Plant Spotlight: Clustered Field Sedge

Plant Spotlight

Carex praegracilis

Carex praegracilis, common name Clustered Field Sedge, is a grass-like plant in the Sedge family. This plant functions as an ornamental grass and is quite often used as a lawn substitute.

Clustered Field Sedge uses half the water that a more traditional lawn does, it doesn’t need fertilizer, and has no pest problems. Moreover it takes heavy traffic so your kids and pets can play on it just like they could with your old lawn. You can either let Clustered Field Sedge grow to its mature height of 12 inches, giving it a softer feel, or you can mow just like a typical lawn.

C. praegracilis, mowed and non-mowed (Photo: David Fross)

C. praegracilis, mowed and non-mowed (Photo: David Fross)

Carex praegracilis is a very versatile plant as it can take full sun to partial shade. Although typically found growing in moist areas around wetlands it can also tolerate some drought. In your landscape it can be watered as little as once every four weeks. It can go dormant in hot summer months if it isn’t watered regularly, but it will look better if it is watered more often. If you water Clustered Field Sedge once a week, it will look lush and green which is a far better choice in our dry climate than your typical lawn which needs water every day to look lush.

One issue with Carex praegracilis is that it spreads by rhizome, which means that the the runners can shoot up in places you don’t want in your yard. With regular maintenance this problem is easily taken care of. The other issue is that it can take a while to establish so you will want to be on weed control when you are waiting for the underground rhizomes to fill in and choke out any other competition.

So other than a little bit of patience and some maintenance every once in a while, this plant is very easy to take care of and a great lawn alternative. If you want the benefits of a lawn but want to cut down on water usage, Clustered Field Sedge is a great option for you!