Fluvial sediments are one of the hotspots for river nitrogen removal and denitrification is usually considered the main process of nitrogen removal. The availability of nitrogen in headwater rivers is often a limiting factor for sediment denitrification. However, with the increase of N load caused by human activities, we hypothesized that carbon sources might become a key factor controlling the denitrification of sediments in headwater rivers. Here, we measured the denitrification rate using the acetylene inhibition technique and related environmental factors, including both water and sediment features, throughout a year in a subtropical eutrophic river (1st-3rd order streams). The results of our Pearson correlation and multiple regression analyses supported our hypothesis. We found that C sources had a higher explanatory power than N sources, and sediment total carbon (STC) had the greatest influence on the denitrification rate among the different C sources, and that water carbon sources directly affected the sediment denitrification rates according to a structural equation model (SEM). A degraded river reach was selected for revegetation as part of our study, and we found that revegetation increased water DOC from 19.47 mg l- 1 to 24.45 mg l- 1, reduced water NO3- -N from 0.61 mg l- 1 to 0.35 mg l- 1, and significantly increased the sediment denitrification rates by an average of 176%. Our study provides direct evidence that revegetation improves organic carbon limitation in sediment denitrification in a eutrophic headwater river.