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
3 ratings

Friday - August 12, 2011

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses or sedges for a border in Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I am in the process of gradually replacing some of my landscaping in Dallas Texas with native Texas plants. Your website has been very helpful. I now wish to replace a liriope border, which has crown and leaf rot, with a native grass or sedge. The area is part shade. Would cedar sedge work and would it be susceptible to the same fungus that created the liriope problem? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Yes, sedges would be a good choice since they do well in shade and have few disease or insect problems.  Mr. Smarty Plants recommends several sedges, all of which survive dry conditions but look nicer if watered.  In the order of increasing plant height, Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) (6 in.), Carex retroflexa var texensis (sometimes called Texas sedge) (6-12 in.), Carex texensis (Texas sedge) (10-12 in.) and Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge), also called Creek sedge and Stream Sedge (1-3 ft.) should all grow well in Dallas.  For more information on sedges, see the McNeal Growers web site, where you could purchase Texas sedge and Eastern woodland sedge. It may not be easy to find Cedar Sedge in nurseries although I notice the the Dallas nursery Repotted lists it.  Other local suppliers are listed on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site. Look for the latin name you want, since many different common names are sometimes applied to the same sedge species.

As an alternative, consider a grass, Tridens muticus (Slim tridens) (1-3 ft), which forms a gray-green clump about the size of liriope and grows well in partial shade, or Setaria scheelei (Southwestern bristlegrass), (1-2 ft),which has wider, greener leaves and attractive seed heads that birds like.  You might have to look in nature for the bristlegrass seeds or purchase seeds of a related species, Setaria macrostachya, Plains bristlegrass.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Slim tridens
Tridens muticus

Southwestern bristlegrass
Setaria scheelei

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Esperanza with rust spots in Corpus Christi, TX
November 30, 2009 - I have a young esperanza plant and the leaves have what looks like rust spots all over them. What is the cause of this and what can I do for it? My other larger and older esperanza does not have this....
view the full question and answer

Problems with giant coneflower in Richardson TX
June 05, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants- I have had a giant coneflower in my garden for 2 years now. This year it came up like it always had..got lots of leaves and then withered..turned brown and died. It got plent...
view the full question and answer

Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
May 14, 2012 - In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doin...
view the full question and answer

Root rot and transplant shock in Texas betony
July 13, 2006 - Texas betony is supposed to be drought resistant but also likes to be kept moist, but I have had trouble getting it established. These seem to be undemanding plants I have had entire stems dry up and...
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