Nutgrass and Sugar

rjr1(z5ma)March 9, 2011

I have seen where you spray your lawn with Dawn Dish detergent (and water) and then sprinkle sugar on the Nutgrass and then lightly water in... my questions are:

1) Does it work?

2) What kind of sugar?

3) What do you use to sprinkle the sugar on the lawn

4) What time of year do you do this? How many times?

5) How do you know it is working?

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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

Sounds like a waste of time and sugar. The grass will get very green where ever you pour sugar.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 9:02PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I have heard of repeated apps of molasses working for people who already have an organic lawn; however, before we get exotic, let's analyze your situation.

Where do you live? Does ma mean Massachusetts?
What kind of grass do you have?
Is your problem area in a low lying area relative to the rest of the lawn?
How often do you water? and for how long?
How would you describe your soil (Sandy, clayey, etc.)?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 5:45PM
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rjr1(z5ma)

I live in Western Massachusetts, grass is mixture of fescues and bluegrass, perennial rye, problem is on the treebelt and in the front lawn (full sun areas), water almost every day in hot weather,40 minutes in 4 zones, have normal loam 2 feet down and then red clay.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 7:15PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Wow I just caught this before it drifted off the page. Almost lost you there.

Stop watering so much. You are creating your own swamp. Nutgrass is a swamp grass that thrives under the conditions you created. Since your grass is used to the frequent irrigation, it has adapted with short roots. If you go cold turkey to pull back on the watering, you could induce drought stress and lose the lawn. Instead try skipping a day and see what happens. Or rather, since it is not that hot yet, start now and move toward longer durations of watering and longer times before watering again. For example during the hottest part of summer I water once a week or every 10 days, but I water for 3-5 hours per zone. With my water pressure and sprinkler, it applies 1/8 inch per hour so I put down 3/8 to 5/8 inch per week and that is during the hottest weather. Every lawn will be different but not that much different. The difference between Florida sand and Pennsylvania clay is not that drastic. Deep and infrequent is the mantra.

When you allow the soil to dry out at the surface for a few days, you will notice the grass will remain nice but the soil hardens. That is normal. Dry soil at the surface will not allow weed seeds to sprout. And with this different regimen the nutgrass should go away. It really (REALLY) likes moisture. My earlier questions were aimed at what I suspected that you had a low spot in the yard where you got standing water. Not your case as far as you know, but it could be out by the street. In your case frequent watering is the problem.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 10:33PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

QUOTE "The difference between Florida sand and Pennsylvania clay is not that drastic."

The Florida sand can have the top 6" dry out in one day. There is a drastic difference, sand does not hold water.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:29AM
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gags

Another question for the OP (original poster) - do you think you're seeing nutgrass now? Is that different from nutsedge? If not, it's way too early for nutsedge to be appearing, especially in W. Mass - I'm guessing you're just preparing for the summer, as you probably still have snow on the ground?

Regards,

Gags

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 3:27AM
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rjr1(z5ma)

No Nutgrass now... will see this only when the weather gets very hot.. or on the tree belt earlier as the pavement from the road gets hot. Trying to prepare now with the best thing to kill it when it appears, or if there is some pre-emergence application I can use???

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:14AM
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gags

If the nutsedge is already growing, wouldn't the Corn Gluten (CG) just act as a fertilizer? What does the combination of sugar and fertilizer do to harm a nutsedge plant?

FYI rjrl - depending on the extent of your infestation, according to my local nursery, you can pull nutsedge early on with no side effect. Pulling a full grown plant will, however, leave the "nuts" behind (ouch!) and give you plenty of new plants the next year.

The traditional (non-organic) method is to use Sedgehammer. (Active ingredient Surflux-a-prop or something like that - going from memory, don't quote me on that!) It used to be about $20-25 per application, but last year I've seen other brands with the same make-up selling for much cheaper.

But generally - improving your drainage (by not watering as much) may be all you need to change the conditions that are encouraging the growth.

--Gags

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 1:28PM
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nearandwest(7)

I have no idea about using sugar, but I do know that any product containing the active ingredient halosulfuron will work to control nutsedge or green kyllinga. Do not mow 2 days before or 2 days after the application, and use a non-ionic surfactant in your spray tank.

And yes, allowing the area to dry out and not stay so wet would be very helpful.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 6:53PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

botanicalbill said...

QUOTE "The difference between Florida sand and Pennsylvania clay is not that drastic."

The Florida sand can have the top 6" dry out in one day. There is a drastic difference, sand does not hold water.

Lets discuss this sometime. Maybe this is the wrong thread but you're the perfect person. The topic would be watering frequency in sand and summer heat. Florida would be the problem area. Other parts of the world have sand and cooler weather, but I would not think their issues would be the same.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:54PM
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