Need to soften
hard edges or replace the need for so much mulch?
Or looking to fill between those spaces between
stepping stones or pavers? It's not too late
to get a new cover on the ground: groundcovers.
Ranging in height from an inch to four feet,
groundcover plants serve several purposes. They
not only provide soil cover, but they also slow
weed growth and prevent soil from erosion. For
many gardeners, they're the best answer to problem
areas where too much sun or barely a ray falls,
or where too dry or too moist conditions are
a turnoff for other greenery.
The slew of groundcover offerings - woody or
herbaceous; climbing, clumping or running; evergreen
or deciduous - in all kinds of colors, textures
and fragrances, leaves the door wide open to
finding a fit for your landscape or garden's
The most widely planted groundcover in today’s
landscape is turfgrass. Turfgrass covers the
soil in lots of places. Most of the time it
succeeds in providing a suitable cover. Yet,
sometimes unsuitable growing conditions prevent
its continued success. And you wouldn't want
to plant grass between your shrubs in beds either.
may provide solutions to a landscaping challenge
or just add a bit of much needed texture and
Also, groundcovers help to define space. A
low groundcover can provide a transition between
the lawn and taller plants used in beds. Attractive
foliage color and texture along with colorful
flowers add appeal to an otherwise "green"
Groundcovers create various moods. Small leaved,
smooth textured groundcovers used in broad curved
plantings can convey a feeling of spaciousness.
Whereas large leaved coarse textured groundcovers
create a feeling of closeness.
and Soil Preparation
As with any permanent landscape planting, time
spent preparing the site pays off. Pay special
attention to removing weeds, especially perennial
weeds, from the bed prior to planting. Grass
and weeds may be killed by using an herbicide
such as Killzall.
NOTE: If using herbicide follow
all label directions for mixing and application.
If this is not done, the weeds may grow back,
compete with the new plantings and result in
poor and slower establishment of the groundcover.
Once the weeds have been killed the area can
be planted with groundcovers. You may till areas
where you are planting groundcovers however,
be very careful around the root systems of trees.
Tilling can cause severe damage to trees if
root sytems are disturbed.
Groundcovers purchased in containers can be
planted year round. Bare root sprigs should
be planted in the fall or spring seasons. Summer
planting may require a little more attention
Spacing of plants depends
on the plant’s habit, rate of growth,
cost and how fast the area needs to be covered.
In general, space faster growing groundcovers
further apart than slow growing types. (See
chart for guidelines on number of plants
required for certain square footage.) In the
Groundcover Lisiting you will find suggestions
for spacing. Plant groundcovers in a staggered
or diamond patern for best results. You can
Groundcovers for ideas and instructions
for planting them.
When planting on slopes, mulch the area after
planting or plant through fiber netting to help
hold the soil in place. If planting groundcovers
from 4" pots you can spread mulch over
the area first then rake back small areas to
plant each groundcover.
TIP: Set all plants in bed
before you begin to plant the first one.
Allow at least one to two growing seasons for
the area to become completely established.
Groundcovers require a minimum amount of maintenance
once established. Irrigate newly planted groundcovers
until roots become well established. Keep the
area free of weeds by shallow cultivation. After
the first season, water as needed only during
dry periods in summer or fall.
Weed Control - The most critical
step to weed control occurs before the plants
are planted. Eliminate all weeds and grasses
in the bed at the time of soil preparation by
spraying with an herbicide such as Killzall.
After planting your groundcovers spread Treflan
Pre-emergent Weed Control Granules throught
the space planted. Treflan Granules will prohibit
weed seed germination for up to one entire year.
Adding one to two inches of mulch will help
to reduce weed growth and keeps the soil moist.
TIP: If bermuda grass crawls
into orpops up in your groundcover bed spray
with Fertilome's Over-The-Top herbicide. You
can safely spray this herbicide roght over the
top of most common groundcovers. Check label
on bottle to make sure that your groundcover
Pruning - Some ground covers
may need occasional pruning to maintain them
within the space provided. Pruning older stems
will allow young, more vigorous and attractive
foliage to grow back into the area.
TIP: Before planting, when
setting out plants in bed, make sure to space
them a good distance from the perimeter/ edge
of the bed. This will allow for future growth.
Example: If the suggested spacing between plants
is 24" place plants no closer than 12"
from the edge/perimeter of the bed.
Try groundcovers where lawn grass either won’t
grow or is too difficult to maintain such as
in very small, confined landscapes, or on slopes
or under large trees. Ivy, Purple Winter Creeper,
and Big Blue liriope work great under the canopies
of large trees while trailing junipers such
as Blue Pacific and Bar Harbor work well on
Select groundcovers based upon their ability
to add year-round beauty to the landscape. Herbaceous
groundcovers die back to the ground in the winter,
exposing bare soil. If this is not the look
you want, choose evergreen groundcovers.
Select groundcovers, according to your site’s
conditions: Sun or shade? Moist or dry? Select
groundcovers that will survive and thrive under
your conditions and will not require heroic
measures to keep them alive!
All of the groundcovers in stock at Wilson
Bros. Nursery are hardy, durable and long-lived
when planted properly and in the right place.
Consider the height of the groundcover. Will
you choose a six-inch high juniper or a four-foot
Consider growth habit. For smaller contained
areas confined by walkways you would want a
non-trailing groundcover such as Liriope (Monkey
Grass) rather than a trailer like Ivy that could
get out of hand and require regular pruning.
Dianthus and Ice Plant work great as a border
aloing a path or walkway.
Groundcovers are great for
filling spaces between stepping stones or
pation pavers and stones. The steppables
we have found to do best in our area (zone
8) are Blue Star Creeper, Creeping Jenny,
Dwarf Mondo Grass, and Sedums.
Groundcover in Containers
- Groundcovers such as Ivy and Creeping Jenny
make great fillers for container gardens as
well, drooping or cascading over the edge of
(Use the plant calculator to determine
the number of plants needed for the total square
footage of area to be planted.)
Control In Groundcovers