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Yellow Nutsedge

Cyperus esculentus L.

Family: Cyperaceae

Habit: rhizomatous perennial



Although some yellow nutsedge tubers may form as deeply as 18 inches (16 cm), the vast majority of tubers are found in the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil. Consequently, this species is sensitive to tillage in early June after the tubers have sprouted but before daughter plants or new tubers have formed. Although the tubers can make new sprouts from dormant buds, these will be weaker and easily controlled by hoeing or cultivation. Thus, crop rotations that include early summer tillage help control yellow nutsedge populations. By the same principle, in early-planted crops, vigorous hoeing or cultivation once or twice beginning in early June will frequently reduce a yellow nutsedge population to non-competitive status for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless, newly emerging plants should be controlled throughout the season to reduce production of new tubers.

Since the plants are short (< 18 inches or 46 cm) a dense planting of a competitive crop also helps suppress this species.

The large food storage in the tubers allows yellow nutsedge to penetrate even very thick layers (e.g., > 6 inches or 15 cm) of organic mulch materials. Allelopathic substances from rye mulch, however, reduce yellow nutsedge density and vigor. The sharp points of the newly emerged shoots can easily pierce spun fiber mulches.

Seed production by mature plants is not a concern since most plants are infertile and seedlings are virtually never observed in field conditions.