Drive XLR8 (quinclorac). However, when mixed with NIS, spray with caution as this can damage the surrounding turf if the turf is dry, stressed, and/or when temperatures are above 80 degrees.

I also mixed this with On Deck which is a two-way broadleaf herbicide. It worked great on lawns with nutsedge, dandelion, and other broadleaf weeds.

Empero comes with 0.9 gram measuring scoop which is perfect on the road. (images below)

  • Fill your backpack sprayer with half of the amount of water needed
  • Add the desired amount of Empero
  • Fill the backpack with remaining water
  • Add non-ionic surfactant
  • Mix/shake thoroughly

Pros:

  • More affordable option than Sedgehammer
  • Safe for humans and pets once dry

Cons:

  • Not available in all states

Shop Empero on Do My Own, Lawn Pro, and Amazon.

Before/After Pictures

The first image was taken from a new customer in Bellingham, MA, on July 14, 2023. This was previously treated by a national brand lawn care company.

The next image was taken on September 4, 2023,. after spraying Empero and Induce pH surfactant. Precisely three weeks and you can see most of the nutsedge has been fully eradicated. Some new bunches here and there, but great overall results for one spraying on a poorly treated lawn.


2. Dismiss NXT

Dismiss-NXT-nutsedge-herbicide

Dismiss NXT, is a step above the original version, which is much cheaper. This improved version controls green kyllinga and yellow nutsedge. This weed killer begins to kill nutsedge plants within one to two days. Dismiss NXT contains two active ingredients to provide long-lasting control for warm and cool turf. This aggressive weed killer version gives you enhanced tuber death to help limit growth in the future. Wait two days before watering as this is not ideal for moist soil.

Pros:

  • Includes a second active ingredient, Sulfentrazone
  • Ideal for residential, institutional, and commercial lawns

Cons:

  • Expensive option

Shop Dismiss on Do My Own, Lawn Pro, and Amazon.

3. Sedgehammer Turf Herbicide

Sedgehammer_Nutsedge Killer Herbicide

Sedgehammer is one of the top-rated weed control products for nutsedge because it attacks it while leaving ornamental plants and other desirable plants alone. It controls yellow nutsedge, purple nutsedge, and broadleaf weeds. Sedgehammer is gentle on turfgrass when applied according to the directions as it can be used on both cool and warm-season grass.

These also come in convenient individual packets – perfect for those who don’t want to measure or weigh anything aside from the water.

I mix Sedgehammer with Drive XLR8 when fighting late summer nutsedge and crabgrass. They both tank mix well and provide a quick burndown visual in less than seven days.

Pros:

  • Contains 75% Halosulfuron – methyl, the best active ingredient for killing nutsedge 
  • Controls tubers as well as leaves

Cons:

  • Must wait a few months after sod installation to use

Shop Sedgehammer on Do My Own, Lawn Pro, and Amazon.

4. Certainty Turf Herbicide

Certainty Turf Herbicide Nutsedge Killer

Certainty herbicide is a selective post-emergent herbicide that controls purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge. It is ideal for commercial and residential turf. Certainly is easy to use, safe, and has a broad spectrum weed control. It contains the active ingredient Sulfosulfuron. However, it is intended for warm-season grass only. This includes grasses such as Bermuda grass (common or hybrid), Bahia grass, Buffalo grass, Centipede grass, Kikuyu grass, St. Augustine grass, Seashore paspalum, and Zoysia grass.

Pros:

  • Effective for spot treatments or broadcast applications
  • The best option for most warm-season grasses

Cons:

  • Not for use on cool-season grasses as it is a cool grass killer

Shop Certainty on Do My Own, Lawn Pro, and Amazon.

5. Tenacity Herbicide

tenacity herbicide

Tenacity can be used as a pre-emergent or a post-emergent herbicide. When used as a pre-emergent, the nutgrass weed absorbs Tenacity as it comes through the soil. The soil must be wet for best activity. If you have dry soil, you should irrigate while applying Tenacity herbicide. When used as a post-emergent, the weed species absorbs the herbicide through contact, absorbing it in the soil. It may take up to three weeks for nutgrass plants to die. Repeat applications may be needed for optimal performance. 

Pros:

  • It can be used as a pre-emergent or a post-emergent

Cons:

Shop Tenacity on Do My Own, Lawn Pro, and Amazon.

6. Ortho Nutsedge Killer

 Ortho Nutsedge Killer

Ortho Nutsedge Killer is specially formulated and ready to use as an effective nutsedge killer and control for southern and northern lawns. In addition to nutsedge, it controls chickweed, spurge, and clover weeds. Ortho Nutsedge Killer is great for cool-season grass such as tall and fine fescue, perennial ryegrass, and creeping bentgrass. It is also great for warm grasses like Bermuda grass, bahiagrass, centipede grass, carpet grass, Kikuyu grass, zoysia grass. Undesirable plants should be less than three inches high for best results. 

Pros:

  • Ideal for small areas
  • Conveniently found in local hardware and big box stores

Cons:

  • May take several weeks before it kills nutsedge plants

Shop Tenacity on Do My Own, Home Depot, and Amazon.

Preventing Purple and Yellow Nutsedge

The best way to prevent and kill nutsedge is to attack its root. As nutsedge matures, the seed heads spread in the yard, creating more nutsedge. A pre-emergent kills the nutgrass plant seed while sprouting, it does not kill the underground stems. Nutsedge grows from the roots every spring and you will fight it for years if you do not kill the root. When you keep a maintained and healthy lawn, it can help to crowd out weeds. It helps to maintain and drain your lawn grass as nutsedge prefers moist soil. 

How To Control Nutsedge

The best way to control nutgrass / nutsedge is to apply a nutgrass killer in the middle of summer to injure the plant, and again in later summer or early fall to impact the roots the most. When spraying in the summer, the sunny areas see the most growth over shaded areas. When the soil is around 60 degrees about eight inches down in the soil. Selective herbicides are the best when you need a nutsedge killer. You want to use weed killers that have halosulfuron or sulfentrazone as their active ingredient. 

Nutsedge Weed Killer FAQs

What is the Best Nutsedge Killer?

The best nutsedge killer is Sedgehammer. It contains the active ingredient, halosulfuron. Sedgehammer is a selective post-emergent weed killer that focuses on controlling Purple and yellow nutsedges, and other weeds. When Sedgehammer provides control all the way to the root tubers to ensure that you can kill the nutsedge.

Can You Kill Nutsedge Without Killing Grass?

Nutsedge, also known as nut grass, looks similar to grass even though it is not a grass. It is often called a weed grass (or grassy weed). It can appear in your vegetable garden, flower gardens, flower beds or grass. There are a large number of chemical control options available that kill the weed grass, but not your grass or mature plants. Sedgehammer is one of the best herbicides that kills nutsedge without injuring your turfgrass. 

What does nutsedge look like?

Nutsedge, also referred to as “nutgrass” or “nut grass”is a lawn weed with light green leaves, a long tapered leaf tip, and triangular stems. They also grow much taller and faster than your cool season grasses, and nutsedge grows upwards of 16” mature height. The color and height of nutsedge makes it easier to spot and identify in your turf. Nutsedge thrives in damp soil and is usually found in poorly drained soil.

What kills nutsedge?

Selective herbicides containing Halosulfuron (Sedgehammer) or Sulfentrazone (Dismiss NXT) can help get rid of nutsedge. Non-selective herbicides and weed killers like glyphosate will also kill nutsedge, but it was also kill anything else it comes in contact with.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

1 thought on “THE 5 BEST Nutsedge Killers (Top Products for 2023)”

  1. Nutsedge has invaded my vegetable garden. What nutsedge herbicide is safe to use in a vegetable garden a) before I till it and separately b) after the veggies are up and growing? Any and all tips are welcome.

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