Pennsylvania sedge

Asked May 1, 2020, 8:10 PM EDT

Hi! We live downhill from several houses and when it rains we have a terrible drainage issue. The water flows off a path that parallels our backyard into a narrow shady area and then flows through our grass, garden beds, patio to our front. In the shady area in the back we built a small berm of dirt which slightly erodes with each rainfall. Behind the berm and next to our fence a little stream is created so we put a lot of rock there. My question is, would Pennsylvania sedge be a good ground cover for a shady sometimes very moist area (we also have a sprinkler system there for the trees) that would help with erosion and the flow of water? The only other issue I would see is we have 2 dogs who run back there and do their business there too. If you don't think that would work, would you be able to recommend another native ground cover that would do the job? Thank you so much!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

In general, PA sedge likes dry shade. However, there are many species of sedge that grow in wet soils but they are not always easy to find in local garden centers.
Here is a link from Virginia on sedges https://www.plantnovanatives.org/groundcovers

It is a good idea to plant a variety of plants so you do not lose the stand to an insect or disease issue. Consider blue sedge https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/blue-sedge, creek sedge, (see above sedge list), golden groundsel, sensitive and christmas ferns, green and gold, cardinal flower, etc.
Here is our groundcover list
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/groundcover-list
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives

and native plant selections - see page 14-15 for sedge selections
https://www.fws.gov/Chesapeakebay/pdf/NativePlantsforWildlifeHabitatandConservationLandscaping.pdf

If you have a dog , you may want to provide some fencing as the plants cannot be walked upon like turf.

Marian