En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Low sedge for lawn in Bakersfield, CA

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - June 19, 2009

From: Bakersfield , CA
Region: California
Topic: Turf
Title: Low sedge for lawn in Bakersfield, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a small area for a lawn, but would like to get away from a traditional "lawn". Can you recommend a sedge grass that would act like a lawn (not much foot traffic)that can be mowed once in a while and not take a lot of water. The temperature ranges from a few 30 degree days in the winter, to well into the l00's about 10 days a year in the summer. The area gets full sun most of the day. We live in zone 9.The soil is mostly clay.

ANSWER:

You can go to our Native Plant Database, select "California" and "grass or grass-like" on the pull-down menus for State and Habit, and click on the 'Submit combination box." When we did this, we got 248 possibilities for carex (genus for sedge) and other grasses, native to California. We narrowed it down to Carex native to California, and got 46 possibilities. When, however, we started checking with the USDA Plant Profile for some of these choices, we found very few that are native to South Central California in the Kern County area. It would seem that sedges, in general, are not fond of the environment in your area.

We wonder if perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree. We often suggest Meadow Gardens for people desiring to get away from the traditional lawn. Please read our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening and see if some of the ideas might be applied to your situation. Another article of interest in your situation is Native Lawns.  Unfortunately, the favorite native grass mix of Texas,  Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) does not appear to grow in your area, but there are other good suggestions in the article. 

To get some input from some experts a little closer to the situation than we are, we suggest the California Native Grasslands Association website. It has a number of links where you can get more information, particularly for your part of California. Another source of assistance on choosing lawn plantings is the Kern County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Also, consider contacting the University of California Cooperative Extension Office for Kern County.

 

More Turf Questions

Native grass for Round Rock, Texas lawn
November 12, 2008 - Hello, I just moved into a new place and the grass in the back yard is very spotty. I would like to know the best seed to put down to cure this problem. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Eliminating stinging nettles in lawn in Austin
May 13, 2009 - How do I get rid of stinging nettle that is dispersed through my lawn. It's not like the nettle pictures I see online - they are short plants and have narrow leaves - but covered with spines. Mowin...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for middle school lawn in AR.
November 03, 2010 - I'm doing a project to help out our green middle school replace the grass in front of the school with something that stays short but is also native to the region. Can you recommend one that I can use...
view the full question and answer

Compare Natives to Lawn for Carbon Footprint Benefits in Durham, New Hampshire
September 22, 2010 - Are there carbon sequestration rate tables for turf (lawn) and bushes, shrubs, trees? I want to compare the carbon footprint benefit of lawn versus the same area put into native plantings.
view the full question and answer

Replacement of lawn with native grasses in Maryland
August 31, 2007 - I live in west central Maryland within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. My soil is heavy clay and nutrient deficient. I have/am planting native flower beds and a vegetable garden in an effort to reduce...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center