How to Grow Slough Sedge

Marcus Vegas/ image by The texture of a sedge leaf is magnified by water.


Slough sedge is an aquatic plant of the North American temperate western coastal regions that controls erosion and improves water quality. It grows in shallow water, roots anchored in the soil. Though it prefers fresh water, sedge can also grow in brackish water. The plant puts out rhizomes, produces flower spikes and grows up to 150 centimeters (about 1.5 yards) high. Accomplish propagation with rootstock or seedlings, as seeds wash away, correct seeding density is unknown, according to the USDA, and other methods have higher survival rates. Wildlife uses sedge for cover, nesting and food.


Step 1

Buy or collect slough sedge. Collect sedge by digging down 6 inches or so to get plant plugs.

Step 2

Wash soil away from the roots, if desired.

Step 3

Transport and store plugs of slough sedge in a cool place until you can plant them, which should be as soon as possible. Roots should be kept moist or in water.

Step 4

Split plugs into smaller sections, if desired, as long as each subdivided plug retains a good rhizome and plant tops. (Rhizomes are underground stems that have roots and shoots growing from them. It is a reproductive strategy.) Don't make plugs smaller than about 2.5 by 2.5 inches (6 by 6 cm).

Step 5

Cut leaves and stem back to about 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) high so that each transplant will devote its energy to root production.

Step 6

Transplant seedlings to sunny to mostly sunny marshy banks, mud or other wetland areas where the regular depth of water is about 4 inches (10 cm). The density of planting depends on environment. Space a meter apart unless the water is flowing and/or if the soil is very fine, in which case, plant one-half meter apart. Increase density also if the plants will be on sleep slopes or in places that will see long periods of high water levels.


Step 1

Prune by cutting at the base in late summer, after the sedge has produced seeds. Only cut shoots that have no flowering stalks.

Step 2

Remove barriers to growth: branches, stones and so on.

Step 3

Remove other plants from sedge stands so they have no competition.

Step 4

Propagate by division, dividing clumps of sedge in spring, leaving a plug with rhizome and vegetative growth as described for sedge collection.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not collect slough sedge from wetlands without finding out the law in your area. Carefully follow all guidelines and get necessary permits. If collecting sedge, don't dig too deep or you will not leave enough in the original habitat for the plants to come back. Contact your local county extension agent for advice suited to your particular area, including climate and soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Slough sedge rootstock or seedlings
  • Pruning shears or cutters


  • USDA Plant Guide; Slough Sedge: Carex obnupta Bailey ; Michelle Stevens, Chris Hoag; June 2002
  • Slough Sedge PLANTS Profile: Characteristics
  • Native Plant Database: Slough Sedge
Keywords: slough sedge, sedge, basket grass

About this Author

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.

Photo by: The texture of a sedge leaf is magnified by water.