Sedge lawns are a smart environmental alternative to traditional lawns. Sedges are close botanical cousins of the conventional grasses that make up traditional lawns but they require little or no mowing, fertilizing, or chemicals. Some also require less water than many conventional turf grasses or if dealing with a wet area, are more tolerant of moist conditions or shade. Different varieties thrive in various regions of the US, so they can restore some of the local character that existed with native sods before agriculture and development transformed our landscape.
John Greenlee has written a book called Easy Lawns (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide) that talks about sedge lawns and can help identify the best lawn for your situation. He has identified five sedges that show promise as substitutes for traditional lawn grasses in a wide range of areas. They are Catlin sedge (Carex texensis), Texas Hill Country sedge (C. perdentata), Baltimore sedge (C. senta), Pennsylvania sedge (C. pensylvanica), and California meadow sedge (C. pansa). Each of these native sedges have compact growth and good, green color but hybridization of species being collected from populations in nature is a relatively untapped market and there are many ongoing developments.
I haven’t planted a sedge lawn yet. Have you? I am intrigued with the more natural look, but while looking for pictures I didn’t see a sedge lawn that completely mimicked the flatness of a traditional lawn that is so cherished. From my reading, it seems that it takes a bit of time for the plugs to grow together. If you have some experience with sedge lawns I would love to hear your successes or advice with planting and maintaining.
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