How to get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden

Nutsedge tubes according to the Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences are edible. But if you are not growing these as a food crop, them showing up unexpected is annoying. This post takes you through how to get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden.

How to get rid of nutsedge naturally in a vegetable garden? Here is how to get rid of nutsedge naturally in a vegetable garden:

  • Do not overwater your garden
  • Manually pull out nutsedge every two weeks
  • Mulching your vegetable garden
  • Using horticultural molasses

Getting rid of nutsedge is not as complicated as you think. All you need is patience and the right tools to deal with these plants. To get rid of nutsedge naturally from your vegetable garden, you can pull them out by hand, mulch the place, or use a natural herbicide.

It is recommended that herbicides be used only around the vegetable garden and not on the vegetable bed to avoid chemicals getting into the soil. 

nutsedge in vegetable garden
nutsedge in vegetable garden

Nutsedge is a common unwanted plant that grows in gardens across the US. The yellow variant or Cyperus esculentus is most common in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 10a. while the purple variant or Cyperus rotundus is most common in USDA zones 3a through 10a.

This being said your garden can have either variant one commonality is that both variants multiply quickly and compete with your plants for nutrients and soil space. 

As a vegetable gardener, it is always a good option to look for natural ways to get rid of weeds. Do not use herbicides on the vegetable bed. The chemicals (even in minimal amounts) can cause harm. 

Read: How to grow black beans in a vegetable garden

How do I get rid of nutsedge in my vegetable garden?

If you are wondering, how do I get rid of nutsedge in my garden? Read on

#1 Do not overwater your garden

Nutsedges love wet and waterlogged conditions. If you notice these weeds growing in your garden, there are chances you are overwatering. Pay close attention to leaks in the irrigation system or simply monitor the amount of water used. If growth conditions of nutsedges are minimised they will too. 

#2 Manually pull out nutsedge every two weeks

Did you know nutsedges multiply through underground tubes? 

If you inspect your garden regularly and pull them out as soon as you see them you can eliminate them from your garden. The longer you wait the stronger they grow making it more difficult to get rid of.

According to the University of California pulling them regularly (once in two weeks) costs the tubes almost 60% of their energy. This means that regular weeding will eventually kill nutsedge. 

#3 Mulching your vegetable garden

Mulching your vegetable garden is another solution to get rid of nutsedge naturally in a vegetable garden.

Polypropylene or polymer-based landscaping mulch is excellent when it comes to stopping new nutsedge growth. This is a strong fabric as compared to the others. This helps suppress growth between regular weeding sessions.

When you are ready to week the garden all you need to do is pull the fabric back and check for surviving weeds. 

You can also use organic mulch instead of a polymer-based one. For all cove the landscape with about 4 inches of pine bark or other organic mulch. Nutsedge hates dry conditions so mulch helps a lot to get rid of these weeds from your vegetable garden

 #4 Using horticultural molasses

Liquid horticultural molasses is great when it comes to getting rid of weeds especially nutsedges. Here is how to use it 

  1. Mix 1/4th cup to ½ cup molasses to about a gallon of water
  2. Use a spray bottle to spot treat the weeds

Two to three applications should be enough to eradicate the nutsedge plants from your vegetable garden. 

#5 Post-harvest care

As we know it nutsedge hates dry conditions. After the garden is harvested the best way to get rid of the nutsedge weeds in your vegetable bed is.

  • Harvest the vegetables
  • Break up the bed with a shovel
  • Rake into the bed and overturn the soil
  • Let the bed lay under the sun for a day or two

Once you let the soil sit in the sun for a while it dries up. Dried soil is not habitable for nutsedge weeds. This kills the existing weeds and also reduces the chances of new growth. 

When it comes to getting rid of nutsedge it is important to identify the type before looking for a solution. In the next section, we speak in details about how to get rid of yellow nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden

Read: How to get rid of ants in vegetable garden naturally

How to control yellow nutsedge in vegetable gardens? 

Yellow nutsedge is the most common type of weed found in vegetable gardens across the United States. It is not a grass but surely looks like one the only difference is that it grows up like a bladed weed and grows faster than regular grass. One can easily identify this type of weed by its triangular stem. 

get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden
Get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden

Here is how to control yellow nutsedge in vegetable gardens

The method used to deal with yellow nutsedge depends on where it has grown. If it is on a lawn you cannot use the usual lawn weedkiller like weed-b-gone to get rid of it. This is because it is botanically similar to turfgrass.

1# Put the bulbs out manually as soon as they sprout. This will ensure that you keep them away from your garden or lawn. It is important to get the whole little bulblet out or else the shoots will emerge again. Continue doing this whenever you see a new show and eventually they will stop. 

2# If they have already grown out of control and you cannot pick them by hand anymore you can use chemical solutions. The most popular brand is sedge hammer which is only available to professional applicators. But nonetheless, it is a great solution.

Make an appointment with your local greenhouse or store and they will fix the problem for you. You can also get MSMA the oldest nutsedge killer and do it yourself. 

3# When it comes to nutsedge it is important to note that these plants need to be cut higher than 3 inches. Cutting lower than that will stimulate growth. 

 4# See that the soil you use drains well. These plants love soil that is not drained well hence it is important to use good quality soil. 

5# Kill everything herbicide is a good idea if they have spread all over the lawn or garden. 

Caution: Do not spray on the vegetable bed.

Read: How to get rid of crabgrass in vegetable garden [Amazing Ways]

Will vinegar kill nutgrass?

There are a number of home remedies when it comes to getting rid of nutsedge. So if you wondering Will vinegar kill nutgrass? The answer is yes. You can use vinegar to get rid of this weed from your garden. Here is how:

  1. Mix vinegar, liquid soap and water in a spray bottle
  2. Shake well to combine
  3. Scout and spray

You will need to repeat the process a few times before the nutgrass is completely eliminated. 

Can you use sugar to kill nutsedge? 

Can you use sugar to kill nutsedge? can seem like a strange question but knowing that it actually can will surprise you. Sugar is great when it comes to killing nutgrass. All you need to do is spread sugar all over your garden or lawn and you are good to go.

This needs to be done in spring ideally. After spreading sugar across the garden, water it gently to encourage seepage into the soil. You will have to repeat the process a few times before you see definite results. 

Sugar eats away nut grass while leaving other grass alone. Hence it is a great option when it comes to a vegetable garden. The only drawback is that it will attract ants into the garden and you might end up with an ant infestation. But that can be dealt with easily. 

Read: How to Get Rid of and Prevent Grass from Growing in Your Vegetable Garden

Can Sedge Hammer be used in vegetable garden?

Sedge hammer is great when it comes to getting rid of nutsedge. it can be used in lawns, backyards, and other places but not in your vegetable garden.

This is because the chemicals emitted can get mixed with your soil and seep into vegetables and fruits growing in it causing a serious health hazard. It is therefore recommended that sedge hammer be kept away from patched where you grow edibles. 

How to kill nutsedge using shade? 

This is a concept heard of but if you wondering how to kill nutsedge using shade it’s simple. Incorporate a way in which your garden will be covered or in a shady spot for a few hours a day.

These plants love the sun so when faced with a little shade they have no clue what to do. so, a little shade goes a long way when it comes to killing and eliminating nutsedge. 

 An easy way to do it is to let the grass or plants grow a little bit. Once you see that the surrounding grass or vegetable plants are covering the nutsedge plants incorporate the shade. This will double the effect helping it act faster. 

How to get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden
How to get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable garden

Is nutsedge and nutgrass the same?

Is nutsedge and nutgrass the same? Yes, Nutsedge and nutgrass are the same thing. These look and feel like grass but are not. These weeds love moist and soggy soil and grow well in spots that receive a lot of sunlight. These plants are despised among the gardener community as they suck in all the nutrients and minerals from the soil. 

You can identify them easily by looking at the shape of their stem and the yellow leaves that jet out.

How to kill nutgrass using hot water?

Like other weed variants, nutsedge can also be killed using boiling water in your vegetable garden. For this all you need to do is

Step-1: Boil water in a container

Step-2: Transfer it into a spray bottle or a bottle for precision. you can also use a ladle

Step-3: Spot the nutgrass

Step-4: Douse it with the hot water  

Repeat till you see results.

Yellow nutsedge VS Purple nutsedge

Yellow NutsedgePurple nutsedge
Top growth is yellow-green to bright greenTop growth is dark green
It is 8 to 24 inches tall and can grow to about 36 inches.It is 4 to 18 inches tall and can go to a maximum of 30
Flower heads are yellow, gold or straw coloredFlower heads are purple to reddish brown.
Found in US and CanadaFound mostly in the southern half of USA
Temperate regions and irrigated fields are the most aggressively populated by theseTropical and subtropical regions are the most aggressively populated by these
Very high ability to penetrate organic mulchVery high ability to penetrate organic mulch
Moderate ability to penetrate black plastic mulchVery high ability to penetrate black plastic mulch
Low ability to penetrate clear plasticLow ability to penetrate clear plastic
Low to moderate shade toleranceLow shade tolerance – shoots die back, shoots persist
Yellow nutsedge VS Purple nutsedge
get rid of nutgrass naturally in vegetable garden
Get rid of nutgrass naturally in vegetable garden

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In conclusion

Nutgrass or nutsedge look nice but are not welcome in vegetable gardens and lawns. These soak up all the nutrients from the soil and leave nothing for the vegetable plants in the garden. It is, therefore, necessary to treat them as soon as they start to show. This article gave you an insight into how to get rid of nutsedge naturally in vegetable gardens.