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Carex pensylvanica

Status: In stock

Product ID#: soakx
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Starting at: $25.99
Product Description
Sun Exposure Part Sun/Shade, Shade
Bloom Time Summer
Soil Conditions Normal, Sandy, Dry
Flower Color Yellow
Mature Plant Size (H x W) 12-18" x 12-18"
Oak Sedge grass (or white tinged sedge) is a gorgeous grass offering for dry shade, growing best in part to full shade. It has a narrow, upright-arching habit that forms in either dense tufts or loose colonies of tufts. Flowers bloom in late spring on tall flowering stems. Plants will slowly spread by rhizomes and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions. If you're looking for solid ground cover, this is a great plant! Oak Sedge has year-round foliage interest. Our Landscape Designers recommend using it in groups or massed for a foliage effect.

Bring a Hardy Addition to Your Landscape with McKay Nursery

If you're looking for a solid ground cover, our oak sedge from McKay Nursery has year-round foliage interest. All our plants are grown in our nursery in Waterloo, Wisconsin, where we grow a varied selection of hardy and vibrant plants for your landscape design. Order now and bring the fine texture of oak sedge to your garden.

For more information, contact us at [email protected] or call us at 920-478-2121.
  • sunshade Part Sun/Shade, Shade
  • Mature Plant Size (H x W) Mature Plant Size (H x W): 12-18" x 12-18"
  • Bloom Season Bloom Season: Summer
Key features
  • Deer Resistant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Native
  • Winter Interest
  • Low Maintenance
Planting Care

Planting & Care for Sedge Oak (Carex pensylvanica) Grass

  • Oak sedge grass is upright-arching and narrow, grown in either dense tufts or loose colonies of tufts.
  • Provides interest all year long in the landscape.
  • This plant is great for mass plantings for foliage effect.
  • Effective as a groundcover.
  • Oak sedge grass grows best in part to full shade.
  • Flowers bloom in late spring (May) on flowering stems rising to as much as 20" tall.
Opening Plant Material
  • Containers: Completely saturate all container plants by putting them in a larger water container until bubbling stops. Remove the plant, then dig a hole no deeper than the depth of the container, ensuring it’s wider on the sides by an additional 6” or more.
Planting Containers
  • Dig a hole no deeper than the depth of the container and 6" or wider on the sides.
  • Slide the plant from the pot by tapping on the bottom of the pot.
  • With a shovel or knife, trim the bottom 2" off the root ball for plants in plastic containers.
  • Rotate the plant to the proper position. Never lift or move plants by the tops.
    Place the root ball in the hole.
  • Adjust the plant height so the root crown is slightly higher than the ground.
  • Notice where the base of the trunk flares out from the tree. This is called the root flare. This root flare should show when the tree is planted. Add soil under the ball so the root flare is exposed if necessary.
  • Place fertilizer packets into the bottom of the hole (if purchased). *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer.
  • Backfill the hole with soil, ensuring the top of the root ball is visible and slightly higher than the soil around it.
  • Firm the soil around the plant. Water well to settle soil around the root ball.
  • Check out our Planting & Handling Guide for additional information and illustrations.
Pruning - After Planting
  • Containers: Although it’s not essential after planting, light pruning can help shape oak sedge grass. Doing so removes any broken branches from shipping or thins out a heavily branched plant to assist in the transplanting process and the appearance of your new planting.
Pruning - Through-out the Season
  • Cut back late in March before new growth begins.
  • See our instructional video on pruning ornamental grasses in the landscape on our “videos” tab.
 Watering - After Planting
  • Plants typically take approximately 6 weeks to establish new roots in your soil. During this period, water plants as often as every 2-4 days at the start and at least a minimum of once per week.
  • Beyond the six-week establishment period, water once per week unless rain occurs.
  • Remember to check soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil around 3”.
Watering - Through-out the Season
  • After the first season, plants should only be watered during extended periods without rain.
  • How do you know if your plants need water? The easiest way to tell is to touch the soil around the roots. If it is moist, there is no need to water. If it’s dry, give it a good soak with the hose end (no nozzle), watering the soil only, not the leaves.
  • Same as after planting, stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best growing zone for oak sedge grass?

The common oak sedge tends to thrive best in cooler climates, which include growing zones 4 to 8. Oak sedge (Carex pensylvanica) is native to eastern and central North America, which covers Manitoba and Quebec. These plants appear from Maine to North Carolina and west from North Dakota to Arkansas. Sedges grow best when it receives protection from full summer sun, so any areas with morning sun and afternoon shade is an ideal growing spot. An oak sedge can even thrive in full shade, making them great companion plants for tall trees with thick foliage.

How often should I water my oak sedge grass?

Watering once per week is generally sufficient for oak sedge grass. However, you need to adjust your watering practices in summer to avoid overwatering and underwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and mildew, which can kill the plant. While underwatering is more unlikely for this species of drought-resistant sedge, it can still be an issue during extreme summer conditions. When summer comes, adjust your watering to once every 10 to 14 days, depending on your garden’s needs.

What animals eat Pennsylvania sedge grass?

The seeds and leaves of Carex pensylvanica are eaten by various kinds of wildlife, including ducks and wild turkeys to name a few. They're also a food source for some insects and small mammals. Because Carex pensylvanica grass blooms in spring, these sedges provide an early meal before most native grasses begin to bloom.

What are the landscape uses of oak sedge?

Carex pensylvanica is a tough spreader that works great under deciduous trees, making it a great complement to border plants. An oak sedge can be an excellent substitute for a lawn, making it great as ground cover, edging plants, or shade gardens. To get the best effect of this grass, it’s best when planted in a grouping or mass. Besides its aesthetic features, Carex pensylvanica provides excellent erosion control as low-maintenance plantings in water-wise landscapes and wildlife gardens.

Is Pennsylvania sedge grass invasive?

Carex pensylvanica is non-invasive and can be easily controlled since it has slow-spreading foliage. It will form dense mats at around 6 to 8 inches, with its flowers blooming early in the growing season.

Planting & Handling Help

Download our Planting and Handling Guide below to plan for a successful arrival and install of your plants. Be sure to water all plants as soon as they arrive and every day until you’re ready to plant. Keep any bare root bundles in a shady, cool spot with the roots covered at all times.

Learn More

Watch our videos on handling bare root plants, how your order is prepared for shipment and more.

Plant Sizing

What is the difference between Containers, Grow Bags, Bare Root, and Balled & Burlap (B&B)?

Shipping Times

Our FedEx and local shipping times depend on two factors, one is by the region and the second is the type of product being shipped. For example, small fruits are only shipped in spring, but majority of our perennials are shipped from spring until fall. Keep in mind the dates below act as a general guide. Due to unpredictable weather, staffing, inventory and industry demands these timelines can change. Therefore, we cannot guarantee any of these times.


Shipping Dates by Region*


Northern Cold Region: April 22nd - November 7th

Northern Region: April 15th - November 7th

Middle Region: April 1st - November 7th

Southern Region: March 15th - November 7th

Local Delivery (small radius from Waterloo, WI): April 22nd - November 7th


Shipping Dates by Season*


Spring Shipping: Region Start Date (above) - May

Fall Shipping: September - November


Due to unpredictable weather, these times may vary. Some varieties are exceptions due to heat and plant health reasons. Enter your shipping zip code at the top of this page and be sure to check the shipping information on each product before you add it to your cart. If the product is too large or restricted in your state, you will not be able to checkout with that item in your cart.