Killing Kyllinga: How to Get Rid of This Pesky Sedge Weed in Your Lawn

Few things are as frustrating for a homeowner as battling persistent weeds in an otherwise lush and well-maintained lawn. Among the most stubborn and invasive of these unwanted intruders is kyllinga grass, a perennial weed that can quickly take over, leaving your lawn looking patchy and uneven. This tough, fast-spreading grass not only disrupts the aesthetic appeal of your yard but also competes with your desirable grasses for nutrients and water.

In this article, we will guide you through effective methods to identify, control, and ultimately eliminate kyllinga grass from your lawn. By combining preventative measures, mechanical techniques, and targeted herbicides, you can reclaim your lawn and maintain its health and beauty. We'll also highlight some of the best products available to help you in your fight against kyllinga grass, ensuring you have the right tools at your disposal for a pristine, weed-free lawn.

What Is Kyllinga Grass?

Kyllinga grass is a problematic perennial weed that can wreak havoc on lawns, gardens, and landscaped areas. This grass, which belongs to the sedge family,  is notorious for its rapid spread and resilience, making it a formidable opponent for homeowners and lawn care enthusiasts. Understanding what kyllinga grass is and why it poses such a challenge is the first step in effectively managing and eliminating it from your lawn.

Identifying Kyllinga

Kyllinga grass is characterized by its dense, mat-forming growth habit. It features narrow, bright green leaves that taper to a point, giving it a fine-textured appearance. One of the most distinctive features of kyllinga grass is its seed head, which resembles a small, greenish-white flower spike that turns brown as it matures. These seed heads can appear throughout the growing season, contributing to the weed's ability to spread quickly.

Types of Kyllinga

There are several species of kyllinga grass, but the most common and troublesome types found in lawns are:

1. Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga brevifolia)

Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga brevifolia)
  • Description: green kyllinga is one of the most common and aggressive species. It forms dense, mat-like patches and can quickly spread across lawns, especially in moist areas.
  • Appearance: This species has narrow, bright green leaves and small, greenish-white flower spikes that turn brown as they mature. The flower spikes are about the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Growth conditions: Prefers moist, poorly drained soils but can also thrive in well-irrigated lawns. It is commonly found in warm, humid climates.

2. False Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga gracillima)

False Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga gracillima)
  • Description: Similar to green kyllinga but slightly less aggressive. It can still spread quickly and create dense patches in lawns and gardens.
  • Appearance: False green kyllinga has slender, bright green leaves and small, spiky flower heads that resemble those of green kyllinga. The flower spikes also turn brown as they mature.
  • Growth conditions: Thrives in moist, well-drained soils and is often found in areas with regular irrigation.

3. Annual Kyllinga (Kyllinga odorata)

Annual Kyllinga (Kyllinga odorata)
  • Description: Annual kyllinga is less common but can still be a problematic weed. As the name suggests, it is an annual plant, completing its life cycle in one growing season.
  • Appearance: This species has bright green leaves and small, oval-shaped flower heads. When crushed, the flower heads emit a pleasant aroma, hence the name "odorata."
  • Growth conditions: Prefers moist, sunny areas and can often be found in gardens, lawns, and along water bodies.

4. White Kyllinga (Kyllinga nemoralis)

White Kyllinga (Kyllinga nemoralis)
  • Description: White kyllinga is another species that can become invasive in lawns and gardens. It is less common in temperate regions but can be found in tropical and subtropical areas.
  • Appearance: This species features narrow, bright green leaves and small, white flower heads. The flower heads are slightly larger than those of green kyllinga.
  • Growth conditions: Thrives in moist, well-drained soils and is often found in areas with high humidity and consistent moisture.

Related: What Types of Weeds Look Like Grass?

Impact of Kyllinga on Lawns

Kyllinga grass poses several problems for lawn health and aesthetics:

  • Competition: It competes with desirable lawn grasses for water, nutrients, and sunlight, often outgrowing them and leading to sparse, weakened turf.
  • Aesthetic damage: Its fast-spreading nature and dense growth can create unsightly patches, disrupting the uniform look of a well-manicured lawn.
  • Difficulty in control: Once established, kyllinga grass is challenging to eradicate due to its resilience and aggressive growth.

Growth Conditions

Understanding where kyllinga grass thrives can help you identify and manage it more effectively:

  • Moisture: Kyllinga grass prefers moist, poorly drained areas. It often invades lawns with drainage issues, standing water, or excessive irrigation.
  • Sunlight: While it can tolerate some shade, kyllinga grass typically thrives in sunny conditions. Areas of your lawn that receive full sun are more likely to be affected.
  • Soil Type: This weed is adaptable to various soil types but favors compacted or heavy clay soils that retain moisture.

Seasonal Growth Patterns

Kyllinga grass has specific growth patterns that can help in its identification:

  • Warm-season growth: It is most active during the warm months of spring and summer. During this period, it grows rapidly and produces seed heads.
  • Dormancy: In cooler weather, kyllinga grass may become dormant, making it less noticeable. However, it can quickly re-emerge when conditions become favorable again.

Related: Which Lawn Weeds Have White Flowers?

Prevention Strategies

Preventing kyllinga grass from establishing in your lawn is the most effective way to manage this invasive weed. By implementing proper lawn care practices and addressing the conditions that favor its growth, you can create an environment that discourages kyllinga grass while promoting the health of your desirable turfgrass. Here are some key prevention strategies to keep kyllinga grass at bay.

Proper Lawn Care

Maintaining a healthy lawn is your first line of defense against kyllinga grass. A well-maintained lawn is more resistant to weed invasions, including kyllinga. Focus on the following aspects of lawn care:

  • Mowing practices: Mow your lawn at the recommended height for your specific grass type. Avoid cutting the grass too short; this can stress the turf and create opportunities for weeds to establish. Regular mowing at the right height encourages dense grass growth, which helps shade out weed seedlings.
  • Adequate watering: Water your lawn deeply and infrequently rather than providing frequent, shallow watering. Deep watering encourages deeper root growth and makes your lawn more drought-tolerant. Ensure your lawn is not overwatered, as excessive moisture creates ideal conditions for kyllinga grass.
  • Fertilization: Apply fertilizer according to the needs of your lawn grass species. Proper fertilization promotes vigorous growth, which helps your lawn outcompete weeds. Avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to excessive thatch and other problems that favor weed growth.

Soil Management

Managing the soil conditions in your lawn can significantly reduce the chances of kyllinga grass taking hold. Focus on the following soil management practices:

  • Improving drainage: Kyllinga grass thrives in moist, poorly drained soils. Improve drainage in your lawn by aerating the soil regularly. Aeration helps reduce soil compaction, allowing water to penetrate more deeply and reducing surface moisture. You can also consider installing drainage solutions in areas prone to standing water.
  • Soil testing and amendment: Conduct a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient levels of your lawn soil. Based on the results, amend the soil to create optimal conditions for your desired grass species. For example, if your soil is too acidic, applying MAG-I-CAL® PLUS Soil Food for Lawns to raise soil pH can help increase the pH to a more suitable level.

Mechanical Control Methods

Mechanical control methods offer a hands-on approach to managing kyllinga grass in your lawn. These methods focus on physically removing the weed and managing the conditions that favor its growth without the use of chemicals. Here are some effective mechanical control techniques to help you get rid of kyllinga grass:

Manual Removal

Hand-pulling kyllinga grass can be effective, especially for small infestations. Here are the steps to manually remove kyllinga grass:

  • Identify the weed: Ensure you correctly identify kyllinga grass before removal to avoid unnecessary disturbance to your lawn.
  • Water the area: Water the area thoroughly a day before pulling the weeds. Moist soil makes it easier to remove the entire root system.
  • Use the right tools: Use a weeding tool or a small garden fork to loosen the soil around the kyllinga grass clump.
  • Pull the weed: Grasp the weed close to the base and pull it out, making sure to remove the entire root system. Incomplete removal can lead to regrowth.
  • Dispose properly: Dispose of the pulled weeds in a manner that prevents them from re-rooting or spreading seeds.

Mowing Techniques

Mowing your lawn correctly can help manage kyllinga grass by preventing it from producing seed heads and spreading. Follow these mowing tips:

  • Mow regularly: Keep your lawn mowed to the appropriate height for your grass species. Regular mowing can stress kyllinga grass and reduce its ability to compete with your turfgrass.
  • Avoid scalping: Do not mow too low (other than at the beginning of the season), as scalping can damage your lawn and create bare spots where kyllinga grass can establish.
  • Bag clippings: If you have a significant kyllinga infestation, consider bagging your grass clippings to prevent the seeds from spreading.


Mulching can suppress kyllinga grass by blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating. Here’s how to use mulch effectively:

  • Choose the right mulch: Use organic mulches like wood chips, bark, compost, or a special organic compost and biochar such as Essential G™, which contains reclaimed coffee grounds, premium organics, humate, biochar, and silicon. These materials decompose slowly and provide long-lasting coverage.
  • Apply a thick layer: Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around trees, shrubs, and garden beds. Ensure the mulch is spread evenly and not piled up against plant stems.
  • Reapply as needed: Maintain the mulch layer by adding more material as it decomposes and settles.

For larger infestations or persistent problems, combining mechanical methods with herbicide control can provide a more comprehensive solution.

Herbicide Control Methods

Using the right herbicides and applying them correctly is crucial to targeting kyllinga grass while minimizing damage to your lawn. Here’s a guide to using herbicides for kyllinga grass control:

Selective Herbicides

Selective herbicides are designed to target specific weeds without harming desirable lawn grasses. Below are several recommended selective herbicide products for kyllinga grass, along with their application instructions and suitable grass types.

1. Tenacity and Sedgehammer® Herbicide Kit


Description: This kit includes Tenacity and Sedgehammer® herbicides, a surfactant, and a dye. Tenacity is a systemic herbicide that controls a broad range of weeds, including kyllinga grass, while Sedgehammer® targets sedges and other grassy weeds. The surfactant improves herbicide adherence to the leaves, and the blue marker dye helps ensure even application.

Application Instructions:

  • Combine the herbicides according to the manufacturer’s directions, combining them with the included surfactant and dye.
  • Apply using a battery-powered 4-gallon sprayer with a TeeJet foliar spray tip. These herbicides are not to be applied via a hose-end sprayer.
  • Apply during the active growing season of kyllinga grass (spring through summer) for the best results. Do not apply if temperatures are over 100F. If temps are that high, apply in the evening when they dip below 100F and elect to spot spray instead of blanket spraying.
  • Do not mow immediately after using this product or before the spray has dried. After treatment, do not transfer clippings to non-target areas.

Suitable Grass Types: Safe for use on cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and Fescue, as well as Centipede warm-season grass.

2. Celsius and Certainty Herbicide Kit


Description: This kit includes Celsius and Certainty herbicides, a surfactant, and a dye. Celsius controls a wide range of broadleaf and grassy weeds, while Certainty is specifically effective against sedges and other tough weeds. The surfactant enhances herbicide adherence, and the blue marker dye ensures accurate application.

Application Instructions:

  • Use the herbicides, including surfactant and dye, according to the instructions provided.
  • This should be applied from a battery-powered 4-gallon sprayer with a TeeJet foliar spray tip. These herbicides are not to be applied via a hose-end sprayer.
  • Apply when kyllinga grass is actively growing and during moderate weather conditions.
  • For best results, do not mow two days before and two days after the application.  For example, if you plan to spray Celsius and Certainty on Saturday, your last mow would be on Thursday. You would resume mowing on the following Tuesday.

Suitable Grass Types: Safe for use on warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine, but should not be applied to Bahiagrass.

3. HALO Select™ Herbicide (Halosulfuron)


Description: HALO Select™ contains halosulfuron, which is effective against sedges, including kyllinga grass. This product is a powerful tool for targeting difficult-to-control weeds in lawns and landscaped areas.

Application Instructions:

  • This weed killer is a “WDG,” which stands for “water dispersible granule.” This means the product is dry, and you add it to water and spray it.
  • This should be applied from a battery-powered 4-gallon sprayer with a TeeJet foliar spray tip. These herbicides are not to be applied via a hose-end sprayer.
  • Because this weed killer is safe for grass, it can take up to 21 days to see full results, but it works very well against kyllinga grass, yellow nutsedge, and other weeds.
  • Available in two sizes: 
    • The Halo 5 WDG pouch 13.5g is an easy-to-use, one-time-use pouch that covers 1,000 sq ft when added to 1 gallon of water. This pouch weighs 13.5 grams. This size can be used for blanket sprays of up to 1,000 sq ft but is primarily recommended for spot sprays. This version also contains a surfactant already. There is no need to add more.
    • The Halo 75 WDG 1.33oz is a larger bottle containing 1.33 oz of highly concentrated Halosulfuron-methyl. It comes with a small scoop, and one level scoop is added to 1 gallon of water to cover 1,000 sq ft or for spot sprays. The 1.33oz bottle can cover 1 acre or approximately 43,500 sq ft. You will want to add a surfactant along with this product to your spray tank.

Suitable Grass Types: Suitable for both cool-season and warm-season grasses, including Bermuda, Zoysia, Kentucky Bluegrass, and all Fescues.

4. Recognition® Herbicide


Description: Recognition® Herbicide controls broadleaf and sedge weeds, making it effective against kyllinga grass. It is designed for use on warm-season turf and provides selective weed control without damaging the desirable grass.

Application Instructions:

Suitable Grass Types: Great for southern grasses such as Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine without fear of damaging turf.

Application Tips

For effective herbicide use, follow these best practices:

  • Timing: Apply herbicides when kyllinga grass is actively growing and before it sets seed. Early morning or late afternoon applications are often most effective.
  • Weather conditions: Avoid applying herbicides during windy, rainy, or excessively hot weather. Ideal conditions are calm, dry days with moderate temperatures.
  • Equipment: Use appropriate equipment, such as a hand-held or backpack sprayer, for precise application. Clean equipment thoroughly after use to prevent contamination.
  • Follow-up treatments: Monitor treated areas and perform follow-up applications as needed to ensure complete control. Some herbicides may require multiple applications for best results.

Combining selective herbicides with proper application techniques can significantly reduce kyllinga grass infestations. However, always read and follow the herbicide label instructions for safe and effective use.

Related: The Best Four Products for Killing Weeds Without Killing Grass

Post-treatment Lawn Care

After implementing control measures to eradicate kyllinga grass from your lawn, it's essential to focus on post-treatment lawn care to promote recovery and prevent future infestations. These steps will help restore your lawn's health and resilience while maintaining a weed-free environment:

Lawn Recovery

  • Overseed bare spots: Reseed areas where kyllinga grass was removed or treated with desirable grass species. Overseeding helps fill in bare spots and promotes a dense, uniform turf.
  • Topdressing: Apply a thin layer of top dressing, such as compost or topsoil, to improve soil structure and encourage new grass growth.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist to promote germination and the establishment of new grass seedlings. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

Continued Maintenance

  • Regular mowing: Resume regular mowing once new grass seedlings have been established. Mow at the appropriate height for your grass species to maintain a healthy lawn.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer according to the needs of your lawn grass. Avoid over-fertilization, as excessive nutrients can promote weed growth.
  • Weed monitoring: Keep an eye out for any signs of kyllinga grass regrowth or new weed infestations. Promptly address any emerging weed problems to prevent them from spreading.

Soil Health

  • Aeration: Aerating your lawn helps alleviate soil compaction and improve air and water penetration. Consider aerating annually to promote healthy root growth and nutrient uptake.
  • Soil testing: Periodically test your soil to monitor pH levels and nutrient levels. Amend the soil as needed to maintain optimal growing conditions for your grass species.
  • Organic matter addition: Incorporate organic matter, such as compost, into the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Organic matter also enhances microbial activity, which benefits soil health.

Related: The Best Nutsedge Weed Killers

Managing kyllinga grass in your lawn can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and products, you can achieve success. By identifying the characteristics of kyllinga grass, implementing preventative measures, and using a combination of mechanical and chemical control methods, you can effectively eradicate this invasive weed and restore the health and beauty of your lawn.

Are you ready to take your lawn to the next level? Visit our store to explore our wide range of high-quality lawn care products, including herbicides, fertilizers, and biostimulants.