Juncus Among Us

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Juncus (a.k.a. Rush)

are grasslike plants that are extremely useful in stormwater management and erosion control projects.

They are evergreen and survive winter planting quite nicely - a rare feature for a non-woody wetland plant. Geese don't consider them edible, although they will tear up new installations for fun. And rushes develop massive, erosion controlling root systems.

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Juncus effusus, a.k.a. Soft or Common Rush

Juncus effusus is the species most commonly called for in stormwater treatment systems. Designers often suggest planting it in water up to 6" deep. However it is actually happiest at the water's edge or above, where it gets some moisture but doesn't stay flooded 365 days of the year.

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Juncus tenuis, a.k.a. Path or Poverty Rush

Juncus tenuis is about half the height of J. effusus and even tougher. Found from dry sandy ridges to wet lowlands, Poverty Rush is known for its ability to live in very low nutrient soils - such as the barren subsoil used to build many stormwater ponds and wetlands. The Juncus tenuis shown here was planted 1' on center in November using our 5" deep x 1.6" diameter plugs and photographed the following May. The white looking tops are the flowers.

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Juncus roemerianus, a.k.a. Black Needlerush

Juncus roemerianus is the specialist of the Rushes. Though it can grow perfectly well in freshwater, in the wild it grows between mean high tide and spring tide in brackish areas with up to 25 ppt salinity. Under such conditions it becomes the dominant species.

When looking at these photos, notice how the unpromising Juncus individuals suddenly become striking when grown in a dense, uniform mass. This simple technique of massing plants of the same species together is the difference between a weedy mess and a soothing landscape.