Dealing with Nuisance Weeds
You’ve just installed your beautiful new ForeverLawn premium synthetic grass lawn. It’s gorgeous. The kids are running on it and staying clean. The dog is rolling on it waiting to play fetch. You are pouring a cold glass of iced tea to sit and watch your neighbor pushing his mower drenched in sweat.
But what is that you see? That couldn’t be, could it? It is. It’s a weed. But how?
You are not alone if this is the situation in which you find yourself. In fact, we see these weeds in up to 30 percent of our installations, especially around this time of year. Florida is host to several pesky nuisance weeds common in natural grass, but there are two specific offenders that invade synthetic grass: nutsedge and torpedo grass.
Both invaders spread almost exclusively through rhizomes – underground stem systems – and attached tubers. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, both grow in warm temperate zones and can sprout shoots from rhizomes buried up to 20 inches deep. Since the installation of turf only requires excavation of about 3 inches of organic materials to reach a solid dirt base, these sneaky weeds are hiding even deeper for their shot in the sunlight.
Another complicating factor is the inconsistency with which we see these weeds appear. Sometimes they return for a few consecutive years and sometimes they don’t sprout at all. Predicting where and when they will appear is nearly impossible.
Let’s look a little closer at each of these weeds in order to best understand how to deal with them.
Yellow and purple nutsedges are the most common type in Florida. Both are prevalent in lawn, flower beds, fields, and other cultivated areas and are very persistent.1 They can reach heights up to three feet and produce deep fibrous roots. Nutsedges are perennial and grow most prolifically during the warm and wet days of the summer.
Weed fabrics, much like the premium backing of our ForeverLawn artificial turf products, prove ineffective as the nutsedge penetrates it. Weed fabrics and the turf backing allow for water and air to pass through, and often have organic materials on top of them that accumulate over time, break down and create a weed-suitable environment.
Torpedo grass is found in almost every county in Florida (64 of the 67), is drought tolerant but thrives best in moist soils.2 Torpedo grass is common and aggressive and, like nutsedges, should be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid large patches and costly removal.
Nuisance weeds are not covered under any of our installation guarantees, warranties or maintenance programs. Responsibility for the mitigation of these falls to the homeowners. There are three primary options:
- Hand-pulling: Weeding removes shoots, but the weeds could continue to regrow until the tubers are removed. However, many ForeverLawn clients have success with eradicating the shoots after a season or two of pulling them as they appear.
- Chemical herbicides: There are several pre-emergence and post-emergence products that work to eliminate the weeds for up to six months at a time, before requiring reapplication. There are a number of products available with varying chemical combinations, and the selection must be made by homeowners according to their personal preferences.
- Natural weed killing mixtures: There are several natural mixtures found online; however, most kill the shoots and not the tubers.
For more information, there are several resources available from UF IFAS, including a “Weed Management Guide for Florida Lawns” at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP14100.pdf and “The Lowdown on Sedge in Turf” at https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/orangeco/2018/09/28/the-lowdown-on-sedge-in-turf/.
1 University of Florida/IFAS, “Biology and Management of Yellow (Cyperus escuelentus) and Purple Nutsedge (C. rotundus) in Ornamental Crop Production and Landscapes”,
2 University of Florida/IFAS, “NISAW 2017: It is Common and Abundant, but Torpedo Grass is Still a Problem”,