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
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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Practicality of Bouteloua dactyloides as turf grass in Pflugerville
April 07, 2007 - I live in Pflugerville next to Pfluger park. The soil is pretty rich there and I'm looking for a good turf grass to replace the weeds in the front yard. Someone recommended Turfallo. What do you th...
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

Native flower bed with part sun
December 05, 2008 - I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommen...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for sloped clay hillside in Ohio
October 16, 2008 - I have built a new home located on a hillside, our soil has a tremendous amount of clay in it. We have a sloped hillside that flows within 25 feet to the back door. The area is wooded and therefore ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

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