Questions about Blue Rug Juniper

dianega(7 - ATL)November 4, 2004

I have a steep slope leading to a creek that needs a groundcover to control erosion & ultimately supress weeds. It gets about half-day sun in the summer & almost all day in the winter (deciduous trees on other side of the creek). I've done some googling & found conflicting info on blue rug juniper... can you guys help me?

This area is pretty far from the house so I don't think the hose will reach. I guess I could haul water initially until it gets going, but not for long.

1. Is half-day enough sun or do I need full-day sun?

2. Is this slow, moderate, or fast-growing plant? How long to fill in if I plant recommended 6' apart?

3. Sites state it's good for erosion control, but nursery said it doesn't root along stem. So if it just has 6' long growth laying on top of ground, will that suffice? I do see this plant on lots of slopes in public areas, so I guess it does the trick?

4. If this is a bad choice for the site, do you have other recommendations?

Thanks so much for your help!!

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GardenGretchen(z5 OH)

Blue rug would do o.k. with only a half day's sun. It will grow a little more slowly. I believe it has a moderate growth rate. It is accurate that they don't root along the stem, but how far you space them can remedy the problem. Just space them at about 4 feet apart. The top growth will then somewhat overlap when they fill in, and the roots will be better able to bind the soil.

I don't know how large the area that you are trying to maintain is, or if this plant will grow in your climate, but the US department of soil conservation uses Crown vetch to rapidly deal with areas that are badly facing erosion. It is a very quick spreading plant, and it is kind of pretty. It had a pinkish little flower, so it's kind of neat. However, you really shouldn't use it if you have a small area. Or if it could cause problems around your area because it spreads a lot.

I recommend making sure that with whatever you choose, you should plant it soon, because it is best to plant things you can't water in the fall, so that they have time to root in the cooler, wetter weather before the heat of the following summer occurs. This works out to an additional 5-6, and even 7 (in your zone) additional months of time for the roots to establish and will increase their chance of survival 10 fold if there were to be a drought the following year.

Good luck to you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Trailing Crown Vetch

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 7:10AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

You might want to consider using something other than Blue Rug juniper unless you like something that lays very close to the ground. I have areas where I planted Blue Pacific junipers and they have foliage that stands up a couple of inches and it looks a whole lot more interesting than something that lays flat. Six one gallon plants have covered a circular area about 15 feet in diameter in about four years. My plants have rooted along the stem so don't know if they are different than blue rug juniper or not.

Another option would be cotoneasters if they are hardy in your zone.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 2:39PM
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dianega(7 - ATL)

Thanks for the feedback so far! Anyone have thoughts about something like snow-in-summer? Or any other plants that might look interesting & do a nice job of both suppressing weeds/erosion control? Something that flowers would be wonderful, but not absolutely necessary.

I'm a little leery about crown vetch, as I've heard it can really get out of control. I guess I'm looking for a more well-mannered groundcover... one that spreads quickly but won't be so invasive as to be a pest.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 11:50PM
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Shag(z4 MT)

Diane, here's a pic of snow in summer -- Cerastium -- planted for erosion control on a slope in full sun. This is just before blooming. It's on a dry site, even so it has filled in quickly (it can sometimes be invasive, but if you plan for that, it works fine to cover large sloped areas fairly quickly.) Here the Cerastium is planted in drifts with wildflowers between (some natives and some non-natives). In this situation, as the trees mature they'll start shading parts of the slope, so the snow in summer may get a bit leggy.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 11:29AM
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Shag(z4 MT)

I forgot to mention, if the snow in summer starts to get leggy in areas of part-sun/part-shade, shearing it back after it blooms can tidy it up for the rest of the season - it looks great after a shearing.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 11:37AM
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Chris_MI(z5 MI)

beware crown vetch is on the 'remove-invasive species list'. It also looks wild and messy, just the opposite of a juniper hill.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 9:42AM
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stevied(8b/9a FL)

How about liriope muscari?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 11:18AM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Pacific shore juniper looks nicer than blue rug, and it grows faster. My pacific shore junipers looks great year round and I've yet to have any pest or disease problems with it. It spreads at a nice pace but I haven't found it to be hard to control at all. I had about half a dozen blue rug junipers growing on a sunny slope at the front of our property and I'd swear that in all the time they were there they didn't grow an inch...very sloooow grower for me. Besides that, I found the name to be deceptive - it never really looked 'blue' when I had it. Most of the time it was a dull green mixed in with dead brown branches from spider mite infestations. That's just my own experience with the plant - maybe you'll have better luck. I finally got rid of them, and now I have a xeric bed planted in that spot.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 2:38AM
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I have read thru these postings & still think I'll go with Blue Rug Juniper as ground cover for the sloped edge of our yard. However, Shag's posting regarding Cerastium as an option got me thinking of that instead. But I've read it can be short-lived. I really want to plant something that will be around for years to come & is very hardy. Is Blue Rug Juniper my best choice?

Also, I saw that it is best planted in the fall, so I suppose now (March-April) planting wouldn't be a good idea? And when we plant the Juniper do we need to remove all the grass around the plant? I don't want erosion to be a problem while the plant roots & grows. How much turf should we remove around each Juniper we plant?

Any and all comments are greatly appreciated as I am somewhat of a novice gardener. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 10:07AM
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I am about to plant some soon (this fall). How much (if any) of the grass did you end up needing to remove around the plants? I plan to plant in a location where there is currently grass but the slope is close to being dangerious to mow.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 2:25PM
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My father has an approximately 12' x 50' bank of mature (17-18 year) Blue Rug Junipers. He has noticed lately that there has been something eating at the roots which is causing voids in the folage. He says he saw a mouse or mole once but is not sure this is what is causing this. He has put a pellet product on the bank called Tomcat recommended by our local Agway store, but it doesn't seem to have helped. Some of the open areas are the size of your fist and some are larger. Can you give us some information as to what could be causing this and how to prevent it? Thank you in advance for your help.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 3:39PM
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How should i space [blue rug juniper ] on 25' by 7' hill

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 12:55PM
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