What Is Nutgrass?
Nutgrass, also known as nutsedge is a perennial grass-like weed that seeks out the moist poorly drained sections of your yard or garden and grows faster in hot weather than our lawns do. It’s leaves are grass-like and yellow-green, while the spiky head is purple or yellow. It’s a tough weed to control because it grows from tiny tubers or nutlets that form on roots that can grow 8-14 inches deep in the soil. Pull out the roots and some tubers will stay behind to grow again. Individual nutsedge plants may eventually form patches in your yard of 10 feet or more in diameter.
What makes this a big deal to above ground pool owners is that this weed will grow right up through your liner and cause leaks. Even worse is the fact it will grow through practically anything you lay on the ground to stop it, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this either. I’ve seen nutgrass grow through practically everything including weed barrier, plastic sheeting, Gorilla Pads, Styro-Foam, plywood ,vermiculite, roofing paper and more. This stuff will grow through asphalt so you know your pool liner is no match for it. If you live in Florida or the deep south, there is a really good chance nutgrass may be lurking in your backyard.
How Do I Stop Nutgrass From Growing Through My Pool Liner?
One of the most frequent questions people ask about installing their own pool is whether they must remove the grass on the ground first. The answer is always yes and for many reasons. I will get into some of the others in another blog post, but removing the grass with a sod cutter first will remove the majority of the nutsedge in your pool area and reduce the odds of you having this pesky weed growing up through your new pool liner.
Once your ground is level and the pool wall and frame are constructed, it’s time to treat the ground. An application of a quality nutgrass killer just before installing the pool liner is very important in Florida. Only someone totally reckless would know about the problem weed and chance not spending a few more dollars to protect their brand new pool liner from impending disaster.
Once the weed starts growing through the liner it’s too late, from here on out all you can do is kill each individual new plant and patch your liner. There’s no telling how many patches you’ll be making but you’d best get some liquid poison, a syringe and a patch kit. You may get lucky and only have a few blades to deal with but I’ve seen pools with hundreds.
If you find yourself with too many nutgrass blades to contend with, you’re best to just pull out the pool liner, toss it and buy another. This happens all the time here in Central Florida and most people have no idea how troublesome this weed can be. I’ve seen it everywhere from Palm Bay to Orlando and even up the coast. Now that you know about it’s time to make sure this problem doesn’t happen to you.
NOTE: Pool liner manufacturers do not warranty nutrass damage nor do any pool installers that I’m aware of. Odds are you won’t get it but a healthy dose of proper nutrass killer will likely ensure you won’t. In my years of doing swimming pool installs I treated the ground on every job. Even in doing this I still would see 1%-2% of the pools develop some degree of grass growing through. Do not skip out on treating the ground as the cost of doing so can get expensive.