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

Hardy plants for a narrow yard in Illinois
July 28, 2008 - I have an area in my yard that is approx 35 feet by 5 feet that is shaded on the east by a 4 ft fence and on the west by the house and above by trees. It slopes off to the neighbors yard (so doesn't ...
view the full question and answer

Replenishing a fallow field in Central Geogia.
February 22, 2010 - I have recently taken a 54 acre field out of cultivation and would like to replenish the soil with native cover plants. There is a slope to a portion of the field that is experiencing some erosion. I...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for bioswale in Tennessee
September 02, 2008 - What native plants do you recommend for a bioswale in Tennessee?
view the full question and answer

Removing St. Augustine for natives in Grapevine TX
September 29, 2012 - We have St Augustine in our yard and we hate it. It guzzles water, we have to cut it often, and it's thick and hard to work with. Anyway, we want to replace it with a combination of some kind of g...
view the full question and answer

Native water plants for bio-retention pond in North Carolina
July 22, 2009 - I am looking for North Carolina native plants that can take part shade and very wet conditions (bioretention pond environment). Any suggestions?
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