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Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is a perennial sedge often mistaken for a grass. Leaves arise from a central triangular stem to form a clump that grows 1 to 3 feet high. Yellow-green leaves are up to ½ inch wide, smooth, and shiny on upper surfaces. It can reproduce from seed; however underground tubers forming at the end of each rootlet are the primary means for reproduction. 

Yellow nutsedge in bloom (Schwartz, Colorado State University, nutsedge in bloom.

(Photo: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State


Yellow nutsedge tubers (DiTomasco, University of California-Davis, nutsedge tubers.

(Photo: Joseph M. DiTomasco, University of


Yellow nutsedge stem cross section (Ackley, Ohio State University, nutsedge stem cross section
(notice the triangular shape).

(Photo: Bruce Ackley, The Ohio State University,



  • Tubers can be spread by cultivation; work infested areas of fields last to avoid spread.
  • Grass-specific herbicides are ineffective due to this plant’s different physiology. Apply non-selective contact herbicides to suppress nutsedge.
  • Rotate with tall, thick-canopied plants for suppression.
  • A few pre-emergent herbicides are effective.


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