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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 11, 2014

From: Dover, DE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Using Pensylvania Sedge in Dover, DE.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Regarding Pennsylvania sedge, I am thinking of planting the sedge along our driveway, which is under trees and not reached by our sprinkler system. Across the driveway, there is lawn. Is it likely that the sedge seeds will infiltrate the grass lawn?

ANSWER:

Pennsylvania sedge Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) should do well along the driveway in the shade, as long as it gets sufficient water. The plant spreads by rhizomes, so the driveway should provide an excellent barrier to keep it from spreading to the lawn.  You can control seed production by periodically mowing the plants to remove the flowering stalks.
This link to the Missouri Botanical Garden has some useful information about Carex. I’ve copied the last paragraph which may alleviate your concerns about infiltration of your grass lawn

"Garden Uses
Groundcover for dry shade. Underplanting for shade perennials. Lawn substitute for dry soils in shady areas (forms a turf that never needs mowing or mow 2-3 times per year to 2" tall). May be best to use purchased plants for covering large areas because this species often does not grow well from seed."

 

From the Image Gallery


Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

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