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pruning or cleaning up of carex secta?

Posted by brunosonio z7WA (My Page) on
Sun, May 1, 11 at 19:14

I have a large clump of what I think is carex secta...about 4 feet tall and wide, and the plant is about 4 years old now. It's gotten very heavy with what looks like dead undergrowth. How do you recommend pruning or cleaning it up? I can reach under with gloves on and pull off the dead grass from the base, but there is substantially more dead grass above it that will not pull or comb out.

I know we're not supposed to shear or heavily cut carex or sedges...however on one New Zealand grass website they say eventually you have to give it a severe haircut to the ground to force new growth.

Before I do that, has anyone in here given that treatment to your carex plants? Did they survive? Is it worth it?

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RE: pruning or cleaning up of carex secta?

  • Posted by donn_ 7b GSB LI N (My Page) on
    Mon, May 2, 11 at 7:44

I don't grow this one, but have several other Carex varieties. Some of them require only combing with a spring rake, or using the rubber glove technique you mention. Others are cut back by 1/3 every year, and still others are trimmed back almost to the ground every year.

Secta is described as forming a trunk-like accumulation of dead foliage at the bottom over the years.

I've found the best method of dealing with the general lack of information on Carex maintenance is experimentation. Get more plants, however you can. Start some from seed, divide the one you have or buy new copies. When you have at least a few, you'll be easier with the idea of trying the cut-it-down or burn-it-down techniques of pruning.

Whatever you try, let us know the results. The more hands-on information we can accumulate, the better.

RE: pruning or cleaning up of carex secta?

Thanks, will do. I'm redoing a section of the garden that is more boggy and wet, and I'm tempted to dig the clump up and move it there. It might do better. I'm just finding too much dead or brown material in the entire plant. Given that we've had 2 horrible cold and wet winters and summers in Seattle, the poor plant may just be suffering from a bit of weather shock.

However, most NZ plants thrive in the PNW as our climates are incredibly similar.

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