Nutgrass is a common weed in poorly drained areas of lawns. Also called nutsedge, it escapes most herbicides that control grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds. Below are the best selective herbicides for nutgrass control.
|Image||Herbicide Name||Active Ingredient||Type||Shop|
|Bonide Sedge Ender||Sulfentrazone||Postemergent|
|Ortho® Nutsedge Killer||Sulfentrazone||Postemergent|
|Tenacity Turf Herbicide||Mesotrione||Pre and postemergent|
|Blindside Herbicide WDG FMC||Metsulfuron 6%, Sulfentrazone 60%||Postemergent|
When controlling nutsedge, it is important to remember that this weed is neither a grass nor a broadleaf weed, that’s why it is very difficult to control. It is categorized as a sedge – which is a plant with a triangular stem, producing seeds but propagating through tubers.
Yellow nutsedge weeds grow a lot faster during summer when there’s heat. This is when when cool-season turfgrass grows more slowly.
To control nutgrass (nutsedge), use a selective herbicide formulated to kill nutgrass without harming grass in your lawn. Selective herbicides are indicated for use on certain turfgrass types – as safe or unsafe – therefore, read the label and choose carefully.
Best Nutsedge Killer (Selective Herbicides)
A selective herbicide for nutsedge will target nutgrass weeds without causing harm to turfgrass. Here are the best selective herbicides for sedge weeds in your garden and lawn.
1. Sedgehammer Herbicide
- Kills nutsedge without killing turfgrass.
- Safe for use on shrubs, garden ornamentals, and trees.
- Kills nutgrass in both cool-season and warm-season turfs (see safety below)
This selective herbicide is great for use in killing yellow nutsedge as well as purple nutsedge. The good thing with Sedgehammer+ Herbicide is that it already has a non-ionic surfactant in it. You do not need to buy one.
The active ingredient in Sedgehammer is halosulfuron-methyl, a selective herbicide that works as a post-emergent application. It is very effective in killing purple nutsedge, yellow nutsedge, as well as a good number of other broadleaf weeds in lawns.
Other weeds controlled include radish, pigweed, mustard, pokeweed, morningglory weed, purslane, and fleabane.
Sedgehammer is safe for use on the following turfgrasses: St. Augustine grass, Bermudagrass, centipede grass, Bahiagrass, Zoysiagrass, Fescues, Ryegrass (perennial), and creeping bentgrass.
From my own tests, Sedgehammer may take up to two weeks before you start seeing results. You’ll know it is working when the nutgrass starts to turn yellow.
2. Bonide (BND069) – Sedge Ender Weed Control Concentrate
- Best pre and post-emergent sedge killer.
- Safe for both warm and cool-season lawns.
- Kills by contact and can be sprayed for full coverage.
- Selective nutgrass control – does not kill turfgrass.
- Effective dual action due to uptake by leaves and roots.
The active ingredient, Sulfentrazone, is safe for use on both cool and warm season grasses including rye, Kentucky Bluegrass, bentgrass, fescues, bermuda grass, bahia grass, zoysia etc.
Sedge Ender is one of the best selective nutsedge herbicides on the market. It provides effective results and will also help control other tough grassy weeds such as crabgrass, foxtail, and goosegrass.
Since nutgrass grows underground, Sedge Ender can target the weeds before they grow, thanks to the pre-emergent action. For the weeds already appearing in your lawn, you can also apply by covering your entire lawn. It won’t kill grass, just the weeds.
Sedge Ender becomes rainproof within a 2 hours of application, meaning it will not wash off. It works through contact, so it will still get rid of nutsedge in your yard.
Be careful not to use Sedge Ender in your garden. It is specifically designed to be used in lawns only. Applying it on other plants can cause serious injury.
You can use Sedge Ender Herbicide to selectively kill stubborn weeds like purple and yellow nutsedge (nutgrass), kyllinga, wild garlic, wild onion, goosegrass, plantain, purslane, dandelion, redroot pigweed, spurge, and others.
3. Ortho® Nutsedge Killer Ready-To-Spray
- Great for Southern and Northern lawns.
- Proven to kill nutgrass (yellow and purple).
- Also kills Kyllinga + over 50 other tough weeds.
- Kills nutgrass selectively without killing grass.
The Ortho Nutsedge Killer comes as a ready-to-spray herbicide. Once you apply, it becomes rainproof within 2 hours, meaning it will still control nutgrass even if it rains after this period.
The active ingredient in Ortho Nutsedge Killer is Sulfentrazone. Sulfentrazone is great at controlling annual and perennial sedges.
Make sure you wait 5 days after mowing before putting on sedge hammer then don’t mow for at least two days. If you don’t follow directions exactly it will not kill it. Sometimes it takes a few applications for almost any nutsedge killer to work, so be patient.
Here are some results I got after using Ortho Nutsedge Killer:
If you’re struggling with wild onion, wild garlic, spurge, chickweed, clovers and plantains in your yard, this selective herbicide will also get rid of them.
Do not use Ortho Nutsedge Killer if you want to control weeds in vegetable gardens, flower beds, and ornamental plants.
4. Tenacity Turf Herbicide
- 2-in-1 pre and post-emergent nutgrass killer.
- Tenacity won’t kill grass.
- Provides 46 other broadleaf and grassy weed control.
- It destroys weeds to the root, including crabgrass.
Tenacity is by far one of the best selective herbicides for weeds in lawns. It acts as a great pre and post-emergent herbicide for many grassy and broadleaf weeds.
Tenacity will kill nutgrass selectively but won’t kill grass. It will kill yellow nutsedge as a pre-emergent, but it will not damage grass even if you apply as a post-emergent weed killer.
5. Blindside Herbicide WDG FMC Selective Herbicide
- Very effective due to foliar and root uptake.
- Fast action (kills nutgrass within a week).
- Both pre-emergence and post-emergent actions.
- Highly selective nutgrass killer.
- Safe for listed warm + cool-season turfs.
One of the active ingredients in Blindside slective herbicide, Metsulfuron-methyl, is highly effective in controlling about 60 different species of weeds by inhibiting growth.
Blindside also contains Sulfentrazone, just like Dismiss Herbicide. It is good at killing different types of sedges in both warm and cool season turfgrasses.
You can use Blindside to control over 70 broadleaf weeds and sedges including black medic, dollarweed, barnyardgrass, chickweed, crabgrass, and clover.
6. Certainty Turf Herbicide
- Provides excellent action against purple and yellow nutsedge.
- Selective nutgrass herbicide won’t harm desired grass.
- Controls quackgrass and dallisgrass too.
- Kills broadleaf weeds as well including ground Ivy.
- Can be used on both warm and cool season grasses (see label)
Certainty is a professional-grade selective nutsedge killer when you compare it to other weed killers such as Ortho and Dismiss. What I like about this pro-grade weed control herbicide is that you get a lot more value in terms of controlling many other broadleaf weeds in your yard.
The active ingredient in Certainty Turf Herbicide is Sulfosulfuron, a selective, systemic herbicide. When you apply it on weeds, it is absorbed through both leaves and roots.
Once it is absorbed by the target plant such as purple nutsedge, it translocates throughout the plant and starts to inhibit cell division. This is what makes Certainty Herbicide very effective at stopping yellow and purple nutsedge from growing in lawns.
7. Dismiss Turf Herbicide
- Fastest acting nutgrass killer (results in 24-48 hours).
- Can be tolerated by warm and cool season turfgrasses.
- Also kills broadleaf weeds in lawn.
- Professional-grade weed control.
Dismiss is highly effective and probably the number 1 best selective herbicide for nutgrass control due to its fast action. It is a great weed killer for both yellow nutsedge and purple nutsedge.
I tried on some weeds and it got rid of them within 48 hours. It works through uptake in the roots as well as shoots, making it highly effective.
Dismiss selective nutgrass killer will also get rid of bittercress, dandelions, ground ivy, dollarweed, spurge, wild garlic, and many other weeds.
Check Turfgrass Tolerance to Selective Herbicide
Before using any selective herbicide to kill yellow nutsedge or any type of nutgrass, ensure you read the label of the weed killer you’re using.
The products listed above are the best selective herbicides for nutgrass control, but you need to check each label to determine if it will not kill your specific turfgrass.
The aim is to be able to kill the sedge weed without killing grass in the lawn. Most herbicides are safe to use only on cool season or only on warm-season turfgrass species. This means if you apply a weed killer labeled for cool season grasses on warm-season species, you can easily cause damage to your lawn.
Improve Lawn Drainage
Nutsedge likes to grow in areas with poor drainage. Instead of using herbicides, you can try cultural control options to get rid of nutsedge that’s recurring every year in your lawn.
Make sure you have good drainage in areas where the sedge grows. It likes warm wet areas that hold moisture. I had a Bermuda yard for 5 years in the delta and always got nutsedge in poorly drained areas.
- Purdue University Extension: Sedge Control for Turf Professionals
- North Carolina State University Extension: Dismiss (sulfentrazone) Herbicide Information and Factsheets
- Gowan Company: Sedgehammer Product Label
- Bonide Sedge Ender Product Label
- NatSeed: Certainty Turf Herbicide Label
- Dismiss label