Sedge Biology and Management in Turf1

Darcy E. P. Telenko, Ramon Leon, J. Bryan Unruh, and Barry J. Brecke 2

Members of the sedge family have leaves that are composed of a blade, sheath, and ligule. The leaf sheath is closed and the ligule is often absent, and when present is tiny. Stem structure is often triangular.

Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) is a perennial with underground runners that continue from tuber to tuber, forming chains. The tubers are bitter to taste. Purple nutsedge produces a purple or reddish seedhead and has a boat-shaped leaf tip (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Purple nutsedge
Figure 1.  Purple nutsedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Yellow nutsedge (C. esculentus) is a perennial with underground runners that stop at tubers. The tubers are sweet to taste or have little flavor. Yellow nutsedge produces a yellow seedhead and the leaf tip is needle-shaped (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Yellow nutsedge
Figure 2.  Yellow nutsedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Globe sedge (C. croceus) is a perennial that forms a clump. Globe sedge has shiny leaves, a hard base, and seedheads shaped like globes (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3. Globe sedge
Figure 3.  Globe sedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Figure 4. Globe sedge
Figure 4.  Globe sedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Perennial (green) kyllinga (Kyllinga brevifolia) is a mat-forming perennial with reddish to purple rhizomes. Leaves and stems are dark green. The seedhead is simple: nearly round or oblong with three short leaves just below. Green kyllinga reproduces by seed and rhizomes and is found in low areas or where moisture is excessive.

Annual sedge (C. compressus) is an annual that spreads by seed. The seed forms in clusters of flat, greenish, sometimes glossy spikes up to 1 inch long (Figures 5 and 6).

Figure 5. Annual sedge
Figure 5.  Annual sedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Figure 6. Annual sedge
Figure 6.  Annual sedge
Credit: D.E.P. Telenko

Herbicide Options for Controlling Sedges in Florida Turfgrass

(Always refer to the label for specific uses, application rates, and turfgrass tolerance.)

* Indicates intermediate safety use at reduced rate according to label.

Bermudagrass

  • Preemergence: S-metolachlor (yellow and annual), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: 2,4-D+MCPP+ dicamba+MSMA (yellow and annual), bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), carfentrazone+quinclorac (yellow), flazasulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), imazaquin (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), mesotrione (yellow), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+imazethapyr (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+quinclorac (annual and kyllinga), sulfosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), trifloxysulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

St. Augustinegrass

  • Preemergence: S-metolachlor (yellow and annual), sulfentrazone+prodiamine* (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), imazaquin (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), mesotrione* (yellow), sulfentrazone* (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine* (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

Centipedegrass

  • Preemergence: S-metolachlor (yellow and annual), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), carfentrazone+quinclorac (yellow), flazasulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), imazaquin (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), mesotrione (yellow), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+imazethapyr (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+quinclorac (annual and kyllinga),sulfosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

Bahiagrass

  • Preemergence: S-metolachlor (yellow and annual), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+imazethapyr* (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

Seashore paspalum

  • Preemergence: sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: flazasulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+quinclorac (annual and kyllinga)

Zoysiagrass

  • Preemergence: S-metolachlor (yellow and annual), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: 2,4-D+MCPP+ dicamba+MSMA (yellow and annual), bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), carfentrazone+quinclorac (yellow), flazasulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), halosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), imazaquin (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+imazethapyr (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+quinclorac (annual and kyllinga), sulfosulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), trifloxysulfuron (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

Perennial ryegrass

  • Preemergence: sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga)

  • Postemergence: bentazone (yellow, annual, kyllinga), mesotrione (yellow), sulfentrazone (purple, yellow, annual, kyllinga), sulfentrazone+prodiamine (purple, yellow, annual and kyllinga), sulfentrazone+quinclorac (annual and kyllinga)

Refer to the publication Pest Control Guide for Turfgrass Managers at http://turf.ufl.edu/pdf/2012_UF_Pest_Control_Guide.pdf for brand names associated with chemical names listed.

Footnotes

1. This document is ENH1231, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2013. Reviewed October 2016. Revised November 2019. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Darcy E. P. Telenko, postdoctoral research associate; Ramon Leon, assistant professor, Agronomy Department; J. Bryan Unruh, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Barry J. Brecke, professor emeritus, UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.