The best known ground cover, a lawn, is unsurpassed as a surface to walk and play, but where foot traffic is infrequent or undesirable; many other ground cover plants can offer much of lawn’s neatness and uniformity with considerable less maintenance. Most garden or landscaped areas contain spots that can be enhanced with the use of ground covers. Ground covers offer all sorts of textures and colors and many are noted for their colorful flowers. Ground covers are low growing, ranging in height from a few inches to two feet, and they are usually wide spreading. They are perennials, coming back year after year. Ground covers are clumping or running and can be evergreen or deciduous.
Groundcovers are a great solution to a variety of gardening problems. They unify landscape components, provide dense soil cover, retard weed growth, and prevent soil erosion. Almost every landscape has room for groundcovers. They are perfect for areas where you want to:
- Dress up a fairly plain area or create a unique look by adding low maintenance color or texture.
- Soften walkways, steps or driveways.
- Create a traffic barrier or hedge.
- Provide transition between the lawn and taller plants.
- Fill narrow spaces between walks and fences or buildings.
- Plant under tress where grass either won’t grow or is too difficult to maintain.
- Use an edging to separate the lawn from shrub plantings.
- Prevent soil erosion on slopes or steep banks.
Planting and care instructions..
- Select groundcover varieties based on their ability to add year-round beauty to the landscape.
- Use a “Roundup” type of product to kill unwanted grass and weeds and remove once dead.
- Soil preparation is important to the groundcover’s successful growth.
- Prepare your soil with a mixture of 50% Back To Earth TM Composted Cotton Burrs and 50% existing soil. If you are planting in clay soil, add a 10% ratio of Soil Menders TM Expanded Shale to ensure better drainage. Till it in as deeply as possible
- Plant your groundcovers in a staggered pattern.
- Keep the planted area free of weed and grass growth. A layer of Cedar or Cypress Mulch placed to a depth of 2 inches over the area will discourage grass growth and conserve moisture.
- There is no specific schedule for watering. The simple rule is this: when you water, water well and learn how long it takes the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Allow at least one to two growing seasons for the area to become completely established.
- Late February to mid-March is the best time to fertilize established plantings with TLC Tree * Shrub Food. This is also the best time to prune ground covers to encourage dense new growth.
- Once your groundcover is well established, weeding and mowing can stop.
The following are TLC Garden Centers’ recommendations for ground covers. As a guide, partial shade refers to those areas that are shaded for 4-6 hours per day. Morning sun or east facing locations are typical or dappled light obstructed by trees. Afternoon sun is not considered within the partial shade parameters because of the intensity of afternoon sun, these areas can become quite hot and require more sun loving varieties. Full shade areas receive no direct sun only indirect light. North sides of structures or under fully leafed out trees are examples.
Ajuga – colorful evergreen leaves, flower spikes in spring, 4” to 6” tall, space 12” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
English Ivy – dark evergreen leaves, 6” to 10” tall, space 12” apart, covers slopes and will climb walls if allowed, plant in full to partial shade.
Moneywort (Creeping Jenny) – small round deciduous leaves, only grows 1” to 2” tall, space 12” apart, The Gold variety needs full sun to partial sun, while the Green variety needs full shade to partial shade.
Vinca Minor – glossy green evergreen leaves, lilac flowers in spring, 4” to 6” tall, space 12” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Variegated Vinca Major – evergreen leaves with white leaf margins, 12” to 18” tall, space 12” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Honeysuckle, Hall’s or Purpurea – fragrant flowers in summer, rapid grower, covers slopes and will climb walls if allowed, keep pruned to 24” to 30” tall, space 36” apart, plant in full sun or partial shade.
Purple WIntercreeper (Coloratus) – evergreen foliage turns purple in winter, 6 to 18” tall, space 12” to 18 apart, covers slopes and will climb walls if allowed, plant in full sun to partial shade.
Sedum, Angelina – brilliant chartreuse-yellow, needle like foliage, turns slightly orange in fall, 3” to 6” tall, space 12” to 18” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Sedum, Dragon’s Blood – small green leaves with red margins, leaves turn brilliant red in fall, deep red flowers in summer, 4” to 6” tall, space 12” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Trailing Ice Plant (Delosperma) – fleshy, green spiked evergreen foliage, large 2” wide flowers available in several vibrant colors, 4” to 6” tall, space 12” to 18” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Liriope (Monkey Grass) – clumps of grass like leaves, violet spiked flowers in late spring, 8” to 20” tall, space 12” to 18” apart, plant in full sun to partial shade.
Dwarf Mondo Grass – small clumps of grass like leaves, narrower foliage than liriope, 4” to 6” tall, space 6” to 9” apart, plant in full to partial shade.
Juniper, Blue Rug – blue evergreen foliage, 4” to 6” tall, space 3 feet apart, excellent for large scale locations, plant in full sun.
Juniper, Blue Pacific – blue-green, evergreen foliage, 8” to 12” tall, space 3 feet apart, excellent for large scale locations, plant in full sun to partial shade.
Trailing Ice Plant
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