yellow nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus). Photo: HGIC, U of MD Extension

Updated: March 3, 2023

Life cycle 

Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is an invasive perennial; classified as a sedge not technically a grass. Its nativity to Maryland is uncertain.

Growth habit 

Leaves are shiny, yellow-green, narrow, and grass-like; stems are 3-sided, triangular in cross-section.


From small nutlets (tubers) attached to rhizomes; may also spread by seeds.

Conditions that favor growth 

Colonizes wet areas with poor drainage; diverting water or improving drainage can help reduce the weed infestation.



Yellow nutsedge roots and tubers

Photo: Sabine Harvey, University of Maryland Extension


Yellow nutsedge stem is triangular

Photo: Ohio State Weed Lab, The Ohio State University,


Yellow nutsedge flowers

Photo: University of Maryland Extension

Nutlet and rhizomes

Yellow nutsedge nutlets and rhizomes

Photo: Betty Marose, University of Maryland Extension

Management in lawns

Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.  Water lawns on an as-needed basis, not on a regular schedule (this includes when using an irrigation system).

Lawn Care

Mechanical management

Digging out or using an appropriate weeding tool to remove the underground 'nutlets' is the primary means of mechanical control of nutsedge. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds.

Manage Weeds Without Chemicals

Chemical management in lawns 

Spot treat the areas that have nutsedge with a liquid, a selective herbicide that contains the active ingredient: Common Name: Halosulfuron; Trade Name: Sedgehammer and others or Common Name: Sulfentrazone

HerbicideOptions for Managing Common Lawn Weeds in Maryland

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