Crabgrass vs nutsedge is a comparison that might confuse even veteran turf owners. Both are notorious for being annoying weeds that are hard to eliminate.

Crabgrass vs Nutsedge Comparison

This review article discusses all the points that will help you identify both as well as practical tips on effectively killing them. So, what are you waiting for? This ultimate comparison guide is waiting for you to dive in!

Crabgrass vs Nutsedge: Table Of Comparison 

Categories Crabgrass Nutsedge
Scientific Name Digitaria Cyperus rotundus
Native Europe and Asia Eastern Mediterranean 
Uses Used in farms as food for grazing animals
  • Some varieties have ornamental value.
  • Some nutsedge varieties can be used for medicinal purposes
  • Most are toxic weeds.
  • A vibrant light green in color
  • Low growing grass
  • Leaf sheath has small hair growing on it 
  • Bright green to yellow-green leaves
  • Grows straight in bunches of up to 13 leaves
Grass Type Annual Perennial 
Flowers Produces no flowers Produces yellow or purple flowers on spikelets

What Is The Difference Between Crabgrass vs Nutsedge?

The main difference between these two is that crabgrass is an actual member of the grass family, whereas nutsedge only looks like one. Crabgrass is very useful as the ideal grass in farmlands for grazing animals, whereas nutsedge can be noxious when ingested. 

What Are The Characteristics of Crabgrass?

Some important characteristics of crabgrass are that it is a warm season annual type of weed that serves as a portion of tasty food for grazing farm animals.

– It is a Warm Season Annual Grass

Crabgrass is a low-growing grass that grows mostly in warmer regions where the temperatures are usually more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. They begin sprouting all over your lawn beginning in the spring and through summer until early autumn.

When the temperature falls below 55 degrees late, this grass begins to turn brown. Since crabgrass is an annual grass, it will die from frost during wintertime.

It will not turn green again in the spring, which for some is the only silver lining about this grass. However, its seeds still survive through the winters and will germinate when the temperatures rise back again. 

– Ideal For Farmlands

Crabgrass is ideal for growing in farmlands for grazing animals. For some reason, these animals, such as sheep and horses, really like the taste of this grass. In turn, these animals keep the growth of this weed in check.

Crabgrass Features

Crabgrass has the ability to grow in any soil, even if they are relatively poor in quality, both water and nutrition-wise. In farmlands, it can grow up to 35 inches tall if left unbothered. 

– It Is an Invasive Weed

Crabgrass is one of the most common weeds taking over lawns and gardens in warm regions. It grows very low towards the ground but will grow taller if the lawn is not looked after for long.

That is why you might not even notice it initially. Unlike most other weeds, it does not grow very thickly and is mostly found in bare lawn patches and between cracks in the driveway.

Still, they don’t look very good and give your lawn an overall rough appearance too. Grasses like Bermuda that are not too competitive are at risk of being eradicated by this weed if left to its own devices.

– The Simplest Way To Get Rid of Crabgrass

The simplest way to get rid of crabgrass is to buy a good-quality pre-emergent herbicide. These prevent the seeds from germinating and growing into fresh grass.

Crabgrass seeds germinate when the soil temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why the best time to apply this herbicide is from early spring till early summer, and keep a soil thermometer at hand.

The very start of spring, before you reseed your lawn, is the best time to uproot the grown crabgrass seed. During winter, this grass naturally dies and turns brown. When you uproot them, hold them tightly with your fist and pull them so that the roots come out as well.

Keep your grass thriving by regularly fertilizing and keeping its height at three inches at least. Cover the soil with mulch to keep it cool and prevent crab seed lawn weeds from germinating and further growing.


What Are The Characteristics of Nutsedge?

Some important characteristics of nutsedge are that it is a warm-growing perennial weed. It is extremely hard to eliminate. 

– It Is a Warm-Season Perennial

Nutsedge is a warm-season plant perennial vegetation that does not do well in cooler climates. This grass grows dormant when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in late or early winter. You can tell that it has gone dormant by seeing whether its leaves have turned brown or not.

This contrasts with crabgrass, which dies during wintertime instead of going dormant. When the temperature rises above 50 degrees in spring, the grass begins to turn green again. This is also when new seeds begin germinating, leading to further grass thickening.

Nutsedge Characteristics

– There Are a Lot of Varieties of Nutsedge

Nutsedge looks like grass and is considered by many to be a type of grass. In reality, though, it is not actual grass. There are a ton of varieties of this plant out there. Some are showy enough to be grown as ornamental plants in certain regions.

Most of the varieties, however, are considered invasive and a big nuisance to actual grass. One of the most widely encountered types is the yellow nutsedge. It is one of the most difficult weeds to get rid of and is also harmful to farm animals should they graze upon it.

– How To Get Rid Of the the Nutsedge Nuisance

Nutsedge, particularly the yellow variety that is the most prevalent, is notoriously hard to get rid of. That is why taking preventative measures beforehand is the most important. You need to know if your area and soil are susceptible to this weed.

Some useful preventative measures include keeping the grass mowed high at about three inches tall and ensuring water is not allowed to stand on the lawn for too long. High grass keeps the sun away from nutsedge, which keeps it from growing and spreading.

Get Rid Of the the Nutsedge

If you have a nutsedge problem on your hands, then a selective weed killer herbicide should be your priority . A non-selective killer concentrate will end up killing the grass as well. 

Make sure the label on the herbicide specifically states that it is effective against nutsedge. Just follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer and then pull the dead weeds up manually after they have died.


You know whether the weed growing amid your grass is nutsedge or crabgrass. You also know how to effectively eliminate two of the most common weeds in lawns and gardens across the warmer regions of the United States.

However, we must reiterate that while nutsedge is a useless weed most of the time, crabgrass is a good option for farmlands and ranches. Not only is it very low-maintenance, but it is a favorite among grazing farm animals. 

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