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Carex emoryi (Riverbank Tussock Sedge) is an outstanding plants for most storm water applications. It grows to 2 feet in height in full sun or partial shade. It spreads by rhizomes to form a dense, attractive sod that is incredibly resistant to erosion. It is potentially the best plant for almost all vegetated swale applications. It also performs admirable in bio-retention basins where it will tolerate several day of inundation as well as long period of drying. It may be too aggressive for small residential rain gardens as it will tend to crowd out other plants.
Carex annectans var xanthocarpa (Yellow Fox Sedge) is an attractive sedge with showy sprays of yellow seed heads in early to mid summer. The foliage reaches 18 inches in height while the seedheads surpass 2 feet. It tolerates longer periods of drying than most wetland sedges. It remains as a clump, not spreading by rhizomes, making it ideal for residential rain gardens. It tolerates 24 hours or more of inundation following a rain event.
Carex bromoides (Brome Hummock Sedge) is a beautiful wetland species producing a fountain of light green foliage. The foliage reaches around 1 foot in height while inconspicuous seeds heads may reach 18 inches in May. It is uniquely tolerant of both sun or shade as long as the soil is moist. It makes an excellent border in a shady rain garden. It is an excellent substitute for prairie drop seed in a shady, wet situation. Brome Hummock Sedge will tolerate over 24 hours of inundation following a rain event.
Carex granularis (Meadow Sedge) is a versatile species with pale bluish green broad evergreen foliage that lays low to the ground. It is very adaptable to sun or shade and wet to well drained soils. Its adaptability and low stature make it ideal for residential rain gardens or parking lot bio-retention islands. It normally remains under 6 inches in height and a foot in diameter. It is adapted to areas that hold water up to 24 hours after a rain event.
Carex muskingumensis (Palm Sedge) is an ornamental species featuring dark green shiny foliage resembling miniature palm fronds. It is a woodland plants that requires a mostly shady site to thrive. The foliage reaches about 18 inches in height while the pointed seed heads grow 2 to 2 ½ feet. It tolerate long periods of shallow inundation. An outstanding species for a shady rain garden.
Carex vulpinoidea (Fox Sedge) is an adaptable species featuring bright green foliage that reaches about 2 feet in height. Brown seed heads appear in May and June. It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soils. It is attractive mixed with wildflowers in a rain garden. It tolerate several days of inundation following a rain event.
Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed) is a handsome prairie grass with outstanding ornamental qualities. Its fine texture foliage emerges in April and sprays outward to form an emerald fountain by early summer, reaching about 1 foot in height. Slender 30 inch flowerstalks appear in mid summer producing fragrant seed heads. The foliage turns shades of yellow, orange, and red in the fall. It makes an excellent border for a rain garden. Prairie dropseed prefers at least one half day of sunshine and moist to dry soils. In a bio-retention situation it tolerates up to 24 hours of inundation following a rain event.
Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem) is an ornamental low stature prairie grass reaching up to 3 ft in height. It remains under a foot in height until midsummer when the flowerstalks emerge. The fuzzy seeds are evident in September and October. The foliage turns beautiful shades of red in the fall, lingering into the winter. Little Bluestem is an excellent choice for quick draining BMPs and swales that are not inundated more than a few hours after a rain event.