Q.) Our back yard has been over taken almost completely by nut grass. There is hardly any grass left except the extreme edges. What do we do? Should we tear it all up and start over? Or is there a weed control product that would work?
Nut grass, also known as nutsedge, (because it is a sedge and not really a grass) is difficult to control because it has little nuts or tubers on its roots from which it can sprout anew when the top of the plant is destroyed. It also spreads by seed.
There are several products that will eliminate it from your yard. The best product is called “Manage”, which is now sold as “Sedge Hammer”; you may have more luck finding it on-line than in your local garden center. The other product is called “Image Nutsedge Killer” which may be more readily available in your local gardening center.
With either product be sure to follow the instructions to the letter and avoid applying it when the weather is windy to avoid damaging the rest of your landscape. Both products will require more than one application so it may be a two year process before complete control is attained. Apply the herbicide as soon as possible; wait a month or two and apply again when the nutsedge reappears.
I would also suggest using a pre-emergent herbicide to manage any seed germination of the nutsedge. Corn gluten is an eco-friendly solution that may take a couple of years to work to its fullest potential but will not do any harm to you in the long run. It is all organic and in addition returns nitrogen to the soil, so you might want to give this a try. Espoma is a good source.
If you tear it all up and start over, you will continue to have problems with the nutsedge unless you can remove all the nutsedge roots, nutlets and seeds. As with any chemical, use with caution and be sure to read the label for proper application instructions. Also be sure it is compatible with your type of lawn.