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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Control Nutgrass in Lawns with Sledgehammer

Q. We have a serious nutgrass problem. You recommended Sledgehammer herbicide to control it. I've been online looking to purchase it but I keep getting directed to "Sedgehammer" products. Are they one in the same and did you just get the name wrong?
This is a young not dress plant. It looks like a grass but it's not. It's a sedge and very difficult to control. It's missing the nut which was dislodged in the soil when it was pulled from the ground

A. Nutgrass is not really a grass at all but a sedge. Sedge usually has a way of regenerating itself when it dies and nutgrass was no exception. It’s called “nutgrass” because of the underground “nut” that remains in the soil if the top was pulled off or killed.
This is nutgrass found growing in the tropics, Philippines

            Hold on. I will get to your question in a second.
            Killing the top of the plant is easy. It could be killed with several types of weed killers, burned off with a fire weeder or removed with a hoe. But the underground nut causes a new plant to grow in its place.
            Usually not just one plant but two would regenerate from the nut to replace the one that was killed. With only those methods available, the only thing that works is to continually destroy the tops repeatedly until the nut is starved and gone.
This is the nut attached to nutgrass that causes all the problems of regrowth when it is pulled from the ground orders burned back with fire or chemicals.
            This works but required diligence. If you let the top grow back it would rebuild the nut and you have to start all over. But nutgrass in lawns was still a huge problem because these methods also damage lawn grasses.
            I worked with a chemical weed killer found to control nutgrass in lawns, without damaging lawn grasses, during the 1990’s. This weedkiller was different than others because it killed the nut but had no effect on lawn grasses. It was given the name “Manage” by the manufacturer. The rights were later sold to a different company but the name changed to “Sledghammer”. Same product but a different name.

            Repeat applications are needed when using Sledgehammer herbicide because not all the nuts are killed. The tops die but a few of the nuts survive and send up a new plant. Reapplication timing of the chemical is critical or the nut will re-establish.
            You MUST reapply it when the new growth from nuts is young, about the four-leaf stage, or it will re-establish. If diligent, slowly you will extinguish the nuts and keep them from re-growing.
            I see it is available from Walmart and Domyown Pest Control online. Try entering sledgehammer AND nutgrass AND weed killer in your online search engine.

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