Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 24, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replacing grass with native Texas sedges
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have been trying to grow native Texas sedges instead of grass in my back yard for the last two years. Much of it is shaded by a canopy of elms, juniper, and oak. I have put a local organic fertilizer on them, but still they stay small and thin. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Since most people consider sedges a weed intruding on their turf lawns, there is more information on how to eliminate sedges from lawns than there is on growing them. However, sedges make a beautiful lawn on their own. John Greenlee in "Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape" writes about their beauty, utility, and easy maintenance. He describes two native Texas sedges, Texas, or Catlin, sedge (Carex texensis) and Meadow, or Texas Hill Country, sedge (C. perdentata). I'm not sure which of these you have (probably C. texensis), but neither should need any fertilizer or other chemicals. Both should grow well in shade and tolerate hot, dry weather. However, sedges can be particular about where they grow and can be slow to establish themselves even if they like where they are growing. Some sedges prefer a dry soil that drains well and some prefer a moist soil. You might consider trying several different species of sedges to see which grows most successfully.
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
November 22, 2009 - Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?
view the full question and answer

Advice on grasses under walnut trees
May 28, 2010 - Little advice on grasses: I am prepared to plant zoysia under two walnut trees. Forgot about juglone-is this a good idea?
view the full question and answer

Controlling erosion with grasses in Dallas, TX
October 19, 2013 - After consulting with several geological engineers and the city of Dallas engineers - we know that our severe erosion problem can only be fixed by building a 35' foot high gabion wall about 150' in ...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn for townhouse in Austin
October 06, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in central Austin and on November 1st I will be moving into a townhome with a small yard of around 500 square feet. The yard has been neglected and currently looks to ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses as low-water option for ranch yard
March 19, 2007 - We have a weekend ranch in LLano Texas and are looking for a grass to plant in the front yard. (approx 3/4 acre) The house is very small and cute but not a real big fancy house. We do have a fence aro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.