How to Grow Sedge

Sedge image by Photo by Nature Snooper /flickr.com

Overview

Sedges compose over 1,000 species of the family Cyperaceae. They can be distinguished from grasses by their triangular-shaped stems. Sedges are found worldwide in wet areas, mostly in temperate and cold regions. Sedges make an appealing ground cover in wet, poorly drained areas, and are enjoying a surge in popularity as a lawn cover or landscape plant in home gardens. Use sedge for erosion control and soil stabilization in wet areas around ponds, in marshes and wetlands and in clumps as an ornamental plant.

Step 1

Choose a site for your sedge. A damp location with full sun is best, but sedge will tolerate partial shade.

Step 2

Remove old lawn coverings and weeds. Kill existing vegetation in the area by repeated tilling, sodcutting, covering it with black plastic, or apply herbicide. Allow 2 or 3 weeks to be sure all vegetation in the planting site has died and newly sprouting weeds are eliminated.

Step 3

Add compost to loosen heavy soil. Fertilizer is not required unless the soil is extremely poor.

Step 4

Rake the site to smooth out the area and break up the soil.

Step 5

Sow sedge seeds over the area and press them lightly into the soil. Water the area heavily, until the soil is muddy.

Step 6

Mulch the area with sterile straw and maintain the moisture until the seeds sprout, approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Seed germination is not reliable and many gardeners prefer planting plugs or wild transplants.

Step 7

Plant sedge plugs approximately 6 to 8 inches apart. Keep the soil wet until the plants are established.

Step 8

Water sedge as needed to keep them moist. Sedge prefers wet roots, but can survive periods of drought.

Step 9

Remove weeds daily. Sedges have triangular shaped stems; remove grasses with rounded leaves and broad leaf weeds that may sprout. Pull weeds by hand to avoid disturbing the roots of your newly planted sedges.

Step 10

Trim the sedge monthly to a height of about 1 foot with a string trimmer during the growing season of the first year. Trimming the sedge encourages the roots to spread. Leave the sedge untrimmed at the end of the summer to protect the plants over the winter.

Step 11

Control sedges in the home landscape by placing a plastic root barrier to contain them. Sedges spread rapidly and can be invasive. Dig a trench around the desired containment area, at least a foot away from the roots. Place a plastic root barrier in the trench and refill the trench. The barrier will keep the sedge in the desired area.

Things You'll Need

  • Sedge seeds or plugs
  • Rake
  • Tiller, sod cutter or herbicide
  • Straw mulch

References

  • Wetland Plant Fact Sheet: Nebraska Sedge
  • Planting a Native Grass Lawn
  • The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses: Sedges, Rushes, Restios, Cat-Tails and Selected Bamboos, Rick Darke, 1999
Keywords: grow sedge, plant sedge, control sedge

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.

Photo by: Photo by Nature Snooper /flickr.com