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The California meadow sedge is a dense spreading perennial with fine textured medium green foliage that is native to the Channel Islands and coastal dunes from central California to Washington. It is often planted in bioswales where it spreads by rhizomes to form natural meadow-like plantings. It has also proven to be a successful lawn substitute with moderate tolerance to foot traffic that grows best in sunny exposures with regular water. Established plantings can withstand extended dry periods, but will eventually become drought dormant and sparse in character.

Water Needs

The California meadow sedge is well adapted to the Inland Empire with normal winter rainfall and moderate amounts of summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; higher amounts of water within this range will help this sedge function better as a lawn substitute.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Ground cover, Grass, Sedge, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Spreading, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 8 in. - 10 in.
Width: 12 in. - 24 in.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Tan
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand, Moist soil, Loam, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Moderate shade, Heat, Fog, Cold hardy, All day sun
Function: Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Mass planting, Foliage accent plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks, Small spaces


Easiest to grow as a low, informal meadow, but can be mowed to maintain a 1.5" to 3" lawn if desired. Stays greener in summer with more water, and is easier to keep looking green in part shade or shade. With lower levels of water, leaves will dry out and turn "golden" in the summer, which can be attractive if it is considered in the planting design. If leaves are allowed to dry, cut back to a few inches in the fall before cool season growth begins. If not regularly mowing, but want to "tidy up" the planting mid year, cut back to 1.5" to 3" in the late spring or early summer (16, S).



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