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Ground Cover

Americans plant more turf grass than any other groundcover; however, grass does not do well everywhere. Other groundcovers can be used for areas where grass is not practical. This includes steep slopes, narrow or hard to reach locations, areas around shallow-rooted trees, and very shady spots.

Good site preparation is essential for giving your plants a good start. Work with a small area to start off, and expand it over time. Turn the soil using a tiller or a spade, and amend the soil with ample quantities of organic matter. Most groundcovers are highly adaptable and will grow well in a wide range of pH (see chart below).

Spring is the ideal time to plant, although you can plant in summer provided you supply adequate water. Plant early in the fall, giving the roots time to get established before winter sets in. Choose your plants according to the light and wind exposure. Proper spacing will insure good coverage and erosion control for steep areas. Watering is essential to get your newly planted area established. Pull weeds as soon as they pop up and before they go to seed. You can fill in with colorful annuals the first year. Once established, the maintenance for groundcovers decreases.

Ground Cover: Blue fescue

  • Light: part-shade to full sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay; well-drained
  • Ph: 3.7- 7.3
  • Spacing: 18”

Ground Cover: Ajuga

  • Light: part-shade to full sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  • Ph: 3.7-6.5
  • Spacing: 12”-15”

Ground Cover: English ivy

  • Light: part shade to sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  • Ph: 3.7-7.0
  • Spacing: 18”-24”

Ground Cover: Liriope

  • Light: part shade to sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  • Ph: 3.7-7.0
  • Spacing: 12”-15”

Ground Cover: Pachysandra

  • Light: shade to part shade
  • Soil: sandy or loam; wet to moist
  • Ph: 3.5-6.0
  • Spacing: 12”

Ground Cover: Periwinkle

  • Light; part shade
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay; moist
  • Ph: 3.7-7.0
  • Spacing: 12”

Ground Cover: Hosta

  • Light: shade to part shade
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay; moist,
  • Ph: 5.5-7.5
  • Spacing: varies

Ground Cover: Daylily

  • Light: light shade to full sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay; prefers moist
  • Ph: 5.5-7.5
  • Spacing: 18”-30”

Ground Cover: Sedum (Stonecrop)

  • Light: full sun to light shade
  • Soil: sandy or loam; well-drained
  • Ph: varies
  • Spacing: varies

Ground Cover: Euonymous

  • Light: part shade to full sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  • Ph: 3.7-7.0
  • Spacing: 18”-24”

Ground Cover: (Wintercreeper) Phlox subulata

  • Light: full sun
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay; well-drained
  • Ph: 5.6-7.5
  • Spacing: 18”-24”

Ground Cover: (Creeping phlox) Hypericum

  1. Light: full sun
  2. Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  3. Ph: 6.1-7.5
  4. Spacing: 12”-18”

Ground Cover: Iberis (Candytuft)

  • Light: full sun to part shade
  • Soil: sandy, loam, or clay
  • Ph: 6.6-8.5
  • Spacing: 18”-24”

*For faster coverage, space plants closer together. The above recommended spacing guide should give adequate coverage in two years.

Use the information below to determine the number of plants you will need.

Formulas to determine square feet

  • Circle: Area = radius squared x 3.14
  • Triangle: Area = ½ base x height
  • Rectangle: Area = length x width

Groundcover

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