En Español

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

Plants to slow water runoff in Austin
April 16, 2011 - What native plants (rocky northwest Austin) will block water runoff? It seems as if something deep-rooted and densely growing would help. Grass comes to mind, but the area gets at best 2 or 3 hours of...
view the full question and answer

Planting Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)
October 27, 2011 - Is it too late to plant Gulf Muhly seed in North Texas (October)?
view the full question and answer

Need something to compete with Virginia wild rye in Bristol, TN.
July 29, 2011 - I have been working for 4 years to convert a large area of sunny lawn (150' x 40') to a native woodland planting, using native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. Although I used seeds of a variety ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
view the full question and answer

Wintering non-native liriope spicata indoors in Chillicothe IL
November 08, 2013 - I live in zone 5, zip 62523, wintering liriope spicata starter plants in basement, ambient consistent. Do I need grow lamps or is the plant satisfied being dormant as long as I do not let it dry out? ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center