Aug. 27 2014 03:00 AM

Contractors have a new enemy in the field...researchers have identified a new type of weed that spreads easily, taking turf by storm. Known as kyllinga, it thrives in wet sunny environments but can survive partial shade as well.

According to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, it can rapidly infest lawns, since mowing can spread its seeds and turf typically can’t compete with the growth. Pulling up the weeds won’t stop them either, as they can also spread through their underground stems. The contractors themselves can become unknowingly responsible for infestations, too, since seeds stick to clothing.

Kyllinga looks identical to nutsedge, but it’s less erect and has smaller leaves. It’s most easily visible in the waning days of summer. Experts from Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension say it’s well-hidden in the turf before then. “Kyllinga can persist under low mowing heights,” said Jim Brosnan, associate professor of turf and ornamental weed science at the University of Tennessee. “Unlike yellow and purple nutsedge, these plants produce flowers even under regular mowing.”

Brosnan suggests several treatments against it. Sulfosulfuron, sulfentrazone, imazaquin are among them, for warm-season lawns. When it comes to cool-season lawns, sulfentrazone and a combination of halosulfuron and sulfentrazone with quinclorac are recommended. Also make sure lawns aren’t being overwatered, and be sure to keep all mowers clean.