NC State Extension Publications

Description

Purple nutsedge is a native of India and is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions of the world and is not as cold tolerant as yellow nutsedge. This weed tends to be more of a problem in warm-season turf. As with yellow nutsedge, purple nutsedge is a perennial that produces tubers on rhizomes. However, there are several ways the species can be distinguished from each other. Purple nutsedge produces tubers in chains connected by rhizomes, whereas yellow nutsedge only produces tubers at the tips of rhizomes. Purple nutsedge tends to have darker green leaves and produces a characteristic reddish-purple seedhead. The leaf tips of purple nutsedge tend to be blunter than those of yellow. This species is much more difficult to control than yellow nutsedge, so proper identification is important.

Cultural Control

It is important to properly distinguish sedges from grasses because management is totally different. Sedges are plants that thrive in wet or poorly drained soils but can survive in areas that are not wet. Because of frequent irrigation in highly maintained turf, sedges often thrive in the turfgrass environment. Sedges often become established in wet areas and spread to other areas that are not poorly drained or wet areas. Therefore, it is important to recognize areas where sedges can become established and prevent spread of these sedge species to other areas of the golf course or landscape.

Chemical Control


Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Preemergence and Postemergence Control
mesotrione MOA 27 (4 SC) (Tenacity) 0.092 to 0.183 fl oz 4 to 8 fl oz 0.125 to 0.25
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.​
[sulfentrazone + prodiamine], MOA 14 + 3 (4 SC) (Echelon) 0.184 to 0.826 fl oz 0.5 to 2.25 pt 0.25 to 1.125
Precaution and Remarks: For use in residential and institutional lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, golf course fairways and roughs, roadsides, utility right-of-ways, railways, and industrial areas. Apply to turf following a second mowing if a good root system has been established. Apply up to 12 fluid ounces per acre to bentgrass at 0.5 inch or higher, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Apply 18 to 24 fluid ounces per acre to perennial bluegrass, tall fescue, and all warm season grasses except St. Augustinegrass (do not apply) and bermudagrass (apply 18 to 36 fluid ounces per acre). For sod production, apply 6 months after establishment, and do not harvest within 3 months. Do not apply with adjuvants or surfactants. [Sulfentrazone + prodiamine should not be applied to cool-season turf with N-containing fertilizers unless some short-term discoloration is tolerable.
Postemergence Control
Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
MSMA, MOA 17 (6 SL, 6.6 SL) (various brands) several concentrations 1.82 to 4.5
Precaution and Remarks: MSMA is only registered for golf course, sod farm, and highway right-of-way use. Bermudagrass, bluegrass and zoysiagrass are tolerant. Injury may result on bentgrass, fescue and also St. Augustinegrass grown for commercial sod production only. Do not use on carpetgrass or centipedegrass. MSMA restrictions: For existing golf courses, spot treat (100 square feet per spot) not to exceed 25% of total acreage. For new courses, make 1 broadcast application per year. For sod farms, make 1 to 2 broadcast applications per year and maintain 25 feet buffer around permanent water bodies. For highway rights of way, make 2 broadcast applications and maintain 100 feet buffer around permanent water bodies.
flazasulfuron, MOA 2 (25 DG) (Katana) 0.034 to 0.069 oz 1.5 to 3 oz 0.023 to 0.0469
Precaution and Remarks: For use on well established bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass and seashore paspalum grown on nonresidential turf including golf course fairways, roughs and tees, and industrial parks, tank-sod- and seed farms, cemeteries, athletic field and commercial lawns. Apply a maximum of 1.5 ounces per acre on fully green centipedegrass and seashore paspalum. 3 ounces per acre needed for perennial nutsedge and some annual sedge species control. Repeat applications in 2 to 6 weeks when nutsedge or sedge growth is evident. 1.5 to 2.25 ounces per acre will control kyllinga species. Maintain a 25 feet nontreated border beside susceptible turf species. Can overseed in 2 weeks if applied up to 1.5 ounces per acre. Wait 4 weeks if applied more than 1.5 ounces per acre. Include a nonionic surfactant at 0.25% by volume.​
imazaquin, MOA 2 (70 DG) (Image 70 DG) 0.128 to 0.256 oz 0.357 to 0.714 lb 0.25 to 0.5
Precaution and Remarks: Use on bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. Do not apply during spring greenup. Temporary yellowing may occur. Add a nonionic surfactant at 2 pt per 100 gal of spray solution. Addition of MSMA at 1.5 lb active per acre will improve sedge control in MSMA tolerant turfgrasses. ​
imazosulfuron, MOA 2 (75 WG) (Celero) 0.184 to 0.322 oz 8 to 14 oz 0.38 to 0.66
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to established (two mowings) residential and commercial bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. Do not apply to putting greens. Reapply 3 weeks after initial application when using the 8 ounces per acre rate. Reapply as needed 3 weeks after initial application when using rates above 8 ounces per acre. Wait 4 weeks to seed or sod after application. Use an 80% active nonionic surfactant at 0.25% by volume. For spot treatment, add 0.25 to 0.33 oz in 1 to 2 gallons of water per 1000 square feet. Add 2 teaspoons nonionic surfactant per gallon.
halosulfuron, MOA 2 (75 WDG) (various brands) 0.9 g 0.67 to 1.33 oz 0.031 to 0.062
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to established residential and commercial bermudagrass, bahiagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. Apply broadcast when sedges have reached the 3- to 8-leaf stage. Use lower rate for light infestations and higher rate for heavy infestations. A second treatment will usually be required 6 to 10 weeks after the initial treatment. Use an 80% active nonionic surfactant at 2 quarts per 100 gallons of spray solution (0.5% by volume). Do not exceed 1 to 2 pints of surfactant per acre. Do not apply to putting greens. Halosulfuron only suppresses green kyllinga.​
MSMA, MOA 17 (6 SL, 6.6 SL) (various brands) several concentrations 2 to 3
Precaution and Remarks: See remarks for MSMA above. Will require at least 2 applications 7 to 10 days apart.​
sulfosulfuron, MOA 2 (75 DG) (various brands) 0.017 to 0.029 oz 0.75 to 1.25 oz 0.035 to 0.059
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to certain ornamental native grasses and also bermudagrass species, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and kikuyugrass grown on sod farms, golf courses (excluding greens), commercial and residential turf that is highly managed, and other noncrop areas. Use 0.75 to 1.25 ounces per acre, and repeat in 4 to 10 weeks if needed. Use a nonionic surfactant at 0.25% by volume.
trifloxysulfuron, MOA 2 (75 WG) (Monument) 0.0023 to 0.0129 oz 0.1 to 0.56 oz 0.0047 to 0.0263
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to residential bermudagrass and zoysiagrass and also on golf courses, sod farms, and other nonresidential turf areas. A nonionic surfactant at 0.25 to 0.5% by volume is recommended. Temporary discoloration may occur if used with MSO or COC. Use rates of 0.33 to 0.56 ounces per acre for sedge and kyllinga species control. Labeled turf species can be seeded or sprigged into treated areas 4 weeks after application. Repeat application may be needed in 4 to 6 weeks.​
sulfentrazone, MOA 14 (4 SC) (Dismiss Turf) 0.092 to 0.275 fl oz 0.25 to 0.75 pt 0.125 to 0.375
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to home lawns. For use on creeping bentgrass, tall and fine fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and all warm-season turf species except St. Augustinegrass. Wait 3 months to seed, overseed, or sprig unless overseeding bermudagrass with perennial ryegrass, which only requires a 4- to 6-week waiting period after application. Apply to seedling grasses after second mowing and to new sod 6 months after establishment.​
[sulfentrazone + imazethapyr], MOA 14 + 2 (4 SC) (Dismiss South) 0.22 to 0.33 fl oz 9.5 to 14.4 fl oz 0.29 to 0.45
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to home lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, golf course fairways and roughs, and various non-crop sites. For use on bahiagrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, and zoysiagrass. Do not apply to soils classified as sand with less than 1% organic matter. Do not reseed, overseed, or sprig within 1 month of application. Expect slight perennial ryegrass injury if overseeded 2 to 4 weeks after application. Allow 3 month sod establishment before treatment.​
[sulfentrazone + metsulfuron], MOA 14 + 2 (66 WG) (Blindside) 0.075 to 0.23 oz 3.25 to 10 oz 0.134 to 0.413
Precaution and Remarks: May be applied to established residential, commercial and institutional lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, and golf course fairways and roughs. Use up to 6.5 ounces per acre on Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue and 10 ounces per acre on bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass. Do not reseed, overseed, or sprig within 1 month of application. Expect slight perennial ryegrass injury if overseeded 6 to 8 weeks after application. Allow 3 months sod establishment before treatment. No adjuvant needed.
imazapic, MOA 2 (2 AS) (various brands) 0.092 to 0.184 fl oz 4 to 8 oz 0.063 to 0.125
Precaution and Remarks: For use on unimproved centipedegrass after complete greenup only. Not for use in home lawns. Do not use on other turfgrass species. A repeat application may be needed on tough to control perennial weeds such as bahiagrass. The highest labeled rate may discolor centipedegrass by causing a red color.​

Species Data

Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 1: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 2: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Purple Nutsedge compared to Yellow Nutsedge

Figure 3: Purple Nutsedge versus Yellow Nutsedge

Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 4: Purple Nutsedge Seedhead

Purple versus Yellow Nutsedge Seedhead

Figure 5: Purple versus Yellow Nutsedge Seedhead

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 6: Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 7: Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 8: Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Figure 9: Purple Nutsedge Tuber

Author:

Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist
Crop and Soil Sciences

Publication date: Oct. 31, 2017

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by NC State University or N.C. A&T State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension county center.

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