Groundcovers Tips

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What are some advantages to planting groundcovers?

Groundcover Advantages

If you plant a groundcover under trees and shrubs that grow in a lawn it will ensure that string trimmers stay well away from vulnerable bark. They also help define space by providing a transition between the lawn area, trees, shrubs and flowerbeds.

What are some benefits of groundcovers?

Beneficial Groundcovers

A bonus of groundcovers is that once established, they eliminate work by forming a dense mat of vegetation that suppresses weeds and, unlike grass, they usually don't require much raking or cleanup.

Did You Know This?

Thirsty Grass!

A typical, suburban 5,000 square-foot lawn transpires about 3,000 gallons of water on a hot summer day. If this water is not supplied by rain, it must be applied by some other means.

See the tip on building your own "poor man's sprinkler system" under Sprinklers.

How often should newly planted groundcovers be watered?

Watering Groundcovers

Newly planted ground covers require regular watering. Under normal circumstances, 1 inch of water applied every 5 to 7 days is usually enough to establish your new plants. Check the soil in the root zone and if it feels dry, apply enough water so that the soil is moist to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

Should I fertilize a groundcover?

Fertilizing Groundcovers

If you leave organic matter like fallen leaves, small twigs and spent flowers on the ground it will make supplemental fertilizing for groundcovers unnecessary. Soil micro-organisms will break the organic matter down into humus, which will feed the groundcover.

Did You Know This?

Sound Barrier

Turfgrass functions as a noise barrier. Studies at the Riverbank Acoustical Laboratory in Geneva, Illinois, found Kentucky bluegrass turf absorbed more sound than a heavy carpet on a felt pad.

How can I remove persistent weeds before planting a groundcover?

Weeding Groundcovers

You will have to be extra diligent when preparing your area for a groundcover if the site contains perennial weeds such as creeping charlie, thistle or bindweed. They are persistent and difficult to control even in established groundcovers because of regeneration from their root fragments. You may try treating them with a nonselective broadleaf herbicide applied with a brush, cloth or wick applicator, but CARE is advised since these herbicides will kill the ground cover if it is applied to their foliage.

When is a good time to plant a groundcover?

Planting Groundcovers

In colder areas, plant groundcovers in the spring especially for rooted cuttings or bare-root plants. They will have a longer growing season to get established. Early fall is okay but don't wait too late into the season since plants can suffer from frost heaving. In warmer areas, they can be planted almost any time. Be sure they are watered regularly if the rains don't suffice.

Should grass be planted under a heavy leaf canopy?

Planting In Heavy Shade

Don't bother with grass under a heavy leaf canopy. Plant the space with a shade-tolerant ground cover, such as ivy or periwinkle. Keep climbing specimens clipped back 6 inches from the trunks.

What can I plant on a slope?

Groundcovers For Slopes

Top an exposed slope with hardy ornamental grasses. Plant a steep slope with a deep-rooted ground cover, such as pachysandra. It prevents soil erosion and will never need mowing.

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Susan Sayour