Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 28, 2009

From: Phoenix, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Weeds in Blue Rug juniper in Phoenix MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The landscaper planted Blue Rug Junipers around the Helleri Holly and Yews in front of my house ten years ago. The Blue Rug has done great and looks really nice. My problem is that weeds grow up in the Blue Rug. I keep pulling the weeds, but I can't keep up with them. So, I am thinking of digging up the Blue Rug. I planned to spray them with Roundup to kill them before I dig them up. How hard are the Blue Rug to dig up? A friend told me they are extremely difficult to dig up.

ANSWER:

Blue Rug juniper is a trade name for Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper), and usually also referred to as cultivar 'Wiltonii.' While the creeping juniper is native to North America, it is not native to Maryland. It needs full sun to flourish and very good drainage; it will not tolerate water on its feet. It is possible that because your plant has been planted out of its native area that it is not growing vigorously enough to resist the weeds coming up through it. We did some research and most of the information we found said that to keep weeds out of this juniper, you need to put down weed barrier and mulch before it is planted. Little late for that, but something to remember if you try it again. 

As for whether it is difficult to dig up or not, what are your choices? Leave it there or dig it up. Since some people are allergic or sensitive to the foliage of this juniper, if you decide to dig the plants out, prepare yourself with long sleeves and heavy leather gloves. It will be easier to get at the roots if you first trim away all the upper growth that you can.This will give you easier access to the soil around the roots and permit you to get deep in the dirt close to the crown. We recommend neither for nor against the use of herbicides, but in this case, we don't see how it would help. You're taking the foliage out anyway, and what you need to get at is the root, which probably wouldn't be affected by the herbicide at all. Plus, you always run the risk with herbicides of inadvertently getting something else you didn't want killed, and losing a valuable shrub or tree. 

Pictures of Juniperus horizontalis (creeping juniper) from Google.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
May 11, 2013 - I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?
view the full question and answer

Plants for winter installation in Houston
January 01, 2009 - What plants can you plant in the winter, Houston, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
November 22, 2013 - Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?
view the full question and answer

What grows in Tampa FL
July 01, 2013 - Please let me know what grows in the backyard in Tampa, FL to provide screening and privacy?
view the full question and answer

Identification of white flowering bush with lovely scent
May 17, 2015 - Please identify the sweet smelling white flowering bush/tree blooming now,May, in western Massachusetts. The flowers are tiny 4(?) petals in small clusters. The scent is wonderful.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.