March 13, 2013 Off

Covered with Groundcover!

By in Landscape Design, Planting

Groundcovers can be the most beautiful way to solve some serious landscaping issues. Groundcovers are plants that grow low to the ground and spread quickly to cover areas of land. All of these types of plants are recurrent and evergreen. In order to be an effective groundcover, a plant must be to durable and fast growing. The most popular groundcover is grass, but this is not always the solution to all land areas. When grass is difficult to grow or maintain, other groundcover plants can give you the uniform look you desire. When considering groundcover plants, the grower must be aware that unlike grass, these plants should not be walked on.

Groundcover plants can be an excellent tool for solving many landscaping problems, such as, erosion, shady areas, extreme wet/dry locations, and areas where grass is unable to grow. As with all plants, the location of desired growth should be considered before planting. Depending on the plant, extreme shade or sunlight may be needed in order for the plant to thrive. The necessary moisture level of the soil depends on the type of plant you intend to grow. It is important to research the many types of groundcover plants to decide how well it will thrive in your particular area. Other various considerations may include but are not limited to: size, effect, rate of growth, climate, land type, etc.


In order for the plant to create good root systems, one should initially take care to prepare the soil. Persistent weeds should be cleared because it is difficult for these particular plants to compete. A depth of eight to ten inches of soil should be worked on with a two inch layer of compost or manure to improve water retention or drainage, depending on the type of soil. A comprehensive fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, should be assimilated in six to eight inches of soil, if no soil test is used as a guide. Groundcover plant death is usually the result of inadequate soil preparation.

Groundcovers can typically be planted during any season although planting during the summer can be difficult. While planting in fall or spring allows the plant the opportunity to build strong root systems due to natural rainfall, planting in the summer involves frequent and sufficient watering.

Spacing the plants is an important factor to resolve landscaping issues. The most effective way of groundcover planting is to use staggering rows. Ideally, you want the area to be completely covered by the end of the third growing season. Spacing the plants too far apart may allow weeds to pop up and gradual coverage as opposed to the rapid coverage you may desire. Close planting is unnecessary and can cause problems as plants mature due to increased competition.

Weeds are a detrimental issue with groundcovers. In order to regulate weeding, you may choose to install a two inch layer of mulch. On areas where your major concern is erosion, you should use course netting in order to establish growth.

Success will also be dependent on adequate watering. The amount of water needed differs between various plants. Wilting may be the sign of failure, so this should never be allowed. Pruning can be an excellent way to improve groundcovers, and should be done in early spring before new growth occurs. Depending on the type of plant, clipping, removing old growth, and rotary mowing may be essential to encourage dense new growth.

Be advised that groundcovers can take up to two years to establish dense area. Water and fertilization are key to creating rapid growth. You should begin fertilizing four to six weeks after planting along with three to four more applications over spring and summer months, ending in September. Comprehensive fertilizers, such as 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 should be applied at a rate of one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Use this formula to regulate the amount of fertilizer to use for per growing area:

(Area of Bed ÷ 1000 sq ft) ÷ % of nitrogen in bag of fertilizer

Groundcovers are such an effective way to improve situations where landscaping issues, such as erosion or low grass growth, occurs. Depending on the type of groundcover plant you choose, you may have beautiful vines and other gorgeous flowers to adorn your “ugly” spot.  Not in our area?  AATex can work with you to create an awesome design to fix your problem areas!

Written by Rich Regan - Blue Dot Landscaping - Visit Website

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