Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Weeds in Habiturf from Austin
May 14, 2012 - We had our old lawn removed, tilled, laid compost, and Habiturf seed spread. I'm not sure if the man we contracted to do the work didn't adequately remove the old weed debris when he prepared the la...
view the full question and answer

Steep slope from Charlotte NC
May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
view the full question and answer

Plants for aerobic septic system in Houston
February 03, 2011 - My husband and I would like to plants some trees and shrubs, but we have an aerobic system taking up most of the yard :( Can you recommend any trees that won't hurt that? Also shrubs for our weath...
view the full question and answer

Need native grasses to re-introduce on land in Live Oak County, Texas.
July 21, 2009 - How do I find out what type of grass is native and how to reintroduce it (once we get some rain)? The area is southern Live Oak County approx 10 miles north of Orange Grove TX, about 2 miles from Lak...
view the full question and answer

Controlling switchgrass in Fredericksburg TX
June 12, 2010 - How do you kill switch grass..too much has grown on our property. Originally planted to stop erosion due to oak wilted trees lost on hill behind house, which worked,but now it is everywhere.
view the full question and answer

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