Growing Juncus or Soft Rush

Juncus are also known/sold as Rush or Bog Rush are plants of very damp soils but not usually in standing water.

Of the approximately 225 species found in nature, most have absolutely no redeeming value in an ornamental garden being flattened or insignificant bits of greenery, unless you happen to like flattened bits of grass-like plants of course.

Common Varieties

  • J. effusus is one of the best (and most commonly found) good guys that give the banks of your backyard ponds an upright but softened look. Growing approximately 3-feet tall in the full sunshine, they produce brown flower heads in the fall (not really ornamental but interesting). Note that this is the species of rush that are cut, dried and woven into mats or tatami in Japan. Hardy to USDA 4
  • J. effusus‘Spiralis’ or corkscrew rush is readily sold in garden centers as well and this variety corkscrews upwards making a lovely water edge plant. There are varieties with gold stripes up the leaves as well now and these are more delicate than the species. Generally hardy to USDA 5 (I’ve lost them several times in a USDA 4)
  • J. ensifolius is not often available but it is a smaller tufted species that looks like grass tufts beside the pond.

Cultivating Juncus

Propagation is by division or seed in the species, early spring division in hybrids.

Grow in full sunshine in damp soils.

Check the pricing of Juncus plants right here

Thoughts On What To Do With Frozen Ponds

Frozen ponds; Been there, had those frozen ponds stare me in the face. But what’s the big deal?
Winter is supposed to happen around my neck of the woods. And that’s no problem if…

The Pond Fish

The fish are still in the pond. Do not bang the ice or drop things on it. The ice and cold won’t hurt the fish but the concussion from the hard object hitting the ice and then that shock wave moving across the water (in a small pond) may very well do some serious damage.

Cleaning The Pond

If you haven’t cleaned out the pond for the fall and the ice is now formed, well join the club. You won’t be the first nor will you be the last to let the fall maintenance become joined with spring maintenance.
The only thing we hope is that your filter sucked most of the leaves out of the pond. We don’t want them decaying and robbing water of oxygen.
This almost never happens by the way unless you have a horrendous level of organic matter rotting away or you have a really tiny pond. But given the ice is formed, then there isn’t a lot you can do anyway. So relax.

Unplug Your Pump

The big thing is to ensure your water garden pump is unplugged and not trying to force water over a frozen waterfall.
Or, your pump is still working fine, you have to check daily to ensure there isn’t an ice dam form so the waterfall shoots water out of the pond emptying it and burning out your pump.
I note two things: the first is that keeping water flowing during the winter produces some amazing ice sculptures and wonderful scenery. You simply have to continue to check on the water levels.
And second, taking the pump outlet hose off the pump and pointing the discharge nozzle directly at the side of the pond will usually keep a hole in the ice open in all but the coldest of northern winters.
This allows oxygen exchange to continue and keeps the pond from freezing solid.

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