Monday, April 14, 2014

FAQ: Water run-off is causing an erosion issue. Should I plant Mondo?

Q. I have a location that is a steep hill, that runs down towards a lake.  Water run-off is causing an erosion issue.  I am planning on purchasing 100 Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nana' - Dwarf Mondo Grass - Bare Root,  to start. I'm curious as to your opinion on this application of this grass.  Second, I want to know how quickly these would need to be planted once they arrive.

Dwarf Mondo bare root divisions

A. Dwarf mondo grass is a slow-growing ground cover, so it won't stabilize the soil on the hill all by itself. You could install an erosion control blanket/mat and plant through it. Still, that doesn't change the fact that dwarf mondo grows slowly.

If you decide to install a blanket/mat, to help stabilize the soil until your ground cover plant matures, it should be made of organic material (like straw). I recently saw some for sale at our local farm supply store.

Faster growing ground covers include Campsis radicans (aka Trumpet Vine, a very aggressive native plant that will climb anything in its path), Euonymus fortunei (aka Wintercreeper), Gelsemium sempervirens (aka Carolina Jessamine, another native ground cover that will climb if given the opportunity), Hypericum calycinum (aka St. John's Wort), Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' and Junipers horizontalis 'Wiltonii', Liriope spicata (aka Creeping Lily Turf), Pachysandra terminalis (aka Japanese Spurge), Trachelospermum asiaticum (aka Asiatic Jasmine), Vinca major (aka Big-Leaf Periwinkle) and Vinca minor (aka Periwinkle).

Bare root plants should be planted ASAP. If you can't get to them all at once, set the plants upright in the shipping box, keep them moist, avoid exposure to sun, wind and freezing temperatures.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

How far apart should junipers be planted?

Q. How far apart should junipers be planted?

'Blue Pacific' junipers in 3-1/2 inch pots

A. If you are referring to the junipers sold in 3-1/2 inch pots at, understand they can all grow 4' to 6' across. However, plant spacing is as much an issue of coverage speed and budget as ultimate spread. The J. conferta 'Blue Pacific' and J. horizontalis 'Wiltonii' can be planted as much as 3' apart, but because of their age and size, you might prefer to plant them as close as 18" apart so you'll see faster coverage.

I recommend the J. procumbens 'Nana' be planted about 18" apart because it is slower growing. But if you have the time and patience, the variety can be planted farther apart.

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