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

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Sunday - August 03, 2008

From: Columbia, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Controlling sedge in vegetable garden in Mississippi
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a veg. garden surrounded by Purple Sedge. The nut grass has been contained/eliminated by replacing all dirt 1' down. Now the surrounding sedge is beginning to creep inward infesting the garden. Am thinking of putting bamboo-type rhizome barrier around garden, thereby stopping the march of the sedge and eliminating what remains in garden. Think it will work?

ANSWER:

You are one dedicated gardener. Hats off. Just replacing one foot of dirt to get ride of nutgrass deserves some kind of medal. We're not quite sure what a bamboo type rhizome barrier is, but apparently you know and know how to do it. We'd say go for it. We're not sure which sedge you're referring to, there was no sedge in our Native Plant Database characterized as "purple". However, on further searching we found a "purple sedge" referred to as Carex purpurifera, still not in our Database. Then, we learned that a synonym for that is Carex laxiflora (broad looseflower sedge). We checked the USDA Plant Profile and it is native to North America and to Mississippi. That's probably not germane to your question, but we always like to know what we're talking about. Obviously, you already know you need to block further encroachment of the sedge into your vegetables, including grubbing out what has already popped up. The underground barrier, however, is not the total solution. This plant propagates by seed, which means you probably should either mow or trim the grass when it is about to set seeds and be constantly vigilant for fresh seedlings popping up in the vegetables. Here is a page of images of Carex laxiflora.

 

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