WSU Extension


Weeds : Yellow nutsedge : Cyperus esculentus
(revision date: 6/9/2014)

Family: Cyperaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Yellow nutsedge is an aggressive, creeping perennial that resembles a grass but has triangular stems. Plants range in height from 6 to 30 inches tall. True leaves originate from the base of each stem. Leaves and stems have a waxy or shiny appearance. Flower spikelets are yellowish-brown and borne on the ends of slender branches above three long, leaf-like bracts. Yellow nutsedge can spread by seed, creeping rootstocks, or by small underground nutlets. These nutlets may lie dormant in the soil for several years before developing into new plants. SPECIAL INFORMATION: Yellow nutsedge is designated as a Class 'B' noxious weed in both WASHINGTON and OREGON. Management of this species may be required by law in your county. Consult your local Noxious Weed Control Board for more information.
Yellow nutsedge thrives in areas with warm summers or mild winters. It prefers moist and sandy/loamy soils. One of the world's most significant weeds, yellow nutsedge can occasionally be found in Pacific Northwest landscapes and gardens.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply according to label instructions. Use glyphosate products as spot treatments only! Mulching is ineffective. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
Turf areas
    Bare ground areas
    • glyphosate
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    Caption: Yellow nutsedge
    Photo by: Washington Noxious Weed Board slide collection
    Caption: Yellow nutsedge roots and nutlets
    Photo by: R. Parker
    Caption: Yellow nutsedge flowers
    Photo by: R. Parker
    Caption: Yellow nutsedge in field
    Photo by: C.A. Rice
    Caption: Yellow nutsedge bulb sprout
    Photo by: C.A. Rice
    Caption: Yellow nutsedge triangular stem
    Photo by: C.A. Rice