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April Resilient Plant

Tuesday, April 02, 2019
by Josh Steger | Director of Horticulture

Carex pensylvanica, Oak Sedge

Sedge: could this be the future of horticulture?  If you haven’t tried sedges in your space yet, we’ll give you a few reasons why you definitely should.  This month we’re featuring Carex pensylvanica or Oak Sedge.  This sedge is native to the Northeast and Midwest; making this a Wisconsin native!  This clump forming sedge grows about 6 to 12 inches with blooms that occur in April. Oak Sedge grows best in full sun to shade conditions.  This sedge is ideal for dry shade locations. In addition to being a fantastic groundcover, it can also be used as an alternative to turf lawns and green mulch for planting beds. Mulch can be expensive and to be honest, it’s not always environmentally friendly.

Planting sedges close together to create a living carpet for a specimen tree or variety of perennials creates a natural look in any space. Planting these sedges in mass will also make it difficult for weeds to establish themselves, plus you don’t have to spend time and money on mulching every year.  Cut them back with a mower in the spring and they will create another soft blanket under your most valuable specimens for the year.

In addition to being a great plant in someone’s space, Oak Sedge provides shelter and food to a variety of wildlife. According to the US Forest Service, Oak Sedge provides food for several types of caterpillars and nesting material/shelter for ducks, grouse and prairie chickens.  A sedge that is beautiful and helps the environment? Sign me up!

Oak Sedge or Carex pensylvanica made our list of resiliency for a number of valuable reasons.  It provides shelter and food for a variety of wildlife throughout WI.  It can also be a good alternative to mulch, turf and landscape fabric. That way you can cut back on mowing every week, weeding every week and mulching every year.  Lastly, it’s very easy to grow and once established will fill a space in a short time. You can find Carex pensylvanica online at Prairie Nursery and by the half gallon at the Flower Factory in Stoughton, WI.   

Tags: Garden Display and Design, Green Initiatives

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