Carex pensylvanica

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The only picture of Carex pensylvanica you will see in this post.

This post is not really about Carex pensylvanica. Apologies for the bait and switch but we figured calling the post Carex pensylvanica may be the only way to get folks to read on, if only accidentally, about another sedge option.

You see, we here at New Moon Nursery have found high demand Carex pensylvanica, so much so that we have many greenhouses dedicated solely to the propagation and care of this one single sedge. “That’s great!” you may be thinking. We have a plant that is in high demand and we are able to provide it t the customer. And that is great, but the King of Carex (or is the Prince Charming of Sedges?) New Moon co-owner James Brown wishes people would diversify their sedge selections a bit.

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The dense tufts of Carex albicans slowly form a ground cover.

In our previous post we introduced you to an underused native ground cover, and now we would like to introduce youth an underused sedge.  Please meet Carex albicans. White-tinged sedge is nearly never specified on the plans of landscape architects focusing on native designs or ecological restoration. If a sedge happens to make it onto the plan at all, it is nearly exclusively Pennsylvania Sedge. This sort of defeats the purpose of using native plants in landscapes and really goes against the ecological intent of restoration projects – doesn’t it?

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Flower spikes of White-tinged Sedge

White-tinged sedge, with a native region in the lower-48 nearly identical to that of Pennsylvania sedge, should be playing a bigger role in landscapes. Of course there are some differences in the two that may prevent a substitution in some cases, however, we are recommending this sedge for consideration. Both of these sedges prefer dry to mesic woodland soils. They both will tolerate shade, though Carex albicans will take more sun than Pennsylvania Sedge. When placed next to each other, you may find that albicans also grows a bit taller, 1-2′ than the typical 6″ stature of Pennsylvania sedge.

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Carex albicans is at home in full shade to partial sun and a variety of soil moistures.

Where we see the real difference in the two sedges is in density and spread. While they are both grass-like sedges with thin leaves and nearly impossible to tell apart from just the leaves, we have observed the White-tinged sedge to form denser clumps while the Pennsylvania sedge forms wispy thinner stands.

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Carex albicans

We believe there is a place for both of these sedges in most landscapes and encourage landscape architects and designers to diversify the sedge specifications on plans to include Carex albicans or any of the other more than 40 species and cultivars of sedges we produce at New Moon Nursery.

Want to learn more about the diversity of sedges out there? Need information on which sedges, in addition to the Pennsylvania sedge, will be suitable in the plan you are putting together? Just give us a call or explore the descriptions and information on our website, we are happy to help and to introduce you to the amazingly diverse world of Carex. 

 

 

 

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