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

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
view the full question and answer

Native grass for Splendora, Texas.
January 25, 2008 - We have a newly built house on a two acre lot in Splendora (zip code 77372). We would like to seed (the best choice) for grass. What about centipede or buffalo grass? The soil is a sand with clay 4...
view the full question and answer

Grass for area under pecans in Abilene, TX
January 01, 2009 - I have two large pecan trees in my back yard. Grass has always been hard to grow under these two trees, but lately all grass seems to have "vanished" and I'm left with mostly bare soil. Is there ...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

A blue-eyed grass with salmon-colored blooms?
June 16, 2015 - Has anyone heard of a blue-eyed grass variety that has salmon-colored blooms? I have a photo if needed.
view the full question and answer

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