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
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

How do I save my recently transplanted yaupon holly?
April 20, 2011 - Recently transplanted (two weeks ago) a yaupon holly tree from one part of the yard to another. Leaves are beginning to turn yellow and fall. What can be done to save this plant?
view the full question and answer

Restoring fire damage in Bastrop TX
November 03, 2011 - I live in the Bastrop State Park area. We were severely affected by the wildfire and as we are trying to rebuild our home, we are being very aware of the particularities of the recovery process. We lo...
view the full question and answer

Cutting Gardens from Charlotte, NC
July 30, 2013 - I want to plant a year-round picking garden for flowers to bring into my home. I want to look at landscape plans in lieu of throwing down wildflower seeds. Can you suggest a few websites for ideas?
view the full question and answer

Ensuring survival of wax myrtle in Wilmington, NC
July 29, 2009 - I just transplanted some wax myrtle bushes. What do I need to do to insure they live?
view the full question and answer

When to seed a native grass lawn in a drought area?
December 15, 2011 - I want to plant a native grass lawn. It is raining now. Can I plant it in December? It might not be raining in the spring if the drought continues.
view the full question and answer

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