To trim or not to trip sedges

Asked February 19, 2020, 5:45 PM EST

We planted Pennsylvania sedge as plugs in 2018 for ground cover among other native perennials in our rain garden. They are crowning at about 5 inches with fronds of about 8 inches long. They have all turned brown over winter. I understand I should cut them back this year. If so, how much? Thanks,

Montgomery County Maryland

5 Responses

It is not mandatory to prune back sedges but, like most ornamental grasses, it is commonly done in early spring so that new green growth shows more quickly.

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I do want to prune them. The question is: how far down should they be cut? What I’ve seen online doesn’t address that. Thanks Ellen.

A safe rule of thumb is to trim them back by about a third of their height.


What about Cherokee sedge? Same thing? Cut them back by 1/3 of their height?

Yes. Do not cut more than 1/3. For this species, you can trim off the tips if you want to tidy up the plants. These should not be cut back hard like ornamental grasses.