Purple Nutgrass

Biological Name:

Cyperus rotundus (Purple-Nutgrass)

Natural Habitat:

Purple-Nutgrass: This plant is native to North and South America and grows in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, and along roadsides.


Purple-Nutgrass is a summer annual weed that is native to the Americas. It has thin wiry stems and leaves and the leaves are narrow and needle-like. The flowers are small and purple and they are followed by hairy seed pods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How do you kill purple nutsedge?
A: During the middle of summer, you can control purple nutsedge by cultivating the infested area and then withholding all moisture to allow the sun to dry the tubers. Repeated tilling and drying are required to give good control. This method is effective only in areas where other plants don’t need irrigation.

Q: Will Roundup kill purple nutsedge?
A: Yes, Roundup will kill nutsedge, including root tubers. This prevents sedge regrowth. Roundup will also kill turf grasses and any other plants exposed to the herbicide. Only spray Roundup on nutsedge growing in areas where desirable plants and grasses won’t be affected.

Q: How do I permanently kill nutgrass?
A: What is the Best Way to Kill Nutsedge? The best nutsedge killer is a liquid spray application of Uncle’s Nutbuster combined with Stikit, a non-ionic surfactant. This selective herbicide will kill the nutgrass but will not hurt your lawn when applied under the conditions described on the label.

Q: Does mowing kill nutsedge?
A: Depending on your turf type and latitude, you can help control nutsedge or nutgrass by changing the way you mow. Mowing your lawn at the proper height, which in most cases is one of the 2 highest settings on your mower, lets the grass crowd out nutsedge and other weeds.

Q: What is the best product to kill nutgrass?
A: The 2 best Nutgrass control herbicides on the market are SedgeHammer & Certainty, I use them all the time. Get some below and be sure to use a Surfactant and Blue Lazer and make a mixture to last all spring/summer. Sedgehammer Herbicide is for use in established lawns, ornamental turfgrass, and landscape areas.

Q: Does vinegar kill nutgrass?
A: Will vinegar kill nutgrass? A mixture of vinegar and soap is proven to kill many types of weeds and it can prove effective against nut grass. However, it’s not the most efficient treatment and it can cause damage to your lawn and other plants.

Q: What is the difference between purple and yellow nutsedge?
A: Purple nutsedge leaves are dark green, 1/8 to 4/17 of an inch (3–6 mm) wide, and have rounded tips; yellow nutsedge has light green leaves, a pointed tip, and a leaf width of 1/6 to 2/5 of an inch (4–9 mm). Purple and yellow nutsedge are also distinguished by their tubers.

Q: Why should you not pull nutsedge?
A: Pulling nutsedge will increase the number of plants because dormant tubers are activated. However, it is possible to control small stands of nutsedge by persistent pulling. Pulling will eventually weaken the plants and cause them to die out. Herbicide treatments are the best way of controlling this pesky weed.

Q: How do I know if I have purple nutsedge?
A: Purple nutsedge can be identified by its shiny, green, grass-like leaves that are rounded at the tip. All sedges have triangular stems. The flower has multiple stalks that are purple to reddish-brown in color.

Q: Can you get rid of nutgrass by pulling it out?
A: More videos on YouTube Its leaves are grasslike and yellow-green, while the spiky head is purple or yellow. It’s a tough weed to control because it grows from tiny tubers, or nutlets, that form on roots that can grow 8-14 inches deep in the soil. Pull out the roots and some tubers will stay behind to grow.

Q: Can you eat purple nutsedge?
A: Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) also has edible roots. Freshly-dug purple nutsedge has a strong menthol flavor that Cornucopia II compares to Vicks VapoRub, so, while the raw tubers can be eaten immediately, they’re best after drying. Like the yellow variety, purple nutsedge can be eaten boiled or roasted.

Q: How does nutsedge get started?
A: Nutsedges thrive in almost any kind of soil. While they prefer moist soil, established nutsedge plants will thrive even in dry soil. They spread by small tubers, by creeping rhizomes, or by seed. New tubers begin forming four to six weeks after a new shoot emerges.

Q: Is there a natural way to get rid of nutsedge?
A: The best way to start to eliminate Nutsedge organically is to eliminate the conditions that are causing it to thrive, which are moist and compacted soil. It’s possible that you might need to physically put drain pipes in your lawn to help with congested water.

Q: Is purple nutsedge invasive?
A: Cyperus rotundus (purple nutsedge) is a weed in over 90 countries and the world’s worst invasive weed based on its distribution and effect on crops. Its complex underground network of tubers, basal bulbs, roots and rhizomes ensure its ability to survive and reproduce during adverse conditions.

Q: How do I get rid of nutgrass permanently?
A: You can control nutsedge in your lawn by applying Ortho® Nutsedge Killer Ready-To-Spray. It’s effective against newly emerged and established sedges. The weed is yellowed in 1-2 days, and complete kill occurs in 2- 3 weeks. It can be used on Northern and Southern turf grasses and is rainproof in 2 hours.

Q: Is nutsedge good for anything?
A: Nutsedge tubers have a distinct almond-like flavor and have been used as an almond substitute in cookies, confectionery, and even pounded with sugar to make a faux marzipan.

Q: Does nutsedge come back every year?
A: Also known as nutgrass, nutsedges often escape control because they’re not like weed grasses or broadleaf weeds targeted by most weed killers. These perennial weeds are sedges that come back year after year and reproduce in ways that complicate their control.

Q: How do you prevent purple nutsedge?
A: The most effective method for controlling purple nutsedge is to desiccate the tubers by thoroughly tilling the soil to the depth of the deepest tubers at the beginning of a period of hot, dry weather. For this approach to be effective, the tillage must break the tubers free of deep roots.

Q: Are purple nutsedge poisonous?
A: They are excellent raw right out of the ground, boiled or roasted. Its tops are yellowish. Cyperus rotundus, the purple nut sedge, is also edible raw but is laced with the VIC’s aroma which lessen on drying.

Q: Will grass choke out nutsedge?
A: Keeping your lawn healthy, such as mowing at the right height and fertilizing, will allow your grass to have a better chance to choke out the nutsedge. Because the nutlets are difficult to remove, you may also use a nutsedge killer to help eliminate this weed.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.