Gardening courses 2024

Bad weeds: Part 3 - Carex pendula

The third bad weed of Lindfield is Carex pendula.

A good place to start with Carex pendula is at the garden centre, where it is often sold as an architectural grass, described as having:

“Narrow green leaves that arch and weep with pendulous green flower spikes which turn brown as seeds develop”.

True enough, C. pendula does have majestic attributes and is attractive in the right situation, but don’t be taken in! The promise of a reliable plant for a difficult spot really is not a fabrication. C. pendula can root down in the tiniest crack of your driveway, to the shadiest spot in your garden, it really is not fussy.

C. pendula has two major weapons of survival:

  • The ability to produce thousands of seeds, thus an abundance of new plants
  • Rhizomatous roots which seem to anchor themselves into your  brickwork or the roots of other plants, making them hard labour to remove

In Lindfield, where the clay soil is often wet for long periods of the year, Carex pendula, a plant which loves the damp, thrives.  If you don’t have C. pendula in in your garden, you soon will.

Young plants are generally easy to pull out, but this weed does not stay small for long! Large plants that are firmly rooted into your shrubs or brickwork can be near impossible to remove – I once broke a spade trying! To prevent damage being done to your driveway, garden tools or importantly your back, you may need to consider an application or two or a glyphosate based weed killer, if the weed won’t budge. Chemicals should always be the last resort. 

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Large clumps of C.pendula and a seedling wedging its roots under the concrete