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What Does Nut Grass Look Like?

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Shanesubber Richardson Profile
Nutgrass, otherwise known as purple nut sedge, or cyperus rotundas is a perennial herb (which means that it will grow back year after year) that grows to between 20 to 50 cm tall. The stems are a triangular shape without branches, and the leaves look like dark green grass, with a very noticeable vein on the underside of them.

Nutgrass flowers between the middle of January up until March, with the flower heads standing 10 to 60 cm high on the three sided stems. They are a reddish colour, though they can also be a purple brown and they look like a cluster of flattened spikes.

This plant manages to spread itself by becoming attached to farming equipment like ploughs and hoes, which is not good because it has been described as the worst weed in the world because it so aggressive and is resistant to weed killers and other methods of control.

Although Nutgrass is native to India, there are records of it being found in New Zealand in 1883, which is illustrative of its tenacity. It is capable of smothering other plants, including crops, and is also responsible for taking huge amounts of nutrients and moisture from the earth. Its rhizomes are capable of breaking through tarmac paths and plastic sheeting and can spread by over a metre every year if left undisturbed.

Getting rid of Nutgrass is not easy, but there are some things that can be done to reduce spreading it, such as making sure that all cultivation tools are thoroughly cleaned after use. All new shoots need to be killed but this takes persistence and dedication for it to be successful. The chains of tubers must also be destroyed, but to do this you have to dig deep and try to bring all the roots to the surface.

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