Tom's Blog

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pennsylvania sedge growth in shady savanna

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) is a widespread sedge in Wisconsin wooded areas. It spreads primarily by rhizome growth and can make fairly large mats in favorable areas. At Pleasant Valley Conservancy we find it most common in the less open savannas, where canopy cover is greater than 50%. The photo here was taken in an area of well established bur oaks (Unit 11B).

Originally the area shown in this photo was a large infestation of buckthorn. Once that was cleared, brambles (primarily red raspberry) came in. The brambles were then eliminated by persistent use of herbicides, and it is in some of these areas that Penn sedge has now become well established.  Fortunately, Penn sedge is a "good" plant.

The areas where Penn sedge is established have been subject to annual burns, which seem not to caused any suppression.
Now is the best time to see Penn sedge, as it is one of the earliest spring flowering plants in the woods. However, its flowers are fairly uncommon since most of its growth is via rhizomes.

Later in the season, a number of more substantial flowering plants become established in these areas and the sedge is less obvious.


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