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

Tuesday - March 20, 2012

From: Fairfax, VA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Best way to plant sedges on a slope in Fairfax, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Best way to plant sedges on a slope. WE are in the LONG process of trying to convert our backyard to a native wildlife friendly habitat. The slope is about 30 degress and it's a large space 1/2 acre?? When we moved in it was covered with english ivy which was killing all the trees. WE have removed all of the ivy and now have zillions of violets-grr, but we want to plant PA sedge. We have also added many native wildflowers and shrubs- including va bluebells, fringed bleeding hearts (the native ones), sweetspire, spicebush, viburnums, snowberry, nine bark, cardinal flower, wood aster, columbine, highbush bluebery, americanbeauty berry, service berry, va creeper, sea oats and winterberry, oh and jacobs ladder and cinnamon ferns- all of those flowers and shrubs are thriving except the cinnamon fern and the jacobs ladder. We tried some other sedges but they didn't work so we have finally found some PA sedge. We have about 25 small bare root plants to plant. The question we have is what is the best way to distribute them to help control the erosion, naturalize the space, and still be able to enjoy the lovely wildflowers we have growing? Across the hill? randomly? in rows? aisles? Also, will it spread on it's own, or will we need to buy more next year? We just don't know where to begin. thanks so much!

ANSWER:

You have an quite ambitious project underway, and we appreciate your use of native plants.

Pennsylvania sedge Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) is a low, clumped, grass-like perennial, 6-12 in. high. It is a fine ground cover, spreading relentlessly by rhizomes.

As to planting, I think I would place them in a random pattern across the hill, tucking them between your other plants, to give a more natural look.

They are perennial, and they spread readily. Dividing the mature plants will give you new plants, and you shouldn't need to buy any more Pennsylvania sedge.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

More Planting Questions

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
view the full question and answer

wildflowers with interesting seed heads for winter interest
January 09, 2015 - I am looking to establish a wildflower meadow this year, and I want to include wildflowers that have interesting seed heads for winter interest. What would be your recommendation? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

A privacy hedge for a shady spot in Austin, TX
July 02, 2012 - What is a good choice for a privacy hedge in west Austin in a predominantly shady area? I'd like it to be 8-12 feet, along the fence, so as to obstruct the view of the neighbor's yard.
view the full question and answer

Will maroon and Texas Bluebonnets prosper in Richland MO?
July 02, 2013 - I live in Richland, MO and have obtained both Maroon and Texas Bluebonnet seeds from Fredricksburg, TX. Will they prosper in this area and when is the best time to plant? I have read how and what type...
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