Pendulous sedge

Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) has attractive, green strap-like leaves. It seeds freely and can become a troublesome weed in damp gardens.

Pendulous sedge
Pendulous sedge

Quick facts

Common name Pendulous sedge
Botanical name Carex pendula
Area affected Damp lawns and borders
Caused by Seeds freely
Timing Seen all year round; treat spring to autumn

What is pendulous sedge?

Carex pendula is a native, found wild in damp woods and shady places. It makes an interesting garden perennial, best grown in a cool, damp soil, in a shady or sunny position but it self-seeds readily. Pendulous sedge forms dense clumps of evergreen leaves, thereby providing winter shelter for insects. This page looks at options for gardeners when pendulous sedge is becoming a problem.


Tufted, evergreen clumps with long, strap-shaped leaves to 90cm (3ft). Arching flower stems to 1.4m (4½ft) produced May-June with 15cm (6in) long, brown flower spikes, becoming pendulous with age.

The problem

Pendulous sedge spreads rather freely by seed, especially in damp areas.


The RHS believes that avoiding pests, diseases and weeds by good practice in cultivation methods, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and encouraging or introducing natural enemies, should be the first line of control. If chemical controls are used, they should be used only in a minimal and highly targeted manner. 

Cultural control

On a small scale plants can be dug out by hand. In larger areas improving drainage by installing land drains will discourage the sedge, as will liming to reduce acidity. Cut plants regularly to prevent seeding of Carex pendula and C. binervis (C. hirta grows from a rhizome and seeds much less).

In lawns and meadows: Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage strong growth of the other grasses. Selective mowing of the sedge will help limit its spread. If in a meadow situation, goats give good control of rushes (Juncus) and sedges (Carex).

Weedkiller control

The RHS does not support the use of weedkillers and recommends that alternative control methods are used. However, we do note that when gardeners struggle to control plants with cultural methods, regulated weedkillers/pesticides for home gardeners are available for use legally. Garden centres and large retailers selling weedkillers have trained staff who can advise on suitable products for your needs. It is worth noting that Carex are resistant to selective lawn herbicides.

Weeds: non-chemical control

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