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Weed of the Month – Fragrant Kyllinga

Fragrant Kyllinga (Kyllinga odorata)

Fragrant kyllinga is mostly a summer annual but can be perennial with milder winters. It is a member of the Sedge (Cyperaceae) family. It can be distinguished from grass weeds by its triangle stems, and three ranked leaves located under the seedhead; however, it lacks tubers and underground nutlets typical of nutsedge. Fragrant kyllinga has earned its name because it produces a sweet aroma when the leaves are mowed or crushed.

Fragrant kyllinga (Kyllinga odorata) is mostly a summer annual but can be perennial with milder winters. Jackie Jordan, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Fragrant kyllinga (Kyllinga odorata) is mostly a summer annual but can be perennial with milder winters.
Jackie Jordan, ©2021, Clemson Extension

There are several things homeowners can do to limit fragrant kyllinga in their lawn. Low mowing heights combined with frequent cutting will help to reduce persistence. To find the proper mowing height range for your grass species, see HGIC 1205 Mowing Lawns.

Fragrant kyllinga thrives in moist soil with poor drainage. If this weed is a problem in your lawn, make sure that you are not overwatering. Warm season turfgrasses are drought tolerant and perform best when irrigation is deep and infrequent. For tips on managing lawn irrigation, see HGIC 1207 Watering Lawns.

Poor soil drainage can be caused by compacted soil. To determine if your soil is compacted, try to plunge a screwdriver or garden trowel into the ground. If you have a lot of resistance, soil compaction could be causing problems for your lawn. Core aeration will help to alleviate soil compaction. For more information on aerating your lawn, see HGIC 1200 Aerating Lawns. Soil structure can also be improved by adding organic matter. Recycling your grass clippings and topdressing are two ways to add organic matter to your lawn. For more information, see HGIC 1227 Topdressing a Home Lawn.

Post-emergent herbicides can provide effective control of fragrant kyllinga.

For recommendations safe for your lawn species, please consult with your local extension office or contact the Home and Garden Information Center.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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