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

Thursday - November 18, 2010

From: Bellevue, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Cutting Juncus effusus back from Bellevue WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I read your posts about Juncus effusus and just have one follow-up question. When is the best time to cut them back to the ground - before winter or early spring? I live in the Pacific NW. I recently divided a large juncus (apparently wasn't supposed to until spring.) If it should survive, when is the appropriate time of year to cut it down to ground level to promote new growth? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Juncus effusus (Common rush) is native to Washington State, but King County is one of those areas with incredibly complex USDA Hardiness Zones, in this case ranging from Zones 6a to 8a. This USDA Plant Profile does not show this particular juncus as growing in King County, in the central eastern portion of Washington. However, these USDA maps are often out of date, and we believe the plant should be hardy in your garden.

From Floridata, we found this site on Juncus effusus, which does, indeed, indicate that the plant should be divided in Spring. However, with its underground rhizomes, it would probably take a lot more than premature division to kill it. Because you live in a mild climate, it really is only necessary to cut it back when it become unattractive, usually in the winter.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Juncus effusus


Juncus effusus

 

 

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Should grape vines be covered in winter from San Antonio
February 07, 2011 - Do I need to cover grape vines in winter?
view the full question and answer

How to prune a Lantana tree
October 02, 2015 - I have a potted Lantana tree that will come indoors for the winter. It is quite large and should I prune it back for the winter? If yes, how do I prune it?
view the full question and answer

Pruning for Spring
January 21, 2007 - When should I cut back (and how far should I cut back) the following plants in order to promote growth in the spring: Salvia gregii, Salvia leucantha, Ruellia (Mexican petunia), Plumbago, Sku...
view the full question and answer

Arrows and Hunting Dogs in Kentucky
December 09, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants--Is it normal for our arrowwood viburnum to give off a musky odour in the late fall? The smell reminds me of a wet hunting dog.
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

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