By selectively foraging palatable “browse-preferred” (BP) species and not selecting unpalatable “browse-avoided” (BA) species, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can facilitate an increase in the relative abundance of BA species in temperate forests. This change in community structure can persist after the removal of browsing pressure if BA species competitively suppress the regeneration of BP species. This dynamic is thought to occur in intensively managed northern hardwood forests with high deer densities, where high density BA sedge (Carex pensylvanica) mats may suppress the regeneration of tree seedlings through competition for belowground resources. I examined if and how this suppression may be occurring in an unmanaged forest with low to moderate deer densities. C. pensylvanica was removed to investigate its impact on (i) the growth of BP sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and BA ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) seedlings at two sites over the 2012 growing season, and (ii) on the availability of soil moisture and nutrients (nitrate, ammonium, and phosphate). In addition, long-term deer exclosure plots were used to examine the relationship between the relative abundance of C. pensylvanica, the availability of these resources, and deer presence. Sedge removal had no impact on the aboveground growth of either seedling species, or on soil nutrients, but was associated with lower soil moisture at the driest site. In the exclosure experiment, sedge abundance was not correlated with the abundance of tree seedlings, but was positively correlated to soil moisture across all plots, and negatively correlated to NH4-N and NO3-N in deer absent plots only. Sedge abundance was positively correlated to forb vegetation abundance in deer present plots, and negatively correlated to its abundance in deer absent plots. In summary, these findings indicate that while sedge presence may not affect tree seedling growth at these sites, it does alter the availability of soil resources and impact other important components of the plant community. Sedge mats may thus profoundly influence ecosystem processes and forest composition.